How to Register, Renew or Transfer a Domain

How are Domains Registered? How do I Register a Domain?

Domains are registered through a special type of service company called a "Domain Registrar" or Registrar for short. There are many different domain registrars in the world and these registrars are responsible for keeping track of who has registered or "owns" each domain, and where those domains point to on the Internet. It should be noted that "owning" a domain is a lot more like leasing, since you must pay for the domain each year to keep it registered to you and continue using it.

There are many different types of domains, and their technical name is called a Top Level Domain, or "TLD" for short. Examples of TLDs include: .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .media, etc. and it's important to note that not all domains are available to be registered through every registrar, as many TLDs are actually owned and controlled by different countries so they have various rules regarding who can register them, for how long, etc.

West County Media offers professional Domain Registration services.

How do I Renew my Domain's Registration?

The easiest way to renew your domain's registration is to renew it with the registrar you used to originally register the domain through, although transferring a domain from one registrar to another (for example moving a domain from GoDaddy to West County Media) will add another year to the domain's registration record as well.

Can I Transfer a Domain from one Registrar to another?

Yes. Domains can be transferred from one registrar to another (eg. GoDaddy, Register.com, or eNom, etc. to West County Media) as long as the correct procedure is followed.

There are a number of specific steps that must be followed in order to properly transfer a domain name, and the process is intentionally a multi-step process in order to prevent unauthorized domain transfers (ie. domain theft.)

For example, most domain registrars set a domain name's registar transfer status to "locked' by default to prevent the domain from being transferred out of the registrar's system.

While this practice does have the effect of helping registrars to retain domain registration customers (simply because of the level of technical understaning required to unlock and transfer out a domain) the main purpose of the domain locking/unlocking system is to prevent unwanted or unauthorized domain transfers.

There are also certain time restrictions on when a domain can be transferred, for example a domain cannot be transferred to another registrar within the first sixty (60) days after it's initial registration, or within sixty (60) days from it's renewal date, or change of registrant contact information, etc. Again, these restrictions are in place to help prevent unwanted or unauthorized domain transfers.

West County Media offers professional Domain Transfer services.

Steps to Transfer a Domain

If you want to transfer your domain to another registrar, you will first need to verify that your domain is "unlocked" meaning it is eligible to be transferred out. Again, most registrars set each domain's registrar transfer lock status to "locked" by default, so you will need to login to your customer account at your current domain registar and then manually "unlock" your domain before it can be transferred.

Once your domain has been successfully unlocked, you can request or locate your domain's Transfer Authorization Code (or EPP code as it's sometimes referred to.) Note that different registrars may refer to this special code number by different names, but essentially it is the "key" to transferring your domain name from one registrar to another.

And last but not least (actually it should be first and foremost) is that in order to successfully complete your domain transfer, you will absolutely need to have access to the email address associated with the Registrant, Administrative and/or Technical Contact section of your domain's registration record in the WHOIS database. This email address is required to be set by each domain owner when they first register a domain, so it will most likely be the email address that you used at the time when you first registered your domain name.

What's WHOIS?

WHOIS is the name of the database system(s) that stores domain regsitration information. It's sort of like the "White Pages" for domain registgrations. Each registrar maintains a WHOIS database, which is searchable by the public at large. Most registrars allow customers to keep their contact information private or "unlisted" in the WHOIS by utilizing a Private Registration service, which is generally offered as an optional upgrade during the registration and/or renewal process. Note that if you use Private Registration it is then critical for you to retain access to the email address used during the registration process in order to retain access to your account.

If you need help registering, transferring, or renewing a domain, just contact us and we'll be glad to help you get answers to any of your questions.

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