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A Step By Step Guide to Transfer Domains Out Of GoDaddy (jeffepstein.me)
1086 points by jeffepp on Dec 22, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 103 comments

I just transferred my 47 domains out of GoDaddy. I've been meaning to do it for awhile --- primarily because the price keeps inching up and because I find their advertising and use of spokeswomen sort of distasteful.

Seeing Jillian Michael's face when I'm buying a domain or setting up DNS records for a client is pretty much the last thing I want to see.

I guess you could say SOPA was the last straw. Transferring 47 domains cost a pretty penny, but it feels really good to leave that circus behind.

I went with Namecheap, primarily because I've heard good things about them and this blog post made it easy. I like how simple and snappy their web site is. Much quicker and easier to use than Godaddy...and no Jillian Michaels staring me down.

For those curious about prices, I just transferred 42 domains (mostly .com's but a few .org's, .net's, and .mobi's) to NameCheap for $367 with discount code.

And if you have any domains that still have a few years left in their registration, that is supposed to transfer with the domains.

Same, but I think it was 46 for me ;)

Big relief having finally gotten off my butt to do that. Well worth the $200+ and at least that renews them all for an extra year at the same time, so it's not like I wouldn't have spent it anyway (just not all at once).

Knowing that I would need to pay to renew them anyway made it slightly less painful. It's tough to cough up $300+ at once, but SOPA is a horrible idea and GoDaddy apparently has no clue who their customers are. I'd be very curious to see some stats on how many transfers happened because of this effort.

Would love to see that stat. I guess competitors could post about spikes, giving us a sense based on their numbers.

We did 10x the inbound xfer volume on the 22nd vs. the 21st. So far on the 23rd, we're at 80% of the volume we saw on the 22nd. This only counts completed transfers, and there are a ton more in process as people fiddle with the Godaddy knobs and dials.

One of our customers wrote a great transfer how-to that can be found here... https://twitter.com/technologypoet/status/150084142577623042

...and to head off any bandwagon jumping criticisms, we've been publicly opposed to this sort of legislative gerrymandering long before Godaddy stepped out in favour of it... https://www.hover.com/blog/hover-opposes-sopa

I agree with your sentiment, but the Grammar Nazi in me wants to make you aware that gerrymandering is a specific type of political malfeasance related to redistricting, not a generic term for political chicanery. :)

I just transferred 17 myself. I'd been meaning to for a while and, as you said, this was just kind of the final straw. I moved them to NameCheap, where I ready had another 32 domains registered.

I'm with you. I had been meaning to move my portfolio away from GoDaddy for a while. This was that last little push that was needed.

172 domains for roughly $1400 @ NameCheap. I had been experimenting with several registrars and they've 'felt' the best so far.

How are you going to manage 172 domains without auto-renew? Unless you only ever buy domains on one date each year, the renewals end up spread out over time, so you have to check and pay every month to keep from losing things.

I'd move to Namecheap right now if

1) They took my American Express card, they only take Visa/MC

2) They would auto-renew my domains

To solve 1, if you don't mind using PayPal, you can use an AmEx through them. I know using PayPal brings up a whole extra line of issues, but it does solve the first problem.

After you get your EPP codes entered and GoDaddy is notified that you intend to transfer the domain, you can either wait 5 days for GoDaddy to release the domain, or you can go in and immediately accept the transfer by following these instructions: http://support.godaddy.com/help/6040?locale=en

Then it's just a matter of waiting for everything to finalize. I started the process this morning and it still isn't finalized.

EDIT: I updated the blog to include these instructions. Thanks.

As noted elsewhere, it's the hosting plans that they make their money from, and so that's what I'd aim to transfer. So I've got a two-part question:

1) How does one transfer all the DNS information, including the A and MX records (anything else I need?)? Is this all provider-specific? Or can they just port in the existing data?

2) When I'm ready, I'd want to set up a web site, and especially a mail server. Any recommendations? (I know this has been asked plenty in the past, but this seems a good time to make a list excluding GoDaddy)

First, manage the dns with a third party dns service. Such as http://zoneedit.com/pricing.html or similar. Don't use the dns of the registrar.

But if you are talking about moving over just dns servers (not the records that are in those dns servers) that is automatically ported over when you change registrars. But if the dns servers are the dns servers of the registrar that isn't what you want. Which is one of the reasons to use third party dns. If you switch registrars the gaining registrar automatically sets the primary and secondary dns to what it was at the old registrar.

