How do I change my domain registrar?
A domain name registrar is a company that manages the registration of domain names (the address where visitors go to visit your website). It's very important to keep your domain registration up to date, because if you don't, you could lose access to your website address.
There are many, many domain name registrars out there. If you initially set up your site with a budget host like GoDaddy or Hostgator, you may have taken advantage of a promotion that lumped hosting and domain name registration together in one package. That makes a lot of sense when you're first starting out, as it cuts down on the red tape! However, for added security we recommend you use an external domain name registrar -- i.e. register your domain name with a different company than the one you host with.
If you're moving to Performance Foundry hosting from another host and want to keep your domain registered through your old host, that's fine! Just check that the domain registration service is separate from your old hosting package, or you may have to keep paying for hosting with them just to keep the domain registration alive.
If you'd prefer to move to another provider, and close down your account with your old host altogether, or if you want to change from one standalone domain name registrar to another, you can do that by going through a transfer process.
How do I transfer my domain name to a new registrar?
- First, choose the company you'd like to register with (we recommend Name or NameCheap). Head to their website and look for a "transfer" option, for example https://www.namecheap.com/domains/transfer.aspx
- Enter the domain name. Double-check that you've spelled it correctly!
- Follow the transfer process. This will involve the new service asking some questions to verify your identity.
- Your name server details should remain the same. If you're unsure, or you're asked for name server details, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll send them through.
- Finish the sign-up process and send us through login details using http://onetimesecret.com. (Paste the password into the the box, don't create a passphrase, click "create a secret link" and email us the link.) We can review everything to make sure the domain is pointed to your website.
- We recommend you wait a few days before cancelling the old service.
Will there be any downtime?
Normally, there's no downtime when transferring domain registrar, assuming that the name servers stay the same throughout the transfer. If traffic hits the old or the new provider, it will still be transferred to the same address.
Warning: don't let your domain expire!
It's really important not to let your domain name expire. Some people think it could be easier to let the domain expire then re-purchase on a different service -- but that really isn't a good idea.
If a domain expires, your site will go offline, and that's never a good thing! Plus the domain name provider you were originally using usually holds the name for a period of time to allow you to repurchase, so the name won't be available on another service for a while.
Also, if the domain is made available on another service and someone else purchases it, you will have lost control of the domain.
If the domain in question is a secondary domain that you redirect to your main site, it's just as important not to let this go offline. This is because letting the domain expire may delete all of the redirect rules. That will lead to quite a bit of extra work to get them set up again.
It all sounds so hard....
We offer a domain management service for clients on our Managed WordPress Hosting service, which costs $50 per year. This also includes the transfer of your domain to a new registrar. If you'd like us to look after that for you, you can sign up using this link.