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How to Transfer a Domain

The post How to Transfer a Domain appeared first on HostGator Blog . There are a multitude of reasons you’ll want to transfer your domain. Maybe you’ve sold a domain, or bought one for a gift? Or, you could be unsatisfied with your current registrar and are looking to migrate? Whether you’re transferring ownership of your domain or migrating to a new registrar, there are certain steps you’ll need to follow. Although it might seem fairly technical, this process exists for a reason—to help ensure that your domain remains in the right hands. Below we look at the things to look for in a new domain name registrar, as well as the processes you need to follow to transfer a domain name to a new registrar, or another party entirely. Why Transfer a Domain? As you learned in the introduction, there are plenty of reasons you might want to transfer a domain name. The most common is because you’re frustrated with your current registrar. Maybe the yearly renewal rate is too expensive? Or, you’re looking for a registrar with more features? For example, by using a domain name registrar like HostGator you can group your domain name and hosting all under one roof. This simplifies the technical steps of setting up your website, as well as the number of invoices you’ll have to remember to renew. There’s nothing worse than letting an important domain lapse because you forget to check in and missed the renewal date. Or, you could have sold a domain , or bought a domain for a friend. In this scenario, you’ll be switching the ownership of the domain along with transferring the domain to their registrar of choice. Whatever your reason we’ll walk you through both processes in the final section below. If you’re not in the market for a new registrar yourself, then feel free to skip to the final section of this post. What to Look for in a New Domain Registrar If you’re transferring your domain because you’re dissatisfied with your current domain name registrar, then you’ll want to make sure you’re not going to make the same mistake twice. Which means you’ll want to make sure your new registrar is high-quality and won’t lead to the same headaches you’re currently experiencing. Here are a few key things to look for as you search for the perfect domain name registrar: 1. Total Feature Set Every registrar will have different features. Some registrars will only offer domain name purchase and management, while others will provide an entire suite of different services. Common features include domain name management , renewal, transfer, and domain privacy protection via WHOIS. However, other registrars will also offer bundled website hosting, website builders, email management and a lot more. If you want your hosting and domain name management all under one roof, then you’ll need a registrar that also offers hosting. Plus, you’ll need to make sure that the host is also very high quality. Make a list of what non-negotiable features you need in a registrar and compare this with the feature set of the registrar you want to switch to. 2. User Friendliness There’s no point in transferring registrars if it’s going to be very difficult to use. You’ll want it to be very easy to manage your domain names, purchase a new domain name , switch over the nameservers to your host, add privacy protection, and a lot more. The last thing you want is to have to spend hours setting up your domain names, just because the platform isn’t easy to use. For this reason, it can be helpful to look for a domain registrar that’s oriented towards beginners, as generally it’ll be much easier to navigate and will use less confusing terminology. Also, look out for tutorials, blog posts, and other helpful information that’ll help save you time and set up your domains the right way. 3. Customer Support You might not need to use customer support all the time, but when you do, you’ll want them to be responsive and helpful. When you’re having issues with your domain name, or any of the associated services, you’ll want a support team that can help you out as fast as possible. For example, if your domain is currently offline for some reason, you’ll want support to be able to quickly resolve this issue. It can be helpful to get in touch with customer support before you decide to move registrars. This will help you get a feel for the quality and responsiveness of the support team before you migrate. Also, make sure they provide the support channels that you prefer to use, whether that’s live chat or phone. At HostGator, we offer 24/7 Live Chat and phone support every day of the year. 4. Domain Protection When using a registrar you’ll want to make sure that your domains are secure and there are features in place to help protect your purchase. For example, is WHOIS privacy protection included free of charge? Will you be notified before your domain name expires ? Are there additional privacy and protection services you can purchase? Beyond protecting your purchase and ensuring that your domain will always remain in your possession (as long as you want it), you’ll want to make sure there are features that allow for the safe transfer of your domain name. Here are a few domain transfer features to look for: Authorization codes. These codes help to ensure that whoever is transferring your domain has permission to do so. Transfer locks. These help to ensure that your domain name can never be transferred to another party without your permission. Transfer confirmation emails. These emails will require authentication to make sure that you’re transferring the domain to the right party. 