This article describes the process of transferring a domain registration you purchased at another company to DreamHost.
While this is an optional step, it's highly recommended since having both your domain registration and hosting plan located at the same company makes it much easier to manage and keep track of all aspects of your domain.
This article assumes you would like to also host your website at DreamHost. Transferring your registration only transfers your domain name. View the following article for instructions on transferring your hosting service to DreamHost:
What registrations cannot be transferred in?
DreamHost only allows certain supported TLDs to be transferred in. The following TLDs are not supported for incoming transfers at DreamHost: .AM, .AT, .BZ, .FM, .JP, .NGO, .ONG, .OOO, .PLACE and .WS.
For more information, visit DreamHost's TLD webpage for a current list of domain extensions with pricing.
Will there be any downtime?
Any downtime to your website or its services (such as email) would be caused by changing your domain registration's DNS settings. There are two things you must be aware of in regards to your domain's DNS settings.
- Where are they controlled?
- Where are they currently pointing?
View the following article to confirm where your website's DNS settings are currently pointing.
If the domain registration is using DreamHost's nameservers
If your domain registration is already using DreamHost's nameservers, you will not experience any downtime. Once the transfer completes, your site and its services will continue to function at DreamHost.
If the domain registration is NOT using DreamHost's nameservers
If your domain registration's nameservers are pointing to a different company, your website, and its services will continue to function the same at that company. However, if you want to host your website at DreamHost, you must update its DNS settings:
If you choose to point your nameservers to DreamHost after the transfer has been completed, downtime may occur. This is due to DNS propagation.
Make sure that you make any nameserver changes before beginning the transfer, as changes to nameservers cannot be made while a domain transfer is in progress.
Transferring an expired domain
If your domain registration expires while the transfer is proceeding, your site will go offline until the transfer finishes. It's recommended you initiate a transfer at least a month before your domain is going to expire. Also, not all registrars allow expired domains to transfer.
If the domain has already expired and you're trying to transfer it away from DreamHost, you'll need to reach out to support for assistance.
Check with your registrar first if your domain is approaching an expiration date to see if they allow you to transfer an expired domain.
Before you request a transfer
Due to ICANN's Transfer Policy, any change made to the registrant's name, organization, or email address will put the domain in a 60-day transfer lock; it will also trigger notification emails that are sent to the old and new registrant notifying them of the change.
Please visit the following article for further details:
There are a few steps that you must do before you submit the transfer request with DreamHost. The following changes should be done with the current registrar of your domain name:
- Unlock the domain registration for transfer at your registrar.
- Obtain the auth code, also known as the EPP code, from your current registrar. This code is necessary to complete the transfer-in request.
Make sure you have not transferred or registered the domain name in the last 60 days (ICANN policy prohibits transfers in this time period).
Step 1 — Requesting the transfer-in with DreamHost
To begin the process, log into the account you're going to transfer the registration to. If you do not yet have an account, sign up for one on the website. Once created, log in at panel.dreamhost.com.
You must resolve any outstanding DreamHost account balance before you can transfer-in a domain registration.
- Navigate to the Transfer Registrations page and click the Start Transfer to DreamHost button:
- A page opens, allowing you to enter a domain(s) you wish to transfer.
- Enter a domain name (or multiple domain names on each line) that you wish to transfer to your account with DreamHost.
- Click the Request Transfer button to proceed.
Step 2 — Entering the auth code, WHOIS, and nameservers
On the next page, you must fill in the ownership details. Here, you can enter the ownership information as well as enable the free privacy protection DreamHost offers to hide your personal contact details on the public WHOIS.
If you'd like privacy enabled on the domain's public WHOIS information, simply check the box titled I want all my contact information private. This way, it is set when the transfer-in completes.
The privacy setting is free, but DreamHost does not offer this for all TLDs. If you do not see the checkbox for the transfer-in of your domain, that particular TLD is not supported with this feature.
The following portion of the WHOIS form is where you enter your ownership details for the domain registration. This must include valid address and contact information as per ICANN’s policy:
The checkbox at the top of this form can be checked to include the details entered in the contact fields to be applied to all four contact fields on the domain registration’s internal ownership detail: Registrant, Admin, Billing, and Technical details are the four contact details for the domain.
This form also includes the AUTH CODE for... field. This is where you enter the auth code or EPP code for the domain registration transfer. You must make sure you enter it exactly as it was provided to you by your current registrar.
The last section of the transfer request page is where you can set the domain registration’s name servers.
- If you select Use DreamHost’s nameservers, it automatically sets DreamHost's nameservers for you.
- If you select Use another host’s nameservers, it opens up four fields where you can enter the outside name servers you wish to set up.
