How to transfer your domain name

GoDaddy may have dropped its support for SOPA, but Jason Kottke points out that there are many other reasons to give it a wide berth. At Macworld, Glenn Fleishman (previously) posts a fat guide to the technical ins and outs of transferring domains, with special attention given to getting them out of one particular registrar. Do the shame walk while it's hot!


  1. Yay, just did it! Easier than I thought… Oh and I used the SOPA discount on I feel a little less evil now.

    1. Covered with some detail in the article. I explain how you can tease apart domain registration, DNS hosting, email hosting, and Web hosting, and plan for a transition if you’re switching all or most of that at once. (I’m guessing you did not read it?)

      1. Hmm, I must have landed on a different page which only talked about moving the domain name.

        Update: Yeah, I landed on Jason Kottke’s link, which led me to a page on the “Livin’ the Dream” blog which only talked about domain transfer. Hence my ??? moment.

    2. It’s not too bad.  Stuff on servers are just stuff on hard drives.  You download the files to your computer in folders and then reupload them to another webhost’s servers.  Directories are just fancy nerd-speak for folders on servers.

      If you’re running some CGI forms, etc. some will work on any platform.  If you’re using Godaddy’s CGI forms, it’s trivial to use someone else’s when you move to the new webhost.

      Forms are pretty standard code that works anywhere.  Very little has to be changed for them to work on a different server (usually). If you’ve set up really advanced CMS, databases, etc. and other stuff like that — you probably already aren’t using Godaddy anyway and if you are, you’ll know how to move everything.

      A minor inconvenience for the great payoff of not using a company like Godaddy that hates average American citizens enough to support SOPA, etc.

      1. Use a program like Panic’s Transmit, and you just copy between two remote systems without having to download at all. (There are many, many FTP/SFTP/S3/WebDAV file-management programs, yes.)

        1. That’s very true, Glenn, but Transmit isn’t free and it’s Mac only.  I’ve been using Transmit myself once it finally got (almost) as fast and reliable as YummyFTP.  Transmit’s GUI has always been the better choice though.

          FileZilla on Windows (and Mac) is free (donationware) and can do it too, I think.

          1. Why does software need to be free? I’m glad there are free alternatives, but Transmit is a terrific piece of code that I’m happy to pay the small company that makes it to use.

          2. Why does software need to be free?

            Er, it doesn’t.  My posts have been in context of the post I was replying to in which Robert was saying “there’s a bunch of extra steps to take”.

            I was pointing out that it’s not a big deal.  Paying for software is yet another step to take that’s not absolutely necessary.  And, once again, don’t forget that Transmit is Mac only.

            I’m happy to pay the small company that makes it to use.

            And, also please keep in mind that donationware like FileZilla pays people too.

            So ya know… I’ve donated to FileZilla because I’ve installed it for various clients on Windows. I’ve paid for Transmit because I use it myself.

            Someone who just needs to use FTP on rare occasions might not really need Transmit (as great as it is). Plus, once again, it’s Mac-only .

  2. “Okay, okay, I know we try to have an outlaw libertarian image with the killing endangered animals & objectifying women, but they found out that really we’re a bunch of oppressive stooges willing to lick the boots of any authority figure.  But hey, if you catch us we’ll take it back!”  Yeah, those guys– go ahead everybody & move your domain name, it is probably a good idea.

  3. I made the switch after the elephant killing incident, but really GoDaddy’s service just sucks. It’s overly complicated and difficult to navigate and manage your domains and services. And it’s not any cheaper than other providers from what I can tell. I switched to and have been very happy.

  4. Yes, GoDaddy publicly renounced its support of SOPA, but that’s no indication that the GoDaddy executives saw the light and had a change of heart!  No, it’s more an emergency marketing strategy to try to stem the flow of people leaving.

    1. Right… I think this statement says it all:

      [emphasis mine]

      After backlash from customers, Go Daddy announced Friday that it is no longer supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act.

      Godaddy obviously STILL supports SOPA; They’re just hoping we’re stupid enough to believe they don’t now because of their public relations drivel.

      How about this, Godaddy?  Give a huge percentage of your profits to the EFF right NOW.

      Then maybe you’ll get on the path to redemption.

          1. That’s a very nice summary of its current weasel words They got a remarkable amount of “no longer supports SOPA” coverage when, it turns out, they helped draft it, and will support it in the future when it’s changed in unspecified ways, and will support future copyright-holder-favoring bills that break the Internet.

  5. It’s too late for GoDaddy, but boycotting just GoDaddy is a bit weak.  What we need is a browser plugin that automatically avoids domains registered with GoDaddy.

    1. That seems like a great idea, and might possibly be very effective.

      But… isn’t it censoring the internet to punish people who want to censor the internet?  And who exactly would use such a plugin?  I can’t imagine too many people saying “I’m really against internet censorship, so I’ll install this addon that censors my experience of the internet!  Yeah, that’ll show em!”

      Personally, I’d think it was cool if this plugin existed, but I’d never use it myself, because what if I need some info from a site that happens to be hosted on one of their servers?

      Maybe it would be better to have a plugin that alerts you to the fact that a site you are browsing is on Go Daddy, then allows you to send a polite email to the site owner informing them that they are tacitly supporting SOPA by using GoDaddy.

    2. I think I’d rather have the plugin just inform me that the site is hosted by Godaddy and then I can choose to email the site owner to let them know that their usage of Godaddy gives me a negative feeling about using their products or services.

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