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The keyword here is completely. I'd like to move a domain purchased at AWS to Whois.com, partly for convenience and partly to get away from AWS. But I'd think twice about moving it if I have to log into AWS at all in the future.

I recall reading about the complications of moving domains-that you can move a domain, but it always belongs to the original registrar where you bought your domain. So please set me straight on this.

PS: In light of the answers below, I updated my question.

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    The term is transfer a domain, and you can do that from any registrar in which you are the registered contact for the domain. For Amazon see this.
    – dan
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 1:33
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    I know whois as the directory of domain contact and ownership records. Is there a registrar that is named that? Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 1:42
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    "Is there a registrar that is named that? ". There is one accredited as "Whois Corp.": whois.co.kr through icann.org/en/… Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:31
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    In light of Patrick's comment, which registrar specifically are you planning to transfer to? The "WHOIS" part of my answer may be wrong if you are trying to transfer your domain to a company that is literally named "WHOIS", after the WHOIS tool. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 5:57

2 Answers 2

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Yes, you can completely divorce yourself from AWS. I am unclear where you read that a domain name "always belongs to the original registrar where you bought your domain." - This is largely or totally false, and has been for almost as long as I can remember.

Once you have the Auth code (or EPP code/UDAI or equivalent) and the domain has been unlocked at the registrar, you can transfer the domain between registrars - the only catch is for many domains you need to extend the renewal out by a year. [ This is true for .com, .net and .org ]

ICANN is the authority body governing .com domains and has this to say - It is your right to transfer your domain name registrations between registrars.

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AWS Route 53 is a domain registrar[1], a company that is hooked into the greater domain name system and has a license to sell domain names to their customers and hold them in the customer's name.

To move your domain to Whois.com from AWS Route53, you can follow AWS Route53's outgoing domain transfer instructions and Whois.com's incoming domain transfer instructions.

I recall reading about the complications of moving domains-that you can move a domain, but it always belongs to the original registrar where you bought your domain.

This is not the case as stated. You can pick up your domain and transfer it cleanly to a new registrar. After the domain transfer is finalized, you can forget about your account at your old registrar, it no longer has any claim over or involvement with the domain name.

After you make the transfer, don't forget to update your DNS provider if necessary by changing your domain's NS records.

[1]: See comments

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    "AWS Route 53 is a domain registrar". No. It is a DNS provider primarily. "Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service. " at aws.amazon.com/route53 ; Amazon registrar accredited by ICANN is called... "Amazon Registrar, Inc.", IANA id 468 Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:32
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    "WHOIS is not a company" Unfortunately there is a registrar accredited by ICANN under the name "Whois Corp.", see my comment above. Confusing indeed. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:33
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    I do believe it is important to be very specific on who is the DNS provider and who is the registrar, because feelings like "but it always belongs to the original registrar where you bought your domain. " may be directly related to not clearly understanding the difference between the two. Other than that, "AWS" in the question is neither the brand name of a registrar or of a DNS provider, hence for me the need to be crystal clear on terminology. I still prefer to say that Amazon is a registrar and Route 53 is a DNS service, it seems more correct to me than saying that Route 53 is a registrar. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 6:42
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    @YCode It would be 100% faster and simpler if you edit your question to put the name involved. Then everyone can clearly see who is the registrar and who is the DNS provider, and then people can give you adequate advices based on that. Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 19:03
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    @YCode I've edited my answer to put all the pieces together. Hopefully it's helpful. Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 21:23

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