Theappear before you continue. Make sure to read these.
Once you’ve completed this page, click the Continue button to move onto the payment screen.
Step 3 — Paying for your transfer
You are charged for the incoming domain transfer unless you have a free domain registration still available with your hosting service. You can read more about the free domain registration with your hosting service in the Free Registration article.
Proceed to Payment Entry
If you need to pay for the transfer, the cost of the transfer of that particular TLD is listed on the order page for you to review before you proceed. Click the Proceed to Payment Entry button to continue.
Submit Transfer Request
If you need to make a payment, the balance owed for this is displayed along with the various payment options. Enter your payment method, and then click the confirmation button for the payment method you selected.
The single transfer fee applies both to the transfer and the new year of the registration beyond the current expiration date.
After you’ve gone through the payment process and clicked Submit Transfer Request, a confirmation appears.
If you navigate back to the Transfer Registrations page, you'll see it's pending. Any payment you make is held as a credit balance on the account until the transfer completes. The charge for the transfer is then applied.
Step 4 — Domain status and EPP code are verified, and transfer request is submitted to current registrar
Once the transfer is submitted in your DreamHost panel, the domain’s unlock status and EPP/transfer authorization code are verified with your current registrar. If both are correct, the domain transfer is submitted to the registry, and the domain’s status changes to pendingTransfer. You can check that status by performing a WHOIS query on the domain registration.
At that time, your current registrar has 5 days to release the domain to DreamHost, and the transfer then completes within 7 days of the domain’s status change.
If the domain is not fully unlocked, or if the EPP/transfer authorization code is denied by your current registrar, DreamHost will send you a message notifying you that the transfer has failed. For more specifics on the exact issue that caused your transfer to fail, please contact DreamHost support.
Common problems with incoming transfers
Sometimes a transfer doesn’t go through as smoothly as it should. This can be due to a number of reasons, including:
- Certain domains may have updated the auth code to something else internally. For example, the .ORG registry is quite on top of their security measures and often changes the auth code (EPP code) automatically. It’s possible the transfer failed due to the auth code being incorrect because of that change. The .NZ registry also expires EPP codes if they are not used within a short time frame. If this is the case, the current registrar must reset the auth code. Once this completes, the domain transfer must be submitted again in your panel with the new code.
- The domain may be transfer locked. In some cases, a lock can be confirmed by querying the domain’s WHOIS listing and looking for the following domain status:
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
- The domain may also be transfer locked due to a WHOIS registrant change, which does not always result in the above status being shown. If the transfer fails due to a transfer lock of any kind, please contact the current registrar so they can help remove the lock in either of these cases. Once the domain is fully unlocked, the transfer must be submitted as a new request in the DreamHost panel.
- In the event that a transfer-in does not complete within five days, please contact DreamHost support so they may check on the status of the transfer for you and provide more detailed information.
- If you notice intermittent problems with DNS after your domain transfer completes, your domain may have used DNSSEC prior to the transfer. DNSSEC records are special DNS records that travel with domains even when they are transferred from registrar to registrar, but those records are not compatible with DreamHost’s nameservers. You can find more details on this in DreamHost's DNSSEC overview article.
If you wish to use DreamHost’s nameservers with your newly transferred domain, please contact DreamHost support to have the attached DNSSEC records removed. If you instead prefer to keep utilizing DNSSEC, you must point the domain’s nameservers to a DNS provider that supports this system.
Canceling domain transfers
If you've submitted a transfer request in the panel but need to cancel it, you can do so within the panel.
- Navigate to the Transfer Registrations page.
- Click the Cancel button for the domain that is transferring to DreamHost.
- When prompted, click the Confirm button. The request is canceled and a confirmation note appears.
Transferring .CO.UK domain registrations
The process for transferring .CO.UK domains slightly differs. The .CO.UK domains are managed by Nominet, the top level registry for .uk domains, so any changes you make to these TLDs must be done directly through the registry: nominet.uk
These TLDs also do not utilize the standard transfer lock process or authorization (EPP) code system when they're transferred. Instead, the process to transfer this kind of TLD is to simply change the Internet Provider Security (IPS) tag from the current registrar to DreamHost as described below.
The ENOM IPS tag
- Contact your current registrar, and ask them to update the IPS tag on your domain to DreamHost’s tag which is ENOM.
- IPS tags are case-sensitive so make sure ENOM is in capital letters.
Once that’s done, the domain is no longer in the losing registrar’s control and is in limbo until the transfer completes.
To complete the process after IPS tag is changed, submit the transfer through your DreamHost panel as outlined above so they can finish the process and place the domain’s management in your account.