Switching domain providers: what to keep in mind

Domains are often purchased from hosting providers that offer the required online storage space for your website. However, that doesn’t mean that the domain is inextricably linked to the domain provider. In fact, provider services offer standalone deals where the domain and the provider are completely independent of one another. So there’s good news if you’re dissatisfied with your current domain provider: you can easily transfer your domain to another internet service provider. Read on to find out more about how to move your domain to a new hosting provider.

Why change providers?

When purchasing or registering a domain you secure the best URL for your website before renting the required storage from a domain provider. These services generally offer a wide selection of packages for users to choose from, but there are many different reasons for transferring your domain. The following examples are common reasons for changing your provider:

  • the current host does not offer certain features
  • poor value for money
  • poor or unavailable support
  • insufficient security
  • slow server
  • frequent server outages

Is it worth transferring your domain?

A domain transfer can really pay off, but website owners should consider each move on a case-by-case basis. If you find yourself dissatisfied with your domain provider’s service, it’s not always necessary to make the switch. Web hosting providers normally offer many different storage or server options (such as virtual or dedicated servers). It’s therefore often sufficient to simply change to a different package from the same provider.

However, if you’re unhappy with the basic conditions of your domain provider, such as the quality of the customer service or the range of functions available, it’s worth considering the move. It’s also a good idea for those who have several registered domains on different providers to consider transferring the domains to the same domain provider in order to keep costs and efforts to a minimum.

Who takes care of the domain transfer?

The registry operator, or Network Information Center (NIC), is the issuing agency of a domain name registry that is responsible for managing all top-level domains in its database. It is also in charge of transferring domains. To do this, an authentication code, or auth code, must be obtained in order to transfer authority from the old registrar to the new one.

How exactly does a domain transfer work?

In principle, transferring a domain from one provider to another works the same way with every web hosting provider. Nevertheless, you should always be aware in advance of the details of each individual transfer, which can vary from site to site. The fundamental procedure of a domain transfer is as follows:

  • Backup data: before approaching the new provider’s database, you should first save backups of all data that is saved on the old provider’s server. Whether it’s saved on your computer or an external harddrive, you should back up all your files (including databases and templates). You won’t be able to access the files on your old domain provider once you’ve changed, which means you risk losing the entire structure of your website.
  • Auth code: you need an authentication code, or auth code, in order to authorize a domain transfer. This authentication code works to verify that your domain is registered under your name. The code can be obtained from your previous hosting provider or registrar. You can also inform your current provider that you will take your domain to another host and cancel your contract.
  • Register with a new provider: now you’ve got your new authentication code, you can register your domain with your new web hoster. If a domain transfer form appears on the site, you can enter the auth code. If not, you should find a detailed description of how the re-registration process works in the site’s FAQs. If you’re a new customer, you can usually apply for your auth code directly when selecting a hosting package.
  • Import the database: once your domain has been registered and activated by the new provider, you can transfer your website’s data to the new server.

What happens to e-mail accounts when transferring domains?

Not only will your domain change provider, so too will your e-mail address. However, this does not apply to your inbox and previously received emails. If you keep the old host, you have the option of managing your e-mails just as before and register its mail server in the MX record of the domain.

However, you can also transfer your entire e-mail inbox onto the new server, which you should be sure to do if you are cancelling your old contract. You can either do this manually, which could mean a certain degree of effort if your inbox is full, or you can use your provider’s e-mail transfer service, which is offered by many hosts.

Don’t fear domain transfers!

Transferring a domain is normally a pretty quick and simple process. Only in some exceptional cases are such transfers not immediately realized. For example, it’s not always possible to transfer a domain if the web address has been recently purchased. In this case, domain locking can inhibit a domain transfer for a certain period.

Domain transfer