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Even after thousands of domain name transactions over the years I’m always pulling my hair out with domain name transfer process which, like many mixtures of bureaucratic bungling and private sector greed, is about as frustrating, cumbersome, and potentially catastrophic. You can even lose domain names – a key hallmark of many businesses – to scammers, inept registrars, or simple bad luck. This post will be my attempt to help people figure out some of the quirks in the process.
First, recognize that you should not be paying more than about $10 per year for registration unless you are ALSO getting some local help/service/ etc from a webmaster. I use GoDaddy but there are many others that have reasonable fees.
Second, if you have a domain name(s) for your business or other valuable names you should register them for at least 5 years to decrease the chance you’ll lose the name. Also, some believe search algorithms like to see longer registration times as a sign of authenticity, meaning it might help you rank a bit better all other things equal.
Third, BEWARE of the letters in the mail trying to pretend you need to renew a domain name that are really attempts to get you to switch to that registrar. These are often legal forms of scams where they are a real service but are not the registrar you have now.
Generally you will find it easy to initiate a TRANSFER IN to an account, and hard to nearly impossible to TRANSFER OUT. Registrars generally make it very, very difficult to figure out the transfer out process because this will help keep people with them and even if you get angry they are losing your money and business anyway.
Unfortunately you’ll often need to do BOTH of these procedures to move a domain name from one registrar to another. If you focus on the “TRANSFER OUT” and the required “AUTH CODES” and you’ll probably have success.
GODADDY Auth Codes:
Godaddy’s process is cumbersome but fairly straightforward. Full details here from Godaddy. Short version:
- Log in to your GoDaddy Account Manager.
- In the My Products section, click Domain Manager.
- Click the domain for which you want to retrieve the authorization code.
- In the Authorization Code field, click the Send by Email hyperlink.
- Click OK.
- Click OK again.
Moniker Auth Codes.
Moniker is the current front runner in my “diabolically difficult” online routine contest. However once you know the secret you’ll be fine. Be sure to put away ANY guns you have in the house before using their online help system or you’ll be using one on yourself.
The secret: You obtain the Moniker Auth code to do external transfers as follows:
1. Log into your Moniker Account, select “my domains”.
2. Now check the domain(s) you want to transfer out and click “transfer out”
3. Complete the “transfer out” dialog.
4. You should very shortly receive two emails. You want the one that looks like the one below with domain name followed by a comma and a string that is the Auth code for that domain for the next 10 days.
5. If the process fails you may have to repeat this again (and again!) until the transfer “takes”. Often if you purchase a domain from a third party they have *recently* registered that name and you won’t be able to transfer it for 60 days. You’ll thus need to mark your calendar and start the process then as well as make sure the domain is registered at least through the transfer date (usually it will be as a year is usually added during the new registration)
THIS IS ONLY half the transfer process, now you’ll need to follow the instructions from your new registrar to transfer the domain *IN*, but those are usually straightforward if you have the Auth Code.
Example Moniker Tranfer Out email:
[NOTICE] Account: 99999 Requesting Domains For Transfer Away From Moniker
As part of our standard transfer-out procedure, a notification has been submitted to Moniker notifying us of an intent to transfer the following domain(s) away from Moniker
This email serves as confirmation that we have received your notification.
This request will be valid for 10 days (240 hours).
The Reason Given For Transfer Was: changeOwnership
Domain Name,Epp AuthInfo (if applicable)
How to find your Enom Auth Code:
How to obtain the authorization code and unlock a domain name on eNom
In the “Registered domains” row, click “Manage Domains”.
Click the domain you want to unlock.
In the “Manage Domain” menu, click “General Settings”.
To retrieve the EPP key, click “Email Auth Code to Registrant”.
A message confirms that the authorization code has been emailed.
To unlock the domain, go to the “Registrar-Lock” row and select “Disable”, and then click “save”.
A message confirms that the update was successful.