Over the last year, I’ve worked to transfer all domains from the horrendous labyrinth of GoDaddy hell to the more serene interface of 1and1.com.
At the time, I had about 50 domains. After I’d axed what I didn’t need, I was left with 30.
Instead of transferring them all at one time, I decided to do them as they came due.
Serious mistake. While this saved a one-time cash pay-out, it caused a lot of headaches.
Here are some tips based on my personal experience with domain transfers. If you’ve learned headaches to avoid, please share those in the comments. I’d love to hear them!
- Weed out the old. Review the domains you have and delete those you don’t need. This can be difficult – especially if you purchased several to brand a series. Get tough with those that are likely to remain good thoughts and be vigilant with those that are use regularly.
- Check the time. Note the dates of your domain renewals. Initiate transfers about a month before they are due, if possible. If it is the day before, you are better off renewing through your old provider, then doing the transfer. If you don’t, your domain could go on the auction block before the transfer completes. In my case, I had to pay GoDaddy so the name would not be forfeited, then also pay for the transfer. That was like paying twice for the right to use that name.
- Get the details. Each domain provider has its own way to transfer domains. Find out what you need to do, print out the FAQ and keep it handy. Also, make sure your contact information is correct – especially the email – in your old account. The domain provider will send you an email to confirm the transfer.
- Transfer in bulk. Once you get rid of the ones you really don’t need, initiate the transfers. Do them all at once instead of as they come due. Do it at a time when your new domain provider has a special deal, like an initial transfer fee that is half what you normally pay. Sometimes, providers will let you secure that rate for several years. Before you begin, ask customer service if they can transfer them for you. Typically, you need hundreds for them to do it, but some companies hungry for new business will do it for you. Also, ask them to give you a special deal even if it isn’t advertised. If you have a lot of domains, or want to transfer your entire hosting package there, they might cut you a deal. (Hey, just ask. All they can do is say NO, right?)
- List ’em. Keep a detailed list of the domains you are working with. Mark them as they get transfered. This can sometimes take days, so a list is extremely helpful to stay organized. Also, archive the final transfer emails – perhaps even keep printed copies in a folder for future reference.
HOT TIP: Whether you transfer or not, be sure your domain is set to auto-renew and that your credit card information is accurate. That way, you will never be in danger of losing it. You can also sign up for five or ten-year contracts. If you do this, be sure you use an email you plan to have for the long-term, so the company can contact you about the renewal.0