How to transfer a domain name?
March 23, 2010 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend whose former boyfriend registered a domain and set up a site for her. I'd like to transfer the domain to her so I can change the DNS settings and move her to Google Apps. The registrar appears to be I've sent several e-mails to the boyfriend and he responds that he's busy, etc. What can I do to get the domain in her name? He seems to have no problem with transferring the domain, he's just making it difficult and refuses to do anything.

I have no idea how to transfer domain ownership. Am I entirely dependent on him? Going through the site it appears that the most convenient way to transfer this is for him to log in, and initiate the transfer process.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to go to a registrar and ask the domain be transferred and they then contact him to verify this. Is something like this possible? He just seems intent on doing as little as possible to facilitate this, but not actually opposing it. At this point it seems unlikely he'd go to the site and transfer himself, but I'm sure if he was contacted he'd consent to the transfer.

Some back story: The site and e-mail were all run off a VPS he controlled. Apparently he was big into reading her mail and other creepy stuff. She payed him for all the expenses incurred, and continues to, so there's a nice paper trail. She doesn't want/have the money to pay a lawyer to send a nasty letter, she would really like to keep the domain name.

She's completely computer illiterate, and so this whole ordeal has been a source of anxiety for her. I've never transferred a domain name, so I'm sort of stumped as to what my options are.
posted by geoff. to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Typically, the registrant (ex) will need to request a transfer code from the registrar (Enom). This is not an atypical story, unfortunately; you might contact Enom and find out what proof they would require or accept, if any, in order to release the transfer code and therefore the domain.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:32 PM on March 23, 2010

You should be able to go to a registrar ( for example) and request a transfer, but you normally need an authorization code to make the request.

Maybe you can contact the current registrar and see if they have an alternate way to transfer the domain, but chances are you'll have to get the ex-boyfriend to give you the authorization code. Maybe you can get the necessary steps to get the authorization code and send it to him, that way he can't say he doesn't want to figure it out on his own, or make another excuse.
posted by backwards guitar at 12:32 PM on March 23, 2010

I had a situation like this recently.

Unfortunately, I think that you are dependent on this guy.

What worked for me was to email him the exact steps that he needed to do. The "old" registry was godaddy and I searched for something like "godaddy transfer registration instructions". Even with that, I had to nag him a bunch.

The tough thing about domains is that possession is ownership. Unless there's some way that you can prove to the registrar that she owns the domain, you have to go through the guy.

Here's a link to some instructions:

Doing a quick look over enom's website doesn't show me anything suitable. You may be able to find it by contacting support or looking more thoroughly on their site.
posted by reddot at 12:39 PM on March 23, 2010

Ugh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's not an unusual story, sad to say. You are indeed dependent on him, if only to say "sure whatever" when the registrar contacts him. If he's going to be a bitchy little arrogant bastard (like he's being), then you could be in for months of this power-tripping on his part.

How attached is she to the domain name itself? Because let me tell you, it will be a lot easier for her to just register a new domain name, then put up the HTML files from her old website. You can register a domain with or any other registrar for like $15, and have it up and running within 24 hours.

(If she balks, try pitching it as "Making a clean break from the past"!)
posted by ErikaB at 12:49 PM on March 23, 2010

It's up to him. Legal stuff - - basically "you all settle it then we get involved".

If this is the only site he's hosting through this registrar, he should be able to send you the account information (username/password) for it and you can do the transfer yourself.
posted by anti social order at 1:20 PM on March 23, 2010

Thanks all!

Once you start the transfer process it is a lot less opaque. I went through GoDaddy and they require you to pay up front. A little counter intuitive that you enter the domain and pay before the transfer begins, but I understand why they do it.

When you go through all the steps you eventually get to the "Waiting for accept / deny," where they send an e-mail to the administrative contact listed in the whois. They even provide a PDF for instructions on what each registrar requires to complete the process, which was exactly what I was looking for.

I assumed that this sort of thing was common and it looks like the transfer process is built around making it as easy as possible for the registrant to allow the transfer. The ball is in his court still, but this is pretty much the best possible solution as it requires the least amount of work for him.

It looks like I can also "re-request" and all sorts of things so if he lets this go I can keep on nagging him without having to start the process over again.
posted by geoff. at 1:37 PM on March 23, 2010

In my experience, you are dependent on the ex, yes. The couple times I've dealt with similar situations with clients, they had to acquire an authorization code which would only be given to the owner of the domain, which they established through a faxed copy of his/her photo id.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:38 PM on March 23, 2010

There's no way for you to do it without him. The authorization code is required to complete the transfer. Also, domains are often "locked" when they are registered and would have to unlock it before it could be transferred. You can rerequest all you want from godaddy, but until he takes action, nothing is going to happen.
posted by Kimberly at 2:47 PM on March 23, 2010

Right, if he kicked in the extra few bucks to have a private/proxy registration, he first needs to remove the proxy, or verify his identity to the registrar, then assign an access code, which he will need to give you in order to complete the transfer.

If the whois data is obscured, or out of date, he won't even be getting the "nag" emails from you, and it takes 3 days to try an transfer again.

I'd give the guy the finger, and buy the domain one letter off or a different TLD, and set up site forwarding.

Funnily enough, I'm also currently involved in transferring a domain for the exact same reason: getting the Google Apps.
posted by fontophilic at 8:26 PM on March 23, 2010

Ugh, I lost an awesome domain this way once... it can be a real pain. I'd save all your files and set up site forwarding to another domain while you still can, just in case he goes from apathy to antagonism.
posted by indienial at 5:46 PM on March 26, 2010

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