2022-06-28 / Websites & Domains

Change domain provider: move domain in 4 steps

by Sabrina Stein
Last edited on: 2023-06-30

Changing your domain provider can make sense for various reasons. In this article, you will learn which steps are important for a smooth domain transfer and which points you should pay attention to so that you are satisfied with the new provider.

You have had one or more domains with one provider for a long time and now want to use them in conjunction with the web hosting offer of another provider - perhaps because the "complete package" is then cheaper for you.

Or you have a website and the associated domain(s) with one provider and now want to switch to another provider because they are cheaper, offer better support or ensure better server availability.

These and other reasons can speak in favour of moving your domain.

There may be exactly one thing preventing you from making the long overdue switch: the expense!

Simple and fast provider change without unnecessary effort

With the right strategy and if you avoid a few pitfalls, the domain provider change will succeed in a short time and with little effort. With our tips, you can avoid unnecessary costs.

We will deal with both scenarios and describe the corresponding procedure, i.e.

a) the pure domain change and

b) the website move to a new provider.

For the second case, the steps listed in the first case often have to be carried out first, since in most cases the domain moves with the website.

What is the general procedure for a domain transfer?

Switching to a new provider always follows the same principle, which DENIC - the central registry and operator for .de domains - also describes on its website.

Here we describe the procedure and give you useful tips from practice - because we know what is important to domain holders and what you should pay attention to.

Step 1 - Before the domain transfer: Select the new provider that is right for you.

To ensure that the domain transfer and the change of provider also brings you a long-term advantage, this could even be the most important step of all. For this purpose, it is important to consider once again exactly which points with the old provider did not meet your expectations or else - what is particularly important to you.

This could be:

  • a competent and fast service & support
  • high availability of the servers (reliability) and thus also of your projects and website(s)
  • a good performance of the servers, i.e. very good loading times
  • etc.

You do not yet know what is important? On our blog you can find out how to find a good hoster.

Step 2 - Find the right time for the domain transfer and cancel it

In the second step of the domain transfer, you cancel the domain with your current provider. It is important to take the cancellation periods into account when planning your domain transfer so that no unnecessary costs are incurred due to a possible overlap of the terms.

  • It is best to take your contract documents out of the (digital) drawer now and check the notice periods.
  • Of course, the domain provider must also give you information about your contract data for the domain! In case of doubt, a phone call or a ticket to the current provider will suffice.
  • Since 1 July 2022, you can in many cases terminate your contract directly online.

Step 3: Request domain from the old provider

At the same time, you must request the authentication code (Auth Code or Auth Info) for your domain from the previous provider. This will ensure that everything runs smoothly. The code is mandatory if you want to move your domain to another provider.

  • As a rule, you will have to fill out a form with your current provider.
  • Your provider will then have to request the Auth Code for you from the responsible registry (e.g. DENIC).

What is the Auth Code and where can I find it?

The Auth Code is a unique code, i.e. "key", with which the owner of a domain can request a domain change from a new provider. The new provider is then allowed to carry out the change. Without the AuthCode, which consists of at least 6 numbers and letters, a domain transfer cannot be carried out completely.

Step 4: Registering the domain for the move with the new provider

Registering with the new provider is easier than you would probably expect! You don't have to submit metres of forms. Usually, a visit to the website and a simple order process is enough:

  • Search for the domain as the desired domain in the domain provider's search field - just like a "normal" order.
  • Of course, your domain will then be displayed as occupied - after all, it belongs to you and should not simply be available to anyone else. You then have the option of clicking on "move" or a similar button.
  • Now you need your Auth-Code! Enter this as a "key" in the ordering process and complete this process. That's it! Domain successfully moved! You have changed the provider!
  • The provider only has to confirm the order for this. The new provider to whom you wish to transfer your domain will then contact the former provider and clarify everything that is still necessary for the domain transfer for you.
  • From this point on, the costs will be billed by the new provider.

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Move website: How your data can also change providers

The fact that you are moving the domain does not mean that your data will automatically move with it! When a domain is moved, only the domain is moved!

If you ignore this point, your website and e-mail data may simply have disappeared after the provider change. - Because as soon as you have cancelled the server with the old provider, it and the data on it are no longer available.

This includes, for example, the installed content management system and all data or databases that belong to your website. Even e-mail messages are not simply taken over with the domain, but must be transferred.

This means: even before the server or the previously rented web space is no longer available to you, you must back up and transfer all data!

How to prevent your website data from being deleted

So if website data is also to be moved, it must be ensured that it is moved securely and completely from the old provider's server to the new provider's server. What do you have to do for this? There are several options.

Variant 1: Have website data moved by the provider

In principle, the backup and transfer of data is your responsibility. However, hosting providers also offer website transfer for you. You instruct the new hosting provider to move the data for you.

There are often corresponding relocation offers for this or there are so-called "remote hands" fees for you. The advantage is that the experienced professional will of course carry out the move quickly and competently. During this time you can take care of other tasks.

2nd variant: Move website data yourself

You carry out the data move yourself by backing up the data from the "old" web space on another medium and then transferring it to the new web space or directly using the web space at your new provider for this purpose.

With the help of suitable procedures such as an FTP transfer, you can transfer the data from the old storage to the new one.

It is important that you choose one of these ways and implement it before the old contract expires. After that, you will no longer have access to your data.

Incidentally, it always makes sense to make a data backup regularly - even if there is no imminent move. Find out here why backups are so important.

So your e-mails don't disappear into nirvana

It is important that you also back up your e-mails before the move. Furthermore, the e-mail boxes must be set up again with the new provider so that everything works as usual again.

E-mails sent to you after the "old mailbox" has been closed will not be lost. They will reach you after the mailboxes are available again.

During the changeover process, it may make sense to temporarily set up a redirection of the e-mails to the new server so as not to miss any mails. Ask your provider for advice on this!

You should also consider the following if you want to change providers

To ensure that you don't stumble across any pitfalls during your domain provider change, here are a few more tips that are important in our experience:

What to consider when moving international domains

With a .de domain, the transfer usually takes place in real time. With an international domain, however, this can take up to 10 days. It is therefore important to plan the domain transfer accordingly if, for example, your website is to be with the new provider by a certain date.

Why it can make sense to order domain and web hosting from the same provider

The domain does not have to be with the same provider as the web space. However, in many cases it makes sense because of the package prices. A web hosting package is often cheaper than a web space and a domain separately.

How to move several domains at the same time

If you want to move several domains, you also proceed as with a simple order. The only thing to note is that all auth codes must be available.

Do you have any questions about the domain transfer? Then please contact us directly.

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