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Reduce Your Domain Name Renewal Overheads!

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Lee Hodgson

Lee Hodgson

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Lee Hodgson where domain name registration is made easy. Industry knowledge, and personal advice come together to help you secure the best possible home on the Web.

Lee Hodgson has written 18 articles for DomainInformer.
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Most people that have registered domain names in the past few years will be paying $35 per year to renew them, either via a web hosting company or directly to Network Solutions. Wouldn't it be great if you could move your names to one of the new discount domain companies that have sprung up, and take advantage of their low prices? Well, I've got news for you, you can...

Up until relatively recently, all domain names had to be registered through a company called Network Solutions, they had a monopoly on all .com, .net, and .org domain registrations. But last year the market was freed up, and there are now dozens of companies competing for your domain registration dollars. And in a bold move to encourage real competition between these companies, a system is also in place that allows customers to move domain names from one registrar (the losing registrar) to another (the gaining registrar). This is known as the domain transfer system.

Why Transfer?

Just why would you want to move a name from one registrar to another? It could be that the gaining domain registrar has better services than the losing one, or you may not like the customer support you received from the old one. But the overwhelming reason why you might transfer names is to save money on annual domain renewals.

Take, for example, a person that has ten domain names registered. They will currently pay a massive annual renewal fee of $350 to Network Solutions. But by transferring these names to a cheaper registrar, they could make savings of $200 or more *per year*. It's got to be worth considering hasn't it?

How Do Transfers Work?

So just how do you go about transferring your names. Well, the gaining registrar controls the process so the exact procedure varies, but it normally works like this:

  • You inform the gaining registrar you wish to transfer a name to them. There is no fee for the transfer itself, but one year is added to the registration period for the name, so you will be charged the standard one-year registration fee.
  • Various checks are performed by the gaining registrar to make sure that the request is valid, and that you really are the owner of the name. In addition, the losing registrar may request confirmation from you. This is an added "security" measure put in place by several large registrars, ostensibly to prevent transfer frauds, but suspected by many to be a way of stemming the outward flow of domain names from these large, expensive registrars.
  • The gaining registrar negotiates the name transferal with the losing registrar.
  • The name is transferred to the gaining registrar.
  • The gaining registrar informs you and gives you access to the name.

This process normally takes 2-3 weeks to complete in full, so it is safest to initiate transfer requests at least one month before your name's expiry date.

A Few Caveats

Transfers are normally quite smooth, but because several parties are involved, there can sometimes be delays. Here are a few things that you should bear in mind before starting a domain name transfer.

  • Transfers are only possible on names that have been registered for more than 60 days. Use a WHOIS tool to find out how long your name has been registered.
  • Most registrars will check with the name's current admin contact before giving the transfer go-ahead. If you are listed as the admin contact for the name, great. If you registered it through a web hosting company or similar, they may have listed themselves as the admin contact. If this is the case, email them before starting the process and make sure that they are willing to take part in the transfer process. If you are not sure whether you are the admin contact for your name, use a WHOIS tool - type your domain name into the box, and you will see who is listed as the administrative contact.
  • A domain name that is "on-hold" cannot be transferred. This "on-hold" condition can exist for many reasons, including payment or trademark dispute. But the single most common cause is that a domain has passed it's original expiry date. So don't even bother trying to transfer names if they have passed their expiry date.
  • Losing registrars sometimes sends out renewal invoices even after names have been transferred away from them. They put this down to administration errors. Whatever the reason, you can and must ignore these invoices. Once a name has been transferred, the only parties with a valid interest in it are you and the new registrar.

But apart from that, go for it! By transferring your name to a discount registrar, you will most certainly save yourself dollars each and every year, and you may enjoy better customer service as well. And if you are worried your web site will be affected by all this domain transfer activity, don't be. DNS settings are not affected by the domain transfer so your web site and e-mail will be completely undisturbed.

Article provided exclusively by DomainGuru. No reprints are allowed unless expressly stated in writing.

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