How to transfer a domain quickly

I’m always working on websites, helping a friend upgrade their blog or move from one host to another. Often, one of the most annoying and time consuming tasks involved with this is transferring a URL from one domain registrar to another. Done improperly this can take upwards of one week to complete! That’s valuable time I’d rather spend working on designing the site itself.

Let’s say for example that you want to transfer a URL but make the mistake of changing the administrative contact information at the last minute (at the original registrar). Bad move… This will freeze the URL and lock it down, now you’ll need to wait for at least a half hour to get direct phone help from technical support and that’s in addition to the week I mentioned above.

With years of practice I’ve finally got it down to a science and I’m going to share the steps using Godaddy as an example. In this case I’m moving a URL from Godaddy to another registrar I like called Sustainable Online Solutions that offers green hosting.

To transfer a URL away from Godaddy follow these steps:

  1. First, you need to be in contact with the previous domain owner and you need to make sure they can still access the email address on file as the administrative contact for the domain. This is where the authorization codes will be sent when the transfer is initiated. If you change this email address at the last minute (which is sometimes necessary because the old address is no longer valid) the domain will get locked down, so call the registrar and have them help you if this is the case.
  2. At the new registrar, purchase a URL transfer and enter the domain you want. This usually costs $10 and comes with a year of registration.
  3. Once you’ve purchased a transfer check with the original owner or check the administrative email address mentioned in step 1. You should get an email titled something like “YOURDOMAIN.COM: Info for Domain Transfer Confirmation” and inside you’ll get two important pieces of information as follows:
    • Transaction ID: 77777777
    • Security Code: WQNH55555
  4. Enter the Transaction ID and Security Code at the new registrar in the domain setup area. Usually you have to navigate to an area called “pending transfers” or “account changes”
  5. This step is where the real time savings comes in. Back at the original registrar, Godaddy in this case, you can speed up the transfer by logging in and going to the Domain Details page in the domain manager, from there click “Send by Email” where it says Authorization Code. This will send another code to the administrative email account that you need to use to complete the transfer.
  6. Go back to the new registrar, navigate to the pending domains area and enter the authorization code that just came to the administrative contact. The steps are all done here, now you just need the old registrar to accept (which can take several days or a week to happen automatically).
  7. To speed the process up a bit here you need to login to the original registrar, Godaddy, and navigate to the domain manager, then use the domains drop down to go to Pending Transfers. Next, simply click the check box next to the domain you’re transferring and select “Accept” above.

It’s not the easiest process but with these tips you should be able to transfer a domain away from Godaddy in just a couple hours! To do it super fast like this you’ll either need perfect cooperation from the original owner or access to Godaddy and the administrative contact email address so you can do it all yourself. Here are some screen shots to help you navigate:

This is the Domain Details page in the Domain Manager in Godaddy, to get here you need to go to My Account > My Products then look for the “View Domain Manager” link on the bar where it lists out your domains. There is a little magnifying glass next to the link as shown just below.

Back at the Domain Manager you can use this drop down to get to the Pending Transfers area. From here you can accept any transfer requests that have been fully completed. To get to this stage you need to have entered the Transaction ID, Security Code and Authorization Code.

This is the final screen you’ll see in the pending transfers area of Godaddy as you relinquish control of the domain and allow another registrar to assert control. Without going through these steps manually the domain will eventually transfer but it will take a lot longer to happen.