It’s easy to think that domain transfers are complicated, but they’re really not. The simple act of moving a domain name from one registrar to another (like Blacknight) is a routine task that accredited registrars like us handle every day. Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about transfers – how we can make the process easier and more clear-cut. We’ve recently updated our domain transfers information page, and one of our innovations was a new domain transfer checklist. We encourage everyone to run through this list before they start a transfer, to help ensure that the whole process goes smoothly.

I thought it would be useful and interesting to explain the checklist in more detail.

1. Is your contact information up to date? (Beware updating contact info may lock the domain for 60 days)

When transferring a domain, you need to make sure your contact information is up to date and accurate. You need to make sure you have access to the contact email you used to register it. Beware though, if it’s a generic top-level domain, changing any contact info may automatically lock a domain for 60 days and you won’t be able to transfer it right away (this usually doesn’t apply to ccTLDs).

2. Do you have access to the registration email?

You must have access to the email address used to register the domain (and in the case of it being sold, the person who is selling must have access). So, before beginning a domain transfer, make sure you can still log in to the email account that was used to register the domain (keeping in mind if you have to change it, that locks the domain for 60 days).

3. Have you unlocked your domain name?

Most registrars allow you to lock a domain to prevent it from being transferred without your knowledge. Locking keeps anything from being moved until you unlock it yourself. Some registries will have it on by default, some you have to turn it on. Make sure it’s turned off, or the transfer will fail.

4. Do you have your EPP code?

For most domains, the registrar will provide you with an EPP code, ‘transfer secret,’ or auth code. This is a randomly generated complex code that is created when you request it. This authorisation code is needed to complete a domain transfer. If you’re transferring a .IE domain, you’ll need an auth code, which they can email to you or you can request a new one (full details on the domain transfers page)

5. If it’s a UK domain – have you updated your IPS Tag to Blacknight’s?

.UK domains are a little different in that you don’t generate an EPP code, but you have to update your ‘IPS Tag’ which will be an option in your domain management console You have to change it to BLACKNIGHT-IE to initiate a transfer to Blacknight.

6. Have you copied your DNS records into a text document?

Transferring your domain does not transfer all your DNS settings with it. Your DNS settings tell the internet where your website, email, etc are located.  So be sure to cut and paste them all from your old registrar into a text document. Transferring and then switching your nameservers will usually strip your DNS records in the process, so it’s important to copy all your current DNS settings into a simple text file so you can update them when the transfer is complete to make sure your website, email, etc. continue to work.

7. Do you have time to wait? Transfers can take up to seven days.

We do not recommend starting a transfer close to your domain expiration date. Transfers can take up to 7 days, depending on the domain and the registrar’s system. Some will be faster than others. .UK transfers can take less than a day.

8. Move Your Nameservers to Blacknight

Usually, when you transfer a domain, your domain nameservers will stay set to what they originally were. The nameservers are where your DNS records are stored. However, once you transfer a domain out, the former provider will not always continue to keep your domain’s DNS records on file. So, once the transfer is complete we recommend changing your nameservers to Blacknight’s as soon as possible. This is where your DNS settings you set aside come in handy. You can find instructions on our nameservers here.

9. Once the transfer is complete, be sure to check your DNS information!

Once the domain is with Blacknight and you’ve updated your nameservers – check your DNS details right away to make sure you have continuity of service with all your web services, email, etc. Use the text file you created above to simply cut and paste your old settings to the new settings.

Have questions about domain transfers? Let us know in the comments below! Our domain transfers page also has much more information on specific domains and situations that may be relevant to you. 

Ready to transfer your domains to Blacknight? Get started here.