I wrote this fast but if you have any questions let me know. This is what I do.

To answer about mail server depends on whether you mean the mail server will run on your equipment or on a VPS or?

First, manage the dns with a third party dns service.

This cannot be emphasized enough. Do not use your registrar's DNS. Do not use your registrar's hosting. Do not use your host's DNS.

The three elements -- domain registration, DNS, and web hosting -- should be segregated. That way, if you have problems with one, through chance, malice, or incompetence, you can exercise the other two items to work around the issue.


If your web host is DDOSed, change the DNS entries to point to another host; minimizing downtime.

If your DNS servers are taken offline by legal action against the company that owns them, change the published servers at your registrar.

If your registrar goes bankrupt, your DNS and hosting will continue running smoothly while ICANN handles the domain management.

While you're at it, host your email somewhere different than your webhost. If you're account gets disabled because of a billing mistake, you want to get the email that tells you about it, right?

It's not even that expensive to implement these steps -- $25, maybe $50 per year. If you are at all serious about something on the Internet, spend the extra money!

How realistic is it for these things to actually happen though, the only seemingly realistic thing is the DOS attack.

I'm not saying it isn't smart I am just wondering if you have any examples of the others actually occurring.

Depends on what you mean by realistic. All of the examples I gave were things that have happened, or could plausibly happen.

Police Raids: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/data-centers-ra/ http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/22/fbi_data_centre_raid...

Shutdown Registrars: http://domainnamewire.com/2009/10/12/directnic-picks-up-red-... http://blog.domaintools.com/2007/03/registerfly-terminated-b...

You can never know what the company executives or managers might be getting up to, so -- as basic risk management -- you should prepare for catastrophic events.

I established a DNS Made Easy account about 5 years ago exactly for this reason. Registration, DNS and hosting independence is an important consideration. Separating these concerns is a big win when you need it.

How many times has it come in useful since then?

1) Transferring DNS is a bit of a pain indeed. Luckily GoDaddy lets you export the zone for each domain from their control panel. I would just send this to your new registrar and they can import the settings. Some registrars also give you an option to add DNS records when starting the transfer.

2) This might be helpful for email / website / blog hosting: http://iwantmyname.com/services – these hosted apps and services can all be used with your own domain.

(Full disclosure: I'm a co-founder at iWantMyname)

Some registrars support uploading zone files, at least Safenames (our current registrar, not the cheapest but good, simple UI:s and good customer service) does, and I believe that you can export the zone file from GoDaddy. So check if your new registrar supports importing entire zone files, if so the transfer of DNS should be trivial.

Glad I've already moved all of my hosting to a different party years ago. I used to use GoDaddy for hosting and what a pain that was. Their shared hosting was just horrific for me.

https://dnsimple.com/ has a 50% off special for transferring domains off of GoDaddy. They may not be the cheapest (it's $3 a month to host 10 domains + yearly cost for the domain registration), but they have fantastic support and are super simple to use.

In case you haven't seen it before, I wrote up a step-by-step guide earlier this year as well: http://blog.dnsimple.com/preparing-domains-godaddy-for-trans...

Note the tip at the end: you usually have to wait the full 5 day waiting period when transferring a domain out of GoDaddy because they let the domain auto ack at the end, however you can speed things up using the technique described in this help article on their site: http://help.godaddy.com/article/6040?locale=en

Copied here in case they remove it. :-)

To Accept or Decline a Transfer to Another Registrar Log in to your Account Manager. In the My Products section, click Domains/Domain Manager. From the Domains menu, select Pending Transfers. Select the domain name(s) you are transferring to another registrar, and then click Accept/Decline. Select one of the following: Accept — This option might speed up the pending transfer's completion. Decline — This option cancels the pending transfer, which causes it to fail. Click OK twice. We process your request within 30 minutes.

I can't say enough good things about DNSimple (and I've had lots of bad things to say about other registrars). Are you guys still reselling enom for all of your TLDs? Pretty please will you get your own setup for at least .com/.org/.net addresses? And when/if you do can you make a big stink about it so I know to transfer all of my domains to you guys? I'd love to give you more money...

I can't promise I can do it, but I'll work on it. ICANN accreditation and registry access is all about money. If I can get the working capital then I'll get DNSimple accredited in 2012. Believe me, I'd love to be able to do it.

If I move to DNSimple now, will it be easy to move to your news registry later?