5. Overall Price Finally, you’ll want to consider the price of the new registrar. Price is important, but it shouldn’t be the main factor in deciding to pick a new registrar. Choosing based upon price alone can leave you with a low-quality registrar that’ll end up being detrimental to your website as a whole. When examining the price of a new registrar make sure you consider any additional fees. Some registrars will include services for free that others will charge an add-on fee for. Some registrars will have very low introductory rates but jump up tremendously when it’s time to renew. Find a domain registrar within your budget, but don’t let price be the sole determining factor in your selection. How to Transfer a Domain The general process for transferring a domain will be similar no matter what registrar you’re using. Below we’ll show you how to transfer a domain, whether you’re migrating to a new registrar, or you’re moving your domain to another party. 1. Transfer a Domain to Another Registrar Moving your domain to a new registrar isn’t difficult, but there’s a series of steps you’ll have to complete. These steps exist in order to protect the domain that you own. But, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, then here’s how you can transfer your domain to a new registrar. For the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you’re moving your domain over to HostGator. Before we dive in there’s an important point to cover. You can only transfer a domain if it’s been in your possession for 60 days. If you’ve owned your domain for more than 60 days, then you’re good to go. If not, then bookmark this post and come back in 60 days. 1. Prepare for the Transfer The first thing you’ll need to do is disable the existing protection protocols and prepare your domain name for a transfer. If you want a smooth transfer process, then make sure you do the following: Update your nameservers to reflect your new host (if you’re also migrating your hosting ) Disable your WHOIS privacy protection, if it’s currently enabled Make sure that your domain contact information is up to date Unlock your domain name at your current registrar Obtain your EPP authorization code, you might have to reach out to your current registrar to obtain this Now, your domain is successfully prepared and ready for transfer. 2. Start the Domain Transfer Initiating the transfer process with HostGator is easy. Head over to the HostGator Transfer page and enter the domain name you want to transfer. This tool will then run through the pre-transfer checklist to make sure that you’ve satisfied all of the requirements. If there are any issues with the domain you want to transfer then these will be displayed in the pop-up box. If everything is good to go, then you’ll be able to complete the transfer. To finalize the transfer you’ll need to pay for a yearly registration at your new registrar. Since you’re using HostGator, just click the ‘Continue to Checkout’ button. Here you’ll enter your billing information and complete your purchase. Once you’ve submitted payment the transfer process will begin. 3. Verify the Domain Transfer To complete the domain transfer you’ll need to go through the email verification process to ensure you’re transferring the domain to the right person. Navigate to the email inbox for the email address that’s associated with the current domain. You should see a verification email. Here you’ll need to enter your EPP key or your authorization code. Once this has been verified the transfer process will be done. Now you just have to wait for the transfer process to finish. 2. Transfer a Domain to Another Party If you’re currently using HostGator for your domains and you want to transfer your domain to another third party, then following the steps below: 1. Unlock Your Domain and Prepare for Transfer In order to transfer your domain, you’ll need to prepare your domain for transfer. To do this navigate to your control panel and head over to the ‘Domains’ tab. Then, select the domain name you want to transfer and unlock the domain. Then, turn off privacy protection, if you have it enabled. If the person you’re transferring the domain to has another host enabled, then you’ll need to point the nameservers to the new host. But, if not, then you can leave the nameservers alone. Finally, you’ll need to obtain the EPP/Authorization Code from the ‘Transfer EPP’ tab. With all of this, you’re now ready to initiate the transfer. 