Every website has a unique name covering its IP address and making it easy to remember by people. This name called domain name is owned by a single person. There are circumstances when a domain name registered by one person needs to be transferred to another person. This transfer of domain ownership takes place in several steps and requires some precautions. In this blog, we are going to present a complete step-by-step guide on how to transfer domain ownership to another person.
Let us say you have a domain name that you purchased and registered for several years ago. At that time, you were thinking about building a website using that domain name, but over time, you have changed your mind. You think you will never use that domain name in the future. You may let it get expired by not paying the annual fee the next time your registrar asks you for renewal. But by keeping the domain name you already have paid a good amount of money as its annual fees for several years. You think that your domain is at least worth the money that you have paid for it to date. You may be right if your domain name is a qualified domain name. You may get back the costs by flipping your domain name at the sites like flippa.com.
Or we suppose you have decided just to gift the domain name to one of your friends, family members, or a colleague in your team. In any case, whether you are selling your domain name or you are going to transfer it to a known person for no charges, the transfer of domain ownership is a procedure that you may find burdensome.
Types of Domain Ownership Transfer
A transfer of domain ownership may or may not involve a change of registrar. There are two types of domain ownership transfer on this basis.
1- Domain ownership transfer between two registrars
If the new owner wants to change the registrar and transfer the domain name to another broker, then the task will be accomplished after going through several steps. It may take seven or more days.
2- Domain ownership transfer at the same registrar
If the new owner likes to keep the domain name with the same registrar, then the process of transfer is easy and may be completed in a relatively short time.
The two ways the domain ownership is transferred are discussed separately in the coming sections.
Domain Transfer between Two Registrars
How does Domain Ownership Transfer work?
Here is how the domain ownership transfer between two registrars is accomplished:
The person to whom the domain ownership is to be transferred requests for the domain transfer to the registrar with whom he likes to manage his domain.
Since that (new) registrar does not have any information about the ownership of the requested domain name, he will first verify who is the actual owner of the domain. For this purpose, he may contact WHOIS.
A WHOIS Guard or WHOIS Lock is just a facility provided by domain registrars (for free like by NameCheap or for some fee like by GoDaddy) so that they conceal their identity from the public. The WHOIS guard provided by the domain registrar replaces the actual contact information of the domain owner with other default values.
Now if the new registrar gets failed in finding the contact information of the actual owner of the requested domain owner, he will be unable to process the transfer.
For this reason, the original domain owner will have to unlock his WHOIS privacy guard before the new owner requests the ownership transfer.
When the new registrar gets the contact information of the original owner, he sends an email to him for confirmation. The owner will confirm it by clicking on the link provided in the email.
The remaining process is done by the two domain registrars themselves.
When all the job is finished, both the original and the new owners will receive confirmation emails of successful domain ownership transfer.
Now in order for this mechanism to work properly following are the steps that must be followed by the two persons for an easy and smooth transfer of domain ownership.
Step by Step Guide to Transfer Domain Ownership to Another Person
1- Prepare Your Domain Name for Transfer
In the first stage, the original owner will take some important steps in preparing his domain for transfer.
i. Update Contact Information
Update all the contact information at the current domain registrar. Make sure to have a working email address provided there for all communications that will take place during the process of domain ownership transfer. Also, confirm that you have provided an active phone number and correct physical address.
ii. Disable the WHOIS Privacy Guard
If WHOIS Privacy Guard is turned on, disable it for the domain name which is to be transferred. This may be done within the cPanel on the current registrar website.
iii. Unlock the Domain Name
Domains are locked by the registrar and an owner can easily unlock them in their cPanel. This lock is provided to prevent any attempt of domain theft. Since the owner is now intentionally transferring it, the lock should be removed.
2- Get Authorization Code for your Domain Name
The owner of a domain name has the authority to use, sell or gift it. During its transfer to another person, the owner may be asked to verify his ownership and authority over that domain name.
For this purpose, a domain registrar provides the registrant with a unique code. This code is called the authorization code. Different registrars may use different terms for this code like Authorization Code, EPP Key, Secret Code, Auth Code, AuthInfo Code, etc.
Get this code whatever name it is given by your registrar. It will help the other registrar in the identification of the actual domain name owner. Through this code, he will verify that the first person is the rightful owner of the domain name and allows for transfer domain ownership to another person.
Depending on the way the registrar works, the owner can generate this code in his cPanel or receive an email after submitting a request for it.
3- Provide the Auth Code to the New Owner
Provide the code obtained in the last step above to the person who is going to get ownership of the domain name.