I don't mind paying some, but just need it to be ultra easy :)

Well I'll keep sending business your way to hopefully speed that process along. :)

I transferred to NameCheap, which also sent me a mail to accept/decline. Wasn't aware of the same from GoDaddy. Thanks for letting me know. Just did it. Hope to be done in half-hr.

If you're transferring to Namecheap, you can combine both the domain name and the EPP code on the same line (comma separated). That'll save you a step of having to re-submit it for each domain.

Awesome. Going to update that in the post - Thanks Shpigford!

It also happen to coincide with the CSV format supported by GoDaddy's export, so you can open the CSV using a spreadsheet, delete all columns but the domain name and EPP code, open the CSV using a text editor, and copy/paste.

Note that you also have to disable domains-by-proxy (domain privacy) if you have it on any domains before they can be transferred.

gandi.net gives privacy protection for free.

Well, free in a sense, they charge $5+/year more than budget registrars.

This is also my understanding.

Which essentially means that you cannot transfer any domains out of GoDaddy without losing your anonymity.

Purchase third party whois privacy. Whois privacy costs nothing to run, it's just a company saying they own the domain on your behalf, this opens you up to domain theft though, I don't understand why people use it. Set up a PO Box somewhere and use that.

Set up a PO Box somewhere and use that.

Is it allowed to use a fictional name?

I am 99% sure the only requirement is any contact delivered makes it to you, so yes. The Registered Name Holder shall provide to Registrar accurate and reliable contact details and promptly correct and update them during the term of the Registered Name registration, including: the full name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and fax number if available of the Registered Name Holder; name of authorized person for contact purposes in the case of an Registered Name Holder that is an organization, association, or corporation; and the data elements listed in Subsections, and A Registered Name Holder's willful provision of inaccurate or unreliable information, its willful failure promptly to update information provided to Registrar, or its failure to respond for over fifteen (15) calendar days to inquiries by Registrar concerning the accuracy of contact details associated with the Registered Name Holder's registration shall constitute a material breach of the Registered Name Holder-registrar contract and be a basis for cancellation of the Registered Name registration.


From what I've seen (I have personally never done it, but know people that have), this is not typically enforced in any way, and you're probably fine entering completely fictional information for all of this stuff.


I knew a guy in college (super disreputable, FWIW, so I don't necessarily believe everything he said) who claimed that one of the first tricks up his sleeve when he was launching a new site was to file complaints about incorrect WHOIS data against all his competitors (and sometimes against random sites with useful keyword content and a bit of pagerank) and then pounce on the domains if they opened up so he could point them to his new site. He told me that often enough to be useful to him, people either failed to respond to the verification requests in time, or had actually provided false data, and he was able to either snatch their domains or at least cause some trouble.

So I probably wouldn't recommend messing around with phony data, better just to set up some contact info that you don't mind having out in the open.

This is awesome, everyone says to transfer, but most people won't because it's too much of a hassle. This helps alleviate that barrier. I've just tweeted this and will email my friends too. We nerds are a kind of multiplier effect. GoDaddy, you're days are numbered.

This is a great step by step guide for transferring domains. Exactly what I needed (I tried earlier and quickly got lost!)

I do have a question for anyone who could help: Can I transfer a domain which is set to expire in 2019? And, are there typically fees for transferring a domain?

A year is typically added to the expiration, it is not reset. There is a cost associated with transferring a domain. For namecheap it cost me $7.98/domain, with the coupon code SWITCH2NC to transfer.

found this also: use SOPASUCKS as coupon to transfer from goddady to namecheap

credit: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/godaddys_sopa_support_s...

It seems that the transfer adds a year thankfully and does not reset the clock

The only thing I would add is that a domain can never have more than 10 years on it. So if you created a domain today with a 10 year period and decided to transfer it in 3 months it wouldn't get a year added to it when you transferred. Note that the year is not actually added to the domain by the registrar. It's part of the way the system works for .com .net domains with Verisign which operates the backend for <b>all</b> registrars.

Nice. This is what I was worried about because I just renewed two domains with GD. I'm going to try to make time to do the transfer soon.

I'm not sure whether it was the HN posting, but it seems Tumblr is not coping with the amount of traffic. Whilst that isn't all that interesting, I just wanted to say kudos for having a link to charity on the error page:

  We're very sorry
  Our servers are over capacity and certain pages may be temporarily unavailable. 
  We're working quickly to resolve the issue.