2. Confirm the Third-Party Transfer The transfer will need to be initiated by the third party who’s accepting the domain name. This will be done from their own account on their registrar of choice. Once the transfer has been initiated you’ll need to log back into your Domain Manager and accept the transfer. To finalize the transfer you should receive a confirmation email that deals with identity confirmation and your EPP codes. Domain Transfer FAQ Hopefully, the above information covered the process in depth, but you still might have a few questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions related to a domain transfer. How long will the domain transfer process take? In total, the transfer should be completed in 5-7 days. This is the standard allotment, but usually, the domain will be switched over prior to that. But, if you have any issues, then it might take a bit longer to resolve everything. How long does it take to initiate a domain transfer? Preparing the domain and initiating the transfer shouldn’t take long at all. At most, it should take an hour or two. You should set aside some time to do the transfer without any interference. If you wait too long the security codes might expire, so you’ll want to everything at the same time. Can domain information be altered during a transfer? No. That’s why you’ll need to make sure all of the contact information, especially the contact email, is correct before you initiate the transfer. You can only change the domain contact information once the transfer is complete. If you need to change any domain information while the transfer is taking place you’ll need to get in touch with customer support. Ready to Transfer Your Domain? Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the domain transfer process and everything it takes to properly migrate a domain name. If you’re switching to a new domain registrar, then the information above should help point you in the right direction. Transfer your domain to HostGator today. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Transferring a WordPress Site to HostGator, Step by Step

The post Transferring a WordPress Site to HostGator, Step by Step appeared first on HostGator Blog . What Can You Expect When You Transfer Your WordPress Site to HostGator?   Have you thought about getting new web hosting for your site but hesitate because you’re not super tech-savvy and you’re not sure what’s involved in making the switch? If that’s you, you’re in the right place. I migrated my WordPress site from Bluehost to HostGator in order to bring you this post. Here’s how it went for me and what you can learn from my experience. Deciding to Switch Hosts Why switch web hosts? Some people do it because they’ve found a better deal, want a different type of hosting, or have multiple sites hosted by different companies that they want to consolidate with one hosting service. In my case, I wanted managed WordPress cloud hosting to better optimize my site’s mobile performance, which was consistently scoring in the 30s out of a possible 100 on Google’s PageSpeed Insights test, even after a few rounds of optimizations. And I wanted to see the process firsthand. ( Disclaimer: Although HostGator pays me to blog, they didn’t pay for my new hosting plan. )   Getting Ready to Transfer Domains     I knew that switching domains from one host to another was going to be a multi-step process, because there are safeguards to keep rogue domain poachers from simply moving unsuspecting people’s sites away from their hosts. To get ready, I ran through HostGator’s pre-domain-transfer checklist . My domain was more than 60 days old not expired not in redemption (expired for more than 30 days) so I was good on those counts. My WHOIS info and my contact information were up to date, and I knew how to disable my WHOIS privacy setting so the transfer could happen. Some of the pre-transfer steps were unfamiliar. I wasn’t sure how to unlock my domain, request an EPP (authorization) code for the transfer, or update my nameservers . I quickly found that I could unlock my domain and request EPPs from my control panel at Bluehost. But I still wasn’t 100 percent sure what to do about the nameservers yet, even though I had access at the control panel, and I forgot to request my EPP when I unlocked my domains. This turned out not to be a big deal. The most important thing I did before transferring my domain was to back up my site. I used UpdraftPlus to send everything to a folder in the cloud in case I ran into any issues during the process.     Setting Up My New Hosting Account   There are a couple of ways to start transferring domains to HostGator. The first is to use HostGator’s domain transfer service . This is the easiest way, as long as you plan ahead. I tried it with my domains the same day I unlocked them at Bluehost, and I got a message that my sites were still locked. I didn’t know then that it can take a couple of days for sites to show as unlocked after you unlock them. If the domain transfer service tool says your domains aren’t eligible to transfer yet, you can wait until they show as unlocked or just call HostGator customer support , which is what I did the day after I bought my new hosting plan online. Don’t be shy about calling, especially if this is the first time you’ve transferred a domain to a new host. Three short calls got the process going for me. First, a call to HostGator to ask if my domains were finally showing as unlocked. The rep recommended I double-check with Bluehost to ensure my unlock request had gone