Changing domain name registrars

Carmon Friedrich once told me that I shouldn’t apologize for the potential boringness of a blog post. So I won’t. But I must warn you that the following tale will likely interest you only if you are deep into managing your own website. I include it for the sake of those who need to know and with Google’s help may stumble across it.

Our bookstore has gone through many incarnations in cyberspace. At the time we changed our name to Cumberland Books we were using Yahoo as a hosting service, and so we registered our new domain name with them. Back then Yahoo was offering significant bargains on registration, so we were happy enough with the price we paid (though I don’t recall what it was). Since then we’ve registered other domain names, some with Yahoo while it was still cheap, the rest with GoDaddy after Yahoo stopped offering bargain prices.

Recently I received an email from Yahoo informing me that (a) our domain name was about to auto-renew, and (b) they had drastically raised the renewal price they charge, from $10 per year to $35 per year. Well, $35 is ridiculously high; there are many places, GoDaddy among them, which would charge me around $10 per year. So I decided to grit my teeth and endure the pain of transferring my domain name from Yahoo to GoDaddy.

Well, it turns out that since I last look the domain registrar world has significantly streamlined the process of transferring a domain name. At GoDaddy, the receiving registrar, all I needed to do was pay for the transfer and then type in a code number that I found at Yahoo which would prove to Yahoo that it was indeed me asking for the transfer. GoDaddy then sent a request to Yahoo asking them to approve the transfer.

At that point Yahoo was supposed to send me an email asking me to confirm that I wanted the domain transferred. That never happened, but I wasn’t able to find anyone on the internet complaining that Yahoo was in the habit of not doing this, so I assume there was some sort of glitch.

Ultimately it didn’t matter, because as long as the registrar losing the domain doesn’t complain within five days to the registrar taking the domain, the transfer is automatically approved. So if Yahoo had done what it was supposed to do the transfer would have happened right away, but as it was I had to wait five days for it.

Note to Yahoo users: transferring the domain does not automatically cancel your “plan” with Yahoo; they will continue to charge you for renewing the domain they no longer control until you explicitly cancel your arrangement with them. However, they recommend (and I suppose it’s a good idea) that you not cancel the plan until the transfer is complete.

After five days GoDaddy completed the transfer automatically. At that point I cancelled the Yahoo service. But I failed to tell GoDaddy, the new domain manager, exactly where to find our website (which is hosted by yet another service, LunarPages). What I should have done was told GoDaddy to use the LunarPages name server for the cumberlandbooks.com domain. Because I didn’t do that our website temporarily disappeared from the internet, and even after I fixed the problem it took a day or so for the internet to propagate the new information to all corners.

Upshot:

  • Don’t pay Yahoo’s exorbitant domain service charges; move your domain name elsewhere.
  • Do it with more than five days to spare before renewal, so that you don’t have to cancel you plan before the name is transferred.
  • Be sure to tell the new registrar where your domain lives by updating the name server addresses.
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2 thoughts on “Changing domain name registrars

  1. I had some minor trouble with Yahoo along the same lines, but had to jump through some moer hoops, also, I was under the impression that Godaddy co-owned the names you register with them making it difficult to transfer without paying extra fees. Not so? And some hosting companies offer a pretty good deal on registration if you are using their hosting service.

    Stay away from Network Solutions.

  2. Late to respond, but it would have been easier and cheaper to simply transfer the domain to Lunarpages. They have free to cheap domain name hosting for the web host accounts.

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