Almost daily I am working with a website owner whose domain name is owned by someone else. This means that the website’s and the business owner’s internet business identity and a main channel of their internet based communication is out of their control. I come across a lot of these situations with BluDomain website owners as well as sites provided by Dex and others. For more reasons why you need to have your domain name in your name and control check out my previous post “BluDomain owns over 17,000 domain names. Why yours should not be one of them.”
This is not done maliciously, it usually happens when the website was first was setup the site provider also included the domain in the development. Fortunately it is almost never a problem to get the domain registered into your ownership and control, and it will not disrupt your website. Your domain name is separate from your website, its hosting and other details. To show that control and own your domain, as well as be able to easily make changes to your website hosting and email in the future you need to have the domain name registration in your name as the “registrant”.
It is easy to do, but requires some steps and communication that are simple, but not intuitive. Below are the steps and communication that you need:
1) First you will need a place to host your domain name, this is not the same as your website hosting but sometimes is the same company. If you already have other domains that you registered in your name, you can use that account. If you do not have any other registered domains in your name you need an account to receive thedomain name transfer. (NOTE: This is NOT a hosting account, this is an account for owning and managing your domain.) You can usealmost any domain registrar for this but I strongly recommend GoDaddy for the registration and management of domains. To get an account at GoDaddy to receive your domain name just call GoDaddy at 877-818-3680 or 408-505-8877 and ask them to set up an account for to receive a domain name transfer, or if you want you can go to GoDaddy.com and do this on-line.. You do not need to purchase anything at this time. All you need is the account. Do not buy anything in this step (GoDaddy is great at upselling(.
2) Contact the current “registrant” (individual controls your domain) and ask them to transfer your domain to you. If you do not know who registrant for your domain is you can look it up on a whois. For simplicity and clarity like whois.sc, just enter the domain name and then click on the “Whois Record” tab. On the page for that tab you will see the registrant organization controlling your domain first, then below that you will see the Administrative contact information including name, address email and phone number. If your domain was registered by BluDomain even the contact phone number is present, but BluDomain makes it easy with their support form. (For BluDomain also provide them your GoDaddy account number and the email associated with your GoDaddy account. This is because most BluDomain held domains are registered through GoDaddy or Wild West Domains, a GoDaddy company.) Send the Administrative contact of the registrant an email asking them to begin the transfer of the domain to you. All they will need to do is go into the admin panel for the domain name and click to initiate a transfer for which they will be given an Authorization code or EPP code. For most transfers, other than almost all BluDomain, you need them to send you the Authorization code. For this they will likely charge you any outstanding domain name registration fees. For example BluDomain seems to normally charge 15/yr for domain names, but pays them in three year terms. So your charge for BluDomain could be as much as about $45, based on recent observations. For other companies it could be higher or lower. In any case it is important to own and control your domain name which is your internet brand, business address identity and often your internet communication path, so in most cases it makes sense to pay them the amount.
3) Once you have paid any outstanding domain registration fees the registrant should provide you the transfer authorization code. With the Authorization code return to GoDaddy, login to your account and select Domain Transfer, enter your domain name and then when prompted enter the provided Authorization code. GoDaddy charges about $8.00 to transfer a domain into your account and will add another year to the registration term free. Now your domain is waiting for the previous registrant to acknowledge the transfer or seven days. When they acknowledge it or at the end of seven days the domain name will appear in your account. To check on the status of the transfer at any time during the 7 days just login to your GoDaddy account, visit the Domain manger and under the Domain tab click on Pending transfers, if you have any problems just call GoDaddy support and they will advise you.
If your domain was registered by BluDomain through through either GoDaddy or Wild West Domains, and your account is at GoDaddy completing this transfer is even easier and less costly. This allows GoDaddy to just treat the process as a simple account change, which means it will take place within hours of BluDomain making the change on their side. All BluDomain needs to do is launch the Domain manager, select your domain and click on Account change and bring up the details of your domain, enter your GoDaddy account number and email and confirm. In your account you can check on it and accept the domain change by going to the GoDaddy domain manager and clicking on Account changes and accepting the change.
This process above will not make any changes to your website or email. Your website and email (if it uses BluDomain’s email server) will continue without interuption. The steps above only places you as the owner and manager of your domain name. Leave the DNS records as they are until you want to change your website hosting, email servers or other routing/path alterations.
Now that you are the owner of your domain you will need to pay the annual registration cost directly. On the plus side GoDaddy makes this easy, sends many reminders and is one of the lowest cost registrars around, currently about 12.99/yr.
If you have any questions or issues you want to discuss on the process please feel free to call, email or comment below. I would be glad to do my best to assist.