It’s often the case that people will purchase their desired domain before they even begin the website design process or purchase a hosting plan. If you wish to have your website hosted with a company like bluehost.com and the domain name is registered elsewhere, you can either point the domain name to the host company’s servers (e.g. ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com) and keep your registration where it is — or you can transfer the domain registration to the new hosting company.
The process of transferring a domain name has many steps (to protect you from anyone other than you doing it). The steps are:
- If your site is ready to be live, ensure that it is in place on its host server, ready to spring into action.
- If the domain name is still pointing to servers at which the site will not be hosted (eg if you are moving an existing site), repoint the domain towards the new servers (eg ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com).
- Unlock the domain if it is locked.
- Remove privacy protection if you had chosen that option (and make sure the email address associated with the domain is your main email address that you check).
At this point, to be sure your domain is unlocked and does not have privacy protection turned on, the public domain record can be checked by typing whois xxx.com in an application like Terminal which uses Linux commands (where xxx.com is your domain name).
- Request an EPP transfer authorization code from the existing registrar.
You can probably find the ways to take these steps yourself in your account control panel; if not, ask your developer or call a technical support person to make the changes for you.
The EPP authorization code will be emailed to the address associated with the account.
- Now open the control panel of your new registrar and navigate to the domains section and find the link for domain transfers. Once you initiate the process (there will be a big link to get started), you will be asked to provide the EPP code that has been emailed to you.
- Copy and paste that code into the appropriate field and submit.
- There is still one final step. The new registrar will send a confirmation request to you at the email address associated with the domain name (and this is where it matters that you have removed privacy protection, as if it has been left on, the email will go to “email@example.com” and you will not be able to complete the process). Check your spam folder if the confirmation request doesn’t appear in your inbox.Once you receive the email, click the link to confirm the transfer and the transfer will go through.
Generally you can go ahead without checking any optional extras, but if you don’t want to be sent scam and spam emails from people trying to get you to pay for registration again or to order overblown search engine optimization (SEO) services, you may want to check “the “privacy protection” option. New domains seem to attract a lot of scammers and every website gets SEO offers (with dire warnings and/or over-blown promises of achieving #1 position), all the time.