  In the meantime, please consider donating to the Red Cross 
  to help those in Japan who are in need of support.
Unfortunately, the link provided is broken:


Anyone from Tumblr watching?

The site seems down for me, but Google has a cache:


It's down. I'm working on it...

It's a tumblr issue. At first, I thought it may have been GoDaddy revenge since the transfer is still not fully complete..

Its back up!

This review is really preventing me from going with namecheap... http://www.webhostingreviews.com/namecheap-reviews.htm

can someone advise?

I transferred all my domains to NameCheap after the elephant slaughter, and have had absolutely no issues.

Personally I'd like to hear NC's take on the incident before I pass judgement on that post, but if you're not comfortable with them, find another registrar that you are OK with. The whole point is that GoDaddy are bad, not that NameCheap are good.

Ditto, some nasty stuff there. Sounds akin to a typical godaddy experience.

For those looking for alternatives, it is worth noting MediaTemple's unofficial position on this topic: http://twitter.com/#!/demian_sellfors/status/149950134556426...

(Demian Sellfors is the CEO.)

The irony is that godaddy has the fastest transfer out I've ever experienced with almost realtime acks if your receiving registrar supports it.

(and I've used nearly a dozen registrars, not just resellers)

You can be out in under 4 hours, all depends on how fast the registry responds.

Thanks for the guide! I've got 21 domains at Godaddy and I've started transferring the inactive ones as a test. Once I've got a feel for the process I'll start moving the ones that have DNS entries with GoDaddy as well.

namecheap adds 1 year to your existing expiration date when you switch. Nothing to do on your part. No need to contact support with the question like I did.

FWIW, this is a common (and excellent!) practice. So no matter which registrar you transfer your domains to you should get an extra year added to your registration.

It's actually a requirement for gTLDs like com/net/org. When you transfer a domain the registry automatically extends the domain 1 year (or the minimum). If the registrar is charging for the transfer and the extension then you're being taken for a ride.

thanks for this, my godaddy domains were registered for 10 years, so this makes it easier to switch. i thought they only gave me 1 year from the transfer date.

Just transferred 40 domains off of GoDaddy using this. Thanks.

This is great and all but I don't really see a boycott as being such an effective solution.

The problem with boycotts is they are based on the following things:

1) The spending power of the boycotter. 2) The potential spend of the boycotter on the relevant service/product. 3) The amount of influence you have over others to boycott.

So whilst you can move your handful of personal domains that you were using for your hobby website or small startup elsewhere, the biggest spenders on domains I would imagine are going to be medium-large businesses.

These are much more cautious to join a boycott unless there is obvious PR benefit (e.g fairtrade or animal testing free products spring to mind) because they are beholden to shareholders and are generally conservative when it comes to changing suppliers unless there is a clear cost-benefit. The only people in the organization that are likely to care about this will be the techies who unless they are the CIO/CTO do not have the influence to affect domain purchasing decisions.

The conversation probably goes approximately like this:

Boss: Good day underling! Please secure us the following list of 100 domain names from the great godaddy, lord of the DNS!

Techie: But sir , we shouldn't use godaddy. There is an active boycott because of SOPA, how about company X instead?

Boss: What is this SOPA of which you speak?

Techie: explains SOPA

Boss: Damn hippies! I neither understand nor care for their plight, godaddy is cheaper and we already have an account with them. I know not of this company X, do they advertise at the superbowl?

Techie: but...

Boss: Please do as I command and grace godaddy with our pieces of silver.

Techie: enters company credit card details at godaddy.com

Great post. We're in the process of transferring 50+ domains from GoDaddy.

Our domain was registered through Google and they stuck it on GoDaddy. Working on getting it transferred safely. Nice post Jeff!

This is the straw that broke the camel's back. I just migrated my 44 domains to NameCheap.

Use the "sopasucks" discount code, it takes $1.99 off each .com domain. For some reason, .me transfers are much more expensive than .com transfers: $19.99 vs $8.98

I really wish I had a spare $754 ($681 with code) to transfer all my dumb domain names.

I used the opportunity to do some house cleaning. I had to quit being sentimental and be honest with myself about what I would _really_ use. Then I just let the ones I didn't want anymore stay with GoDaddy to eventually expire.

Just a warning - GoDaddy will automatically charge your credit card to renew current domains. You have to remove your payment information or delete the domains.

