Domain Transfers: Pre-flight checks (BEFORE transfer)

Domains mid-transfer are "locked" to avoid problems at either end. Be prepared with these pre-flight checks!

It's important to take stock of your domain name/s and how they're configured at the losing registrar.

This includes a few components:

  1. Whois contact details (ie. Registrant email)
  2. DNS configuration (ie. Registrar DNS, Azure DNS)
  3. Hosted services (ie. Website, emails, file storage)
  4. Importance of domain (ie. How critical is downtime)
  5. Timeframe for transfer of domain (Depends on the TLD)

For example, if you're looking to transfer a gTLD (such as a .com) you're looking at 5-7 days for it to complete.

During that time, you won't be able to make modifications to the domain name.
If your plans include changing the website/email hosting provider in the process, then you should consider:

  • DNS configuration (Prepare your new nameservers ahead of time, and update the domain to use them AHEAD of lodging the transfer)
  • Whois contact details (Is the registrant email correct? You may not need to approve it via email, though it MUST be correct/accessible)
  • Transfer completion time (For gTLDs which take a week to complete, it can be best to approve on Monday so it finalises near the weekend)

Let's say you're a design agency with your own Merlot Digital cluster of Managed Nameservers.

The gTLD domain we're talking about above is currently having its DNS served by and you want to change that to - you should create the cPanel account (or just DNS zone, depending on the complexity of your set-up) ahead of time, mirror the DNS records there (ie. migrate/build the website, ensure MX/TXT/SRV/etc records are configured properly, check Email Routing in cPanel if applicable), then update DNS to use BEFORE kicking off the domain transfer.

Why is it so important to think ahead with DNS? It's all about retaining control of the domain.

If you don't make the changes pre-transfer, then during the mid-flight period as the domain's transferring the old/losing DNS provider will remain "authoritative" which means your new/gaining nameservers/DNS won't be effective. This is especially important where you're publishing a new website to the domain, as it could mean a week before you can make the planned changes.

Hmm - it'd be good to wind back the clock and do this transfer again - is that possible?

It is, we can reject inbound transfers allowing you to go back, amend the domain and then re-lodge the domain transfer. Note though that some registrars can try to hold the domain for 60 days due to the rejected transfer, so while you'd be able to make DNS changes, it may end up locked in-place until the lock is released. We have no control over other registrars, so although we can try to convince them to manually override the locks (which tends to be possible), some registrars aren't exactly known for their competence!

Questions? We've got answers. Let our team know how they're able to help you out!

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