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After chatting with business owners who are building their websites on their own, it’s come to my attention that many are overpaying for their primary business domains. For a .com domain name, you should be paying less than $15/year to register it under your name! When signing up for a new website building platform like Squarespace, it’s easy to go with their free domain for the first year. But, when you renew for your second year, you’re paying a higher rate than you should since you now have a third-party in charge of controlling your domain.
• Related Reading: 7 Reasons Why You Should Choose WordPress Over Squarespace (& Wix!)
In this post, I’m going to show you how to transfer a domain away from your current registrar and to a lower cost (yet great quality) registrar, Namecheap. This will lower your business costs, and it will allow you to take full control of your domain name so you don’t have to rely on a third-party to manage it for you. I’ll also explain what the difference is between pointing your domain to your website and transferring your domain to a new registrar. Let’s jump in!
How to Transfer a Domain to a Lower Cost Registrar
What is the difference between pointing a domain and transferring a domain?
Before we jump in, I thought I’d explain this small difference which many business owners seem to be confused about in terms of their domain.
Pointing a Domain
“Pointing a domain name,” refers to the act of changing the settings in your existing domain name (the nameservers) and pointing them to your website host. This links your domain name to your website so that when someone visits yourwebsite.com, it opens up the website that you built for that domain name, instead of a blank page.
This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to up to 24 hours for the domain name to fully propagate and display your website when the address is visited.
This domain name for example is not currently pointed to a website and displays a blank page with a short message.
• Related Reading: Why a Domain Name Should Be Your First Business Investment
Transferring a Domain
“Transferring a domain name,” refers to changing who the domain name is registered with. For example, if you registered your domain name on GoDaddy, then you decide you actually want to register your domain name with Namecheap for a lower cost, you would transfer the domain name away from GoDaddy and to Namecheap. Then, Namecheap would become the registrar you pay your yearly fees to.
This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to up to 6 days for the domain settings and registration to transfer fully to the new registrar. If done by a quality registrar, you likely will not see any downtime from you live website that currently has the domain pointed to it.
How to Transfer a Domain to Namecheap
Now that you have an idea of what it means to transfer a domain to a new registrar, we’ll go through the steps together. I recommend going with Namecheap because they have some of the lowest cost registration fees on the market, they have awesome chat support if you need any assistance with either pointing or transferring your domain name, and they offer free WhoIs Guard protection. WhoIs Guard protection is important because it keeps all of your registration information private so advertisers and solicitors can’t contact you for any reason.
For example, when you search for the WhoIs information of my domain, tarangovisualstudio.com, you can’t see any of my personal information associated with the domain because it is protected.
In this video, I go over the step-by-step process of how to unlock and transfer your domain to Namecheap. You can also read the steps below.
1. Unlock the Domain
First, you’ll need to visit Namecheap.com/transfer and type in your domain name. From there, you’ll be able to see if it available for transfer. If your domain name was recently registered or renewed (within the last month or so) you likely will have to wait a few weeks before it is available for transfer. From this screen, you’ll see that you need to “unlock” your domain to be able to transfer it.
To unlock your domain and open it for transfer, you need to login to your domain name registrar and go into the settings to unlock it.
You can view the instructions on how to unlock your domain name from these various platforms:
How to unlock & transfer a domain away from Squarespace
How to unlock & transfer a domain away from Wix
How to unlock & transfer a domain away from WordPress.com
How to unlock & transfer a domain away from GoDaddy
How to unlock & transfer a domain away from Google Domains
2. Enter Authorization Code
Once your domain is unlocked, refresh the transfer page on Namecheap so it now shows the domain as “unlocked”. You should receive an email with your Authorization Code after confirming that you want to transfer your domain away from your current registrar.
3. Purchase Domain
After you’ve verified your Authorization Code, you can go onto purchasing your domain transfer. The price shown is the discounted price for the transfer of your domain to Namecheap, and the first years registration fee. When your domain is up for renewal in a full year, your annual rate will increase slightly and will stay the same every single year following.
You can visit Namecheap.com/domains/#pricing to see what your domain name will cost upon renewal. For .com domains, you will be paying $12.98 + a $0.18 ICANN fee for a cost of $13.16 per year.
4. Check on Status
From there, your work is done! Namecheap has begun the process to transfer your domain over to them and will reach out to you if any issues arise from your previous registrar. You can check your dashboard for the status on the transfer. Also be sure to check your website to see if any downtime occurs throughout the next few days.
This process is no where near as complicated as it seems and will save you some money for your business!
If you think you’re overpaying for your domain name, simply type your website into Namecheap’s transfer search bar to see what it would cost to transfer your domain name for the first year, or hop in a chat with their support to see how much you can save on the renewal rate!
How much are you currently paying for your domain? Comment below and I’d love to help you see if you can lower your expenses.