We’re outraged! Bob Parsons, Go Daddy CEO, shocked and horrified the world with his bravado-laden “home video” of him brutally sneaking up on and shooting an African elephant in the dark of night. Based on expert review of the footage, it now looks likes he destroyed a young female elephant rather than the supposed dangerous bull he was tracking. Even more shame for Mr. Parsons, but the end of the line for many of us in using his GoDaddy.com domain name registration service.
It’s one thing to pick another registration service and vow to never buy another domain from Go Daddy. But what about all those domains you’ve already registered there? Are you stuck renewing with GoDaddy.com till you decide to abandon the domain name, or is there a reasonable way to escape?
Breathe easy. You can indeed transfer your domain names away from Go Daddy or any other domain registrar and move them to the new registrar of your choice. A registrar is a company that is officially licensed to register domain names. They pay a hefty fee to be able to do this. The process of registration and transfer is also regulated to protect everyone’s interest.
Things to Watch Out For
In general, it’s pretty easy to transfer your domain name from one registrar to another. But there are some pitfalls to be aware of. You can’t just register a domain name and then transfer it away, or transfer it to one registrar and then immediately change your mind and send it elsewhere. There’s a 60 day waiting period from the time you register or transfer a domain until you can transfer it to another registrar. So, if you’ve just registered or transfered your domain name, cool your heels for a couple of months.
Also, don’t wait until the last minute before your domain registration expires thinking that you’ll pull a fast one and move it before you have to pay for renewal. You can’t transfer domains that expire within a week or so or the process may not finish in time. It’s totally unnecessary to play that game because most registrars renew your domain name for another year as part of the transfer process. In many cases the transfer is free - you are just paying for the renewal you’d have to do anyway. That means the best time to transfer a domain name is anytime after the first 60 days and before the last few weeks of your registration period. You don’t lose any time on your original registration. The 1 year renewal just adds a year to the current expiration date.
Another gotcha is having your domain locked. Most registrars, including Go Daddy, automatically lock your domain to prevent anyone from trying to steal it. You can’t transfer it as long as that lock is on. What you need to do is go into your Go Daddy account, select the domains you want to transfer, and then click on the gold padlock that says “locking.” When the confirmation box pops up, uncheck the “lock domains” box and then click “OK.” The lock symbol for that domain will go dim indicating that the lock is off.
I’ve not used private registration, but some like it because it hides your contact information from spammers and others who scan the Who-Is public records to find people to bother. If you’ve got private registration turned on, turn it off before beginning your transfer. That’s so you’ll get the important confirmation emails you need to go through the process.
Let’s Get Started
Now you are ready to transfer. Go to the new registrar of your choice. I’ll use Namecheap.com as an example because I took advantage of their special offer to transfer up to 10 domains and have them make a donation to support elephants. That’s expired, but their regular prices are excellent and if you transfer through GoElly.com, Go Elly will make a donation for elephants.
What you do is enter the domain names you want to transfer at Namecheap.com (or other registrar) and click the “Start Transfer” button. You’ll pay $8.98 per domain name, which includes a 1 year extension of your renewal date. That’s an excellent price and a reason to transfer all by itself.
What happens next is that you’ll get an email asking for an Authorization Code or EPP Code. The registrar that has your domain has to issue this. It’s used to ensure that you really are authorizing the transfer of your domain and that someone else isn’t trying to steal it right out from under you. For Go Daddy users, you log into your account, go to “My Domains” and click on the domain you want to transfer. That takes you to the domain details page. In the left column labeled “Domain Information” you’ll see “Authorization Code:” Click on the “Send by Email” link. In short order you’ll get an email with the code. Copy it, then open the email from your new registrar and follow the directions to paste the code where it is requested.
More Help Is Available
Mike Rotman has written an excellent guide called “How to leave GoDaddy.com” that helped me through the process. You should be aware that transfers aren’t instantaneous. They can take at least 5 days. I subsequently learned that you can speed up the process through Go Daddy by going to the “Pending Transfers” sub menu on your Domains tab and manually accepting the transfer by clicking on the green Accept/Decline check mark and then choosing to accept. Otherwise they’ll hold on to it for about a week just to make sure you don’t want to change your mind.
This may seem a bit long and involved, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you stayed with your old registrar and paid too much all these years. The transfer process is no doubt slightly different with each registrar, but they’ll give you step by step instructions and you can contact them for personal assistance if something doesn’t make sense. The website Good also has a picture tutorial for moving domains from Go Daddy.
Help an Elephant
One more thing... don’t forget that Go Elly - Elephant Friendly Domain Registration and Web Hosting Services offers a list of recommended domain registrars and will donate a minimum of $1.50 per domain transfer or registration to an organization that supports elephants. Click on the Go Elly page links for the registration service of your choice to make this happen.