This isn't entirely accurate. GoDaddy has both auto-renewal and manual renewal. I'm not sure what the default is these days, but you can set your domains to manual renewal and let them expire. Be warned: you're going to get a ton of email notifications from GoDaddy as your expiration dates approach.

Thanks for that, didn't even realize you could delete domains before they expired. Just deleted 30 domains from godaddy that i had no intention of renewing.

Why not post them somewhere and transfer them to someone who might use them?

I've been wanting to move away from GoDaddy for awhile now. I only went to GoDaddy in the first place over 10 years ago because they were the cheapest place. Since then, their prices have risen, their interface has become horrible, their up-selling has become unbearable, and their TV advertisements annoy me.

I believe that their support of the SOPA could be looked at as their last straw for me. I'm planning on moving all of my domains on Dec 29 unless they change their stance on SOPA. However, even if they did change their stance I don't think it could really save me as a customer considering all of the other aforementioned issues.

How long does the transfer process take? Also, what about DNS configurations?

If my memory doesn't fail me, Namecheap gives the option to either keep the same nameservers or switch to Namecheap's nameservers.

Unless you host your DNS externally (and you have GoDaddy configured to use those), you will have to switch to Namecheap's nameservers and I believe reconfigure your records.

For a smooth transition, you could change your nameserver configuration on GoDaddy before transferring, and then have Namecheap keep the settings.

EDIT: Just noticed another commenter mention that you can export your zones from GoDaddy.

In my experience it took around 12-36 hours for the entire process with 30+ domains.

And nameservers will transfer.

Count me in for about 14 or so plus SSL certs and other fun.

What a windfall for Namecheap.

Just transfered out 34 domains. Thanks for the export instructions!

Quick tip, you can use the promo code 'switch2nc' to save a dollar off each transfer.

(I am not affiliated with namecheap, the promo code or anything related. I am just cheap :-p)

The tutorial took about 10 minutes to complete for my domains. I've been on the look out for an easy way to leave GoDaddy for a while now. Thank you!

Anyone familiar with any good registrars that support both .me and .it domains?

EDIT: gandi.net looks like the best bet if anyone else needs both .me and .it.

I'm so confused. How does GoDaddy dominate the domain market? I guess those Superbowl Dollars are in proper use...?

Huge believer of voting with your pocket. We have just submitted to have the last 247 GoDaddy domains transferred.

Just wrapped up drinks with a CTO of a large enterprise, he's feeling the vibe after a hearty SOPA chat and has committed to move their portfolio of over 1,700 domains off GoDaddy by year's end. Their expenditure is over 20K/year and with a discount code floating around here (thanks guys!), he's putting the savings into bonuses

Just transferred (recovered/save/gavelife) (well, just) 3 domains out of GoDaddy. Rest of my domains are gathering dust elsewhere, but I am happy that this marks the end of my relationship with the nasty GoDaddy. Best wishes to them with their skimpy dress ads on SupBowl!

Also, item of note for these instructions. GoDaddy auth codes sometimes contain commas, so they'll export as quoted values.

The domain,authcode trick in the bulk form doesn't work. Make sure to enter the unquoted auth codes for those domains in the cart during transfer.

So much good info here in the comments and in Jeff's post. I'll be moving my domains ASAP!

I just setup a tumblr for anyone interested, i'll keep count for those that want to submit: goodbyegodaddy.tumblr.com


GoDaddy will stay in business while ad syndicates continue to accept their money. Is there an ad syndicate that allows you to specifically black-list companies? Some kind of 'ethical ad' startup?

Don't for get to ask your credit card provider to reverse your GoDaddy Payment- the SOPA-enabled chargeback is the real nightmare for internet companies.

I need a similar guide for register.com I have one very old domain stuck there because I lost access to email address with which I registered there.

We'll be transferring ~30 domains later today.

couldn't access the link, but i noticed that godaddy puts a lock on domain transfers by default, after removing the lock, my current registrar, iwantmyname.com, asked for a $10 transfer fee. i'll probably wait until they catch onto the fact that there's a mass exodus from godaddy and give free transfers :)

Can someone please provide advice for SSL? I don't think it's as easy? Am I stuck for SSL?

You mean your cert? Technically, you don't need to transfer the cert -- nothing prevents two CAs from signing certificates for the same domain. You can just buy the cert from someone else and start using that.

I've been having trouble accessing this page for the last hour. Oh, tumblr.

6 domains for me.

I only have one domain =(

Transferring anyway :)

Thank you!


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