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Will transferring a domain name to a new host cause downtime at all on the domain?

It's the highest traffic time of the year for us but we really want to keep things moving and need to migrate hosts because our current host charges per subdomain. It's imortant we get this subdomain up and running in the next few weeks, so I'm wondering what kind of down time (if any) we should expect migrating the registrar.

It doesn't seem like it would...

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

When transferring domains to another registrar, to avoid any downtime the things to consider are:

  • Will the web hosting account or server change too:

If so, then you'll need to upload all of your content and data there so both match and the new hosting will transparently pick up from your old hosting.

  • Who's DNS servers are you using:

Major registrars provide DNS service for free for their customers, and if you don't specify custom DNS servers during registration or sometime afterwards, then likely you're using their DNS servers. If you're not changing your web hosting, then the DNS records should be transferred to the new register. To confirm this, check with their support team.

If you're using custom DNS servers or a third-party DNS service, then nothing will change as neither registrar is involved in that case.

If you created custom nameservers (often referred to as "Vanity Nameservers") with your registrar (e.g., ns1.yourdomain.com and ns2.yourdomain.com) using their DNS service, then these would map to their IP addresses. This will likely present a problem during the transfer.

In this case, you must create the custom nameservers with the new registrar's DNS service so they point to their IP's instead.

You can view the nameservers and which registrar they correspond to for your domain here: Internic's WHOIS

First look up the hosts for your domain name by doing a Domain search there. Look at the results it returns for Name Server. Typically this looks like: ns1.domain.com If your domain doesn't appear in this, then you're likely not using custom nameservers. If it does, then look at the Registrar field. If this corresponds to your old registrar, then you will need to update the IP addresses of your custom name servers to the IP addresses of your new registrar.

In this case, I recommend contacting the new registrar for assistance in creating custom nameservers, or review their FAQ's and knowledge-base. It's vital that you have this updated or visitors may not be able to reach your site. For an example of this, please see this question and my answer and comments there: Only I can access my hosted website!

If you follow the above, then if there are any changes to your DNS records, the new information should propagate within 24-72 hours. If you're changing web hosts, then leave the old one up for at least a week or more just to be on the safe-side, so that visitors will be directed to either web host containing the same content. Websites with frequently changing data may want to plan to mirror the two accounts/servers so both are current during the transfer (advanced).

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Assuming the DNS settings transfer with the domain name (and they should) there will be no downtime. Just ask the receiving registrar if they automatically reset the DNS. If for some reason they do, just change those settings as soon as the transfer goes through.

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Basically no downtime at all if new registrar get the old dns settings. The best way to change it in off-peak time of your website. Such as mid-night if its specific to one country.

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NO. It will not cause any downtime.

Little explanation: The answer is NO because most likely the DNSs are not changed among different registrars.

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A definitive "NO" leaves out a lot of possibilities. Managing thousands of domains, I've seen too many problems arise to count. –  dan Jun 5 '13 at 7:25

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