Domain Names – Registrar Transfer versus NameServer Change

ICANN domain transfer policies have changed as of 1 December 2016. Updates to whois information are considered a change of ownership and may warrant a 60-day transfer lock.

There is often confusion with the term “transfer” when it applies to domain names. Most people are actually looking to perform a nameserver change to point the domain correctly, usually after changing hosts, and this is an entirely different process from performing a registrar transfer.

Changing Nameservers:

You can change nameservers by merely logging into your current registrar account and replacing the existing nameservers with your host nameserver, in our case:

ns1.inmotionhosting.com – IP address: 74.124.210.242
ns2.inmotionhosting.com – IP address: 70.39.150.2

Pointing the nameservers will only point the domain to where the DNS is located. The DNS can be pointed from our server to other services like Google or Weebly. By default, updating the nameservers to ours will point your domain to our server where your website and email files are located. To learn more about DNS see our article on Updating your domain’s dns / nameservers. For more information on updating your nameservers, please see DNS and Nameserver Changes.

What is a Registrar?

Domains must be registered with a company that holds the domain ownership and domain information (WHOIS). This company that holds the domain is called the Registrar. There are many registrars out there (Namecheap, Network Solutions, etc.). We use OpenSRS for our registrar at InMotion Hosting.

Do I need a Registrar transfer?

You only need a registrar transfer if you wish to have InMotion Hosting be the registration service managing the domain. This would mean we bill the domain renewal to you, and you will be able to access the domain maintenence tool for your domain through our website.

Registrar transfers cost $11.99, and they extend the current expiration date for one year automatically.

Should you wish to have IMH initiate a registrar transfer, please read this article for additional information on transferring your domain name in AMP.

Additional Notes:

  1. Make sure the nameservers have been pointed to your account prior to requesting a registrar transfer
  2. Make sure the domain is unlocked with the old registrar prior to making the request. We ususally recommend at least 12 hours prior to ensure all services are seeing the “unlocked” status of your domain
  3. Make sure you have access to the administrative email address for your domain prior to making the request.

Once you request a registrar transfer from IMH, we’ll bill you for $11.99 and initiate the process. You will then receive an email at the administrative email address requesting your consent or authorization for the transfer.

After you approve the transfer, it will complete in 1 to 7 days, depending on the response from the old, or losing, registrar.

Thoughts on “Domain Names – Registrar Transfer versus NameServer Change

  • Hi,

    I want to transfer my domain registrar from my previous host 1and1/ionos to Inmotion and been trying to point the name servers to Inmotion before the transfer, but I keep getting an error message from ionos: 

    Your domain is currently connected to application. This connection can not be reset. If you no longer want to use the domain with the application, you must separate the domain from the application in the settings.

    Now, I checked in their apps to see if my domain is still linked to their app, wordpress, and it is not listed as being linked to wordpress. After my site was migrated to Inmotion, I went into my ionos account and uninstalled wordpress and deleted my website connected to my domain. Still, I get this error when trying to point the name server to inmotion.

    I’ve been trying to contact ionos for two weeks, email, chat, phone, and they do not respond. What to do in this instance? How do I transfer my domain registrar to you guys ithout being able to change the name servers?

    Thank you!

    • We regret the difficulties you’re having, but we’re unable to provide support for a third-party host. Without being able to point nameserver information to us, there’s nothing we can do. I’d advise continuing to try contacting 1&1 Ionos until they’re able to help you update the nameserver information.

  • Hi, Inmotionhosting

    why must we “Make sure the nameservers have been pointed to your account prior to requesting a registrar transfer“?

    can I not change the nameserver after it’s transferred, knowning it’s websiteless.

    Thanks, hope to hear from you soon.

    • You can change the nameservers at any time. We only recommend changing before the transfer in case there is a delay during the transfer process.

  • I have a total of four domains, one of which is our dedicated domain where customers go to place orders, etc.  Two of the domains POINT to this dedicated domain.  The fourth domain is used strictly for advertising.

    Question:  would I go about moving EACH of these to InMotion from the current host where I turn the privacy off and request an authorization code? 

    • Once you have your authorization code you can login to your AMP and click transfer domain to transfer it over.

    • You can definitely transfer your domain to us. But it seems like Lycos/Tripod pages cannot be exported, and transferred to other companies. But, once you are hosted with us I recommend using BoldGrid, which will help you build your WordPress based site. This is beneficial, because going forward, you can keep your website and host it with any major host.

      Thank you,
      John-Paul

  • Hello, I want to transfer a domain in a third level from my country, .com.gt, dont transfer really, just pointing to your dns, that is total valid right?? I still paying to my registrar here in Guatemala, when I point it how can I manage??

  • I’ll admit it, I’m confused 🙂

    I’m looking for information to present to my church pastor about changing from one host provider to Inmotion. We will want to keep our current URL (domain name?) if and when we transfer to Inmotion. My question is pretty much: Should I ask for a registrar or a NameServer Change? Also, will the $11.99 cover transferring from one host provider to Inmotion?

    • The decision of when to transfer or if to transfer depends on how you want to manage your accounts later. For some customers it’s more convenient to have the domain and hosting in the same account. Whichever you decide (or in what order) make sure the Nameservers are pointed to the desired location before starting the domain transfer.

      The $11.99 transfer fee is charged whenever a domain is transferred to us, but you get an extra year of registration. (There is a $25.00 fee added to the domain transfer fee if you use our Domain Concierge service, which involves us transferring the domain for you.)

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