through and to see if there was anything else I needed to do to free up the domains for transfer. Second, a chat with Bluehost confirmed that my domains were unlocked. He also checked that my contact information was up to date, especially the email address, because without a way to reach you the new host can’t complete the transfer. And those EPP codes I’d forgotten? He sent them via email. Third, I checked back in with HostGator to find out what to do with the EPP codes. I talked to a rep who essentially acted as my domain-transfer concierge. He checked the status of all the domains and let me know that it can take up to 72 hours for domains to show as unlocked. He emailed me while we talked so I could forward him the EPP codes. That way I didn’t have to wait and call back in a couple of days when the domains finally showed as unlocked. Then he let me know what to expect during the rest of the transfer process, which I didn’t realize could take up to 7 days. His most important recommendation? Check my email.     Watching My Inbox for Domain Transfer Verification Emails   The key thing to look for was the verification email that I had to respond to so the domain transfer could begin. Mine arrived soon after I got off the phone with customer service. If you don’t see yours soon after you start your transfer, check your spam folder, and if you don’t see it within a day or so, check back in with customer support. Over the next few days, I kept tabs on my inbox for follow-up messages. I got emails when my domain registration transferred and when my transfer was successfully completed. Then it was time to move on to setting up in the new place.     Post-Transfer Web Hosting Checklist   Just like moving into a new house, getting in the front door doesn’t mean the move is over. You’ll still need to take care of a few security and setup issues for your new online home. You’ll need to… 1. Migrate your site content. This is a separate process from transferring your domain to your new host, and it can take a few days to complete so it’s best to start your content migration as soon as you get your welcome email. I got an email from HostGator that included a link to start the migration process and set up my new domain-based email account. I set up my email in just a couple of clicks but got interrupted before I started the migration process. When I realized a couple of days later than my content hadn’t made the move because I’d been distracted, I used the Migration add-on in UpdraftPlus to quickly restore my previously backed-up site content to my domain. 2. Save your new nameservers. In the customer portal settings for managing each domain on your account, fill in the nameservers on your account summary page. 3. Set up your email accounts, again using your customer portal. If you use Gmail to fetch your domain-name emails, you’ll need to update the settings to ensure it’s checking the correct server. 4. Activate WHOIS privacy for each domain and lock them. You can do this on the Domains tab in the customer portal. 5. Buy an SSL certificate or activate the free one that comes with your new hosting account. You can use a WordPress plugin like Really Simple SLL to enable your free certificate. 6. Set up and activate any other plugins you want to use. 7. Check out how your site looks and performs on mobile and desktop browsers. 8. Run some test emails with your domain-based email accounts to make sure everything’s working as it should. 9. Finally, get to know your new cPanel . Click on the settings icon on the hosting tab to manage your site security, settings, email, and WordPress installation. 10. Compare your site’s performance at the new host. Once all my housekeeping was done, I  ran another PageSpeed Insights test. Now my mobile site scores 71 out of 100 and my desktop score is 87 out of 100, and there are still more tweaks I can make to improve those numbers even more. I’m satisfied with that improvement, and now that I’ve gone through the process of transferring a domain to a new host and migrating my site content, I feel like some sort of extremely novice technical wizard.   Your Checklist for Transferring to a New Web Host To sum up, when you’ve decided to transfer to a new host: Decide on the new hosting plan you want. You can buy it in now or at the step when you transfer your domains. Read the pre-transfer checklist. If you’re not sure about a step, you can ask tech support or check the knowledge base. Back up your entire site to a secure location you can access easily. Remember that it can take a couple of days after you unlock your domains for them to show as unlocked. Once they do, you can use the Transfer Domains tool to start the process. If that doesn’t work for you, tech support is ready to help. Watch for the domain-transfer activation email and reply to it. Once your domain is transferred, get started on your housekeeping, especially migrating your content. Check out your site’s appearance and performance with your new host. Give yourself an award for novice wizardry. Ready to get started? Check out HostGator’s WordPress cloud hosting plans now. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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