The New Owner comes into action now..!
4- Creation of Account with the Second Registrar
The person who is looking for getting ownership of the domain name must have an account with the domain registrar where he wants to manage his domain names.
If he does not have an account, he will first create one.
This is a simple signup process that should not take more than 5 minutes. Just a valid email address and some basic information are needed.
5- Request by The New Owner for Domain Ownership Transfer
The person who will receive the ownership of the domain name will request a domain transfer on the website of the new registrar. He may be asked to provide the authorization code.
6- Approve the Transfer in Email
You (the original owner) will receive an email from both registrars asking you to confirm the change in domain name ownership. You must approve the transfer by clicking on the confirmation link provided in the emails.
Till this stage, the ownership of the domain name is entitled to you. After clicking on the link and approving the transfer, the ownership will no longer remain with you.
7- Payment of One Year Fee by the New Owner
The second registrar will ask the new owner to pay a one-year fee for the domain name. This is a necessary condition for transfer. During a year, most of the domain providers launch a transfer week during which domain names can be transferred at a discounted fee or even absolutely free for the first year.
8- Wait for the Confirmation Emails
This is the easiest step of all. Both of you have to wait for emails from the registrars. Those emails will confirm that the transfer of domain name owner has successfully completed. The new owner will be asked to take over charge of the domain name.
This will be the end of the story.
Domain Transfer at the same registrar
Domain name transfer between two persons at the same registrar is a much easier one. Changing domain ownership at the same registrar is termed a “push”.
The process of domain push may vary depending on the domain registrar platform. In most cases, you should be able to perform the task from within your dashboard at your registrar’s website. This requires the second person to have an active account with the registrar.
All you need is to look for a Share/Transfer/Push Button on your dashboard. Click on it and find the option for domain ownership change. Provide the details about your domain name and the new to-be-owner.
You may be asked to enter your account password.
Both you and the new owner will get emails that will ask for confirmation of the domain transfer that is requested. After you both confirm it, the transfer will get no more time.
At some domain registrars, you will need to contact them through email and ask them to help you through transferring the domain name.
Restrictions on Domain Name Transfer
Though usually, you will not see any hurdle in transferring ownership of your domain name.
Sometimes you may find it absolutely impossible. This is due to the restrictions imposed by your domain registrar.
Following is an account of the restrictions on domain name transfer that may be taken into account before starting the process to transfer the domain ownership to another person.
1- Initial Registration Period
The domain name must have completed at least 60 days period after its first registration date. A newly registered domain name cannot be transferred to another registrar within the initial 60 days of its registration.
2- Previous Transfer Period
A domain name is also locked for a period of 60 days when it is transferred to another person or another registrar. During this period another transfer is denied by the registrar.
This means you are not allowed to throw your domain name between owners and registrars now and then. It is a digital property and not a badminton shuttle cock. 😄
3- Change of Registrant Lock Period
If a Change of Registrant Lock is applied to a domain name, it cannot be transferred to another to person.
The domain registrant will have to wait for 60 days after removing the lock.
4- Change of Information
If any of some important information associated with a domain name is changed, then the domain name is locked for transfer out for a period of 60 days. This information includes the name of the registrant, email address, and contact of the administrator.
Precaution..!! Never change any information associated with your domain name until its transfer to another registrar is not completed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is it legal to transfer domain names from person to person?
Ans. Yes, the transfer of domain name ownership from one person to another is quite legal. Your domain name is an intangible digital asset like other physical properties and you have the right to sell it for money, exchange it with another digital asset, or gift it to someone.
Question: Is it allowed to transfer a domain name from one registrar to another?
Ans. Absolutely Yes, It is the right of a person to choose a domain registrar for his domain name according to his need and his desire. If you are not satisfied with your current domain name registrar or even you just do not like to have your domain name managed by your current domain broker, you are free to leave and move it to another.
Question: Is it legal to sell your domain name to another person?
Ans. Yes, your domain name is your intangible property. You have the right to sell it to another person at any price on which you both have agreed. The price may be more than (and even a multiple of) the price at which you have bought it. It is called domain flipping.
Question: What is an authorization code?
Ans. An authorization code is a code that you will need to safely transfer domain ownership to another person. It is provided by the registrar with which the domain name is registered. The registrar either sends the authorization code to the domain registrant (the person who holds the domain name) or lets him generate it online at their website. The registrant sends this code to the person to whom he wants to transfer his domain name. The second person may then submit the code to the registrar, in order to verify that he is really in contact with the original domain holder and is allowed by him to get the ownership of the domain name.