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I've been with a hosting company for 10+ years. However, the last year has been poor service. So, I've decided to move on.

Back when I first created the website, I purchased the domain from a domain registrar. I still have it that way and I want to keep it that way.

I've researched several web hosting companies, then have finally chosen one. This weekend I have been trying to migrate to the new hosting company, which has been featured on top 10 lists for 2023. I have told them repeatedly that I own the domain name through a domain registrar. They have told me that I must unlock the domain name and whois privacy, then share the EPP code with them. I've shared the EPP code with them but won't unlock the domain name nor the whois privacy. I do not see why they think it should be necessary that I do this. It seems to me that they want to register the domain name and keep control of it. I renewed ownership of the domain a few weeks back and have no intention of giving it to anyone else. I've reached a stalemate with both the sales and tech people. They both insist that I must unlock the domain name and whois privacy.

I have tried to find proof that it is not necessary for a hosting company to register a domain, but haven't been successful. The best I've found is this link on Godaddy's website where in the "What do you need for hosting migration?" it says:

  1. A domain name from your previous host. If you want to move your domain name to another host, but don’t already own it, you’ll need to buy a domain from a domain registrar first.

(Like I've said, I already own the domain.) It doesn't outright say, "The second web hosting company does not need to register your domain", but it seems very like it implies that.

So, what I want to know is why would a new hosting company require me to unlock the domain name and whois privacy, to migrate my web site to their servers? I've asked this question of them, but they do not answer. I'm wondering if there's a language issue, as I don't think English is their first language.

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    If this is your new hosting company demanding the EPP code etc, I would run a mile from them. They are behaving unethically and I wouldn't trust them to be acting in my best interests. FWIW - I own a web hosting business, so know about this stuff. This is an opinion based question so I am voting to close it.
    – Steve
    May 21, 2023 at 23:40
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    @Rod Registered owners of domains are free to point them to any host they chose to simply by changing the IP address in the A record of their DNS to point to the IP address of the hosting account they've setup with the new host. There is no legitimate reason to have to transfer the domain name to the new host, or share your EPP code or unlock the domain first - doing so could jeopardize your registration of that domain. "Top 10" lists are often highly subjective and/or simply fabricated for affiliate and self-promotional purposes.
    – dan
    May 22, 2023 at 1:33
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    I'd suggest just moving on to a new reputable host. It's not possible to recommend them here, but you can ask for feedback in our chat room.
    – dan
    May 22, 2023 at 1:35
  • Thank you, Steve and Dan. Good information here. I'm disappointed that the new hosting company was listed on a top 10. I appreciate your not recommending any other hosting company here. It might be best that I not mention the company I was thinking of going to.
    – Rod
    May 22, 2023 at 23:26

1 Answer 1

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It is very unusual for a web host to insist on becoming your domain registrar. Some hosting companies also offer domain registration and can bundle service for registration, DNS hosting, and web hosting into one convenient package. However, I've never heard of a company that will only offer web hosting service if they are also your domain registrar. Like you, I would be wary of transferring a domain to this hosting company.

In addition to transferring the registration, there are two other methods that could be used to point your domain at your web host. You could try asking "I'm happy with my domain registrar and I don't want to transfer the domain. Can I instead change the NS records to point to your DNS servers? Or can I get the IP address of your web server to set an A record myself?"

Change NS records

At your domain registrar, you could change your NS records to point to the name servers provided by your web host. This is usually between two and four records like:

  • ns1.hostingcompany.example
  • ns2.hostingcompany.example
  • ...

Then your web hosting company becomes your DNS host as well. That allows their system to automatically add and change DNS records as needed.

If you have existing records that you want to preserve, such as MX records for email hosting, you will need to make sure you copy them over to your web host's DNS.

Change A, AAAA, and CNAME records

You could change records at your current DNS host to point to the web server of your web host.

  • If your web host gives you an IP address, set it in an A record.
  • If your web host gives you an IPv6 address, set it in an AAAA record.
  • If your web host gives you a host name, set it in an CNAME record.

You would need to create records for both the bare domain and the www subdomain. CNAME records cannot be used for the bare domain.

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  • Thank you very much, Stephen, for this excellent answer and response.
    – Rod
    May 22, 2023 at 23:27

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