9 Reasons Why Your Domain Transfer May Be Rejected

Talk around the web the past couple days has continued to be about GoDaddy, with many continuing to boycott them and transfer their domains out. Across social media in the past day, there have been accounts of domain transfers out of GoDaddy being unilaterally rejected and/or indicating written confirmation.

The latter may have spread from a Reddit post yesterday about GoDaddy requiring written authorization for domain transfers. The thread starter has since removed their post, realizing they were misinformed.

That doesn’t necessarily mean GoDaddy hasn’t been doing anything new to try and slow out – there have also been reports of whois inquiries on GoDaddy domains from other registrars being blocked. However, from what I’ve seen, the domain transfer complaints have been about policies already in place for many years, most of them not just at GoDaddy but at all registrars.

What are the reasons your domain transfer may be rejected?

1. The domain is locked

First and foremost, to transfer a domain out, it needs to be unlocked in the current account it’s in. Domain locking is generally defaulted to “on” to help make sure unexpected domain transfer requests get rejected. Some registrars like Moniker combine unlocking the domain and providing the authorization code on it through a “transfer out” process.

Note that even when a domain is locked, many registrars will still allow a domain transfer to go through. You would then get an error indicating the domain is locked and either receive an immediate refund or an indication that the transfer will be retried in a few days, giving you time to get the domain unlocked.

2. The authorization code provided in the domain transfer was incorrect

This doesn’t tend to come up that often as authorization codes usually get copied and pasted directly where needed. That said, it’s an error you should be aware of that can come up.

Additionally, registrars can have glitches where the authorization code provided by them does not match what’s actually in their backend system. If you receive an authorization code error and you’re absolutely sure the correct code was put in, contact support at the registrar the domain is currently registered at.

3. The domain has been registered or transferred within the past 60 days

.com, .net, .org and most other major extensions institute a 60-day lock on newly registered or recently transferred domains in efforts to curb domain theft. Registrars don’t prevent you from unlocking the domain and receiving the auth code, nor do they prevent domain transfers from being ordered on the domain. Many people wishing to boycotting GoDaddy have been running into this 60-day lock, but it is across all registrars, not merely specific ones.

4. (GoDaddy only) The listed registrant on the domain has been changed within the past 60 days

Here is another issue many people boycotting GoDaddy have been facing, which is a GoDaddy-specific policy but one that has been in place for years. If the registrant name is changed in the whois details, GoDaddy has you confirm that you are aware the domain will not be transferable for 60 days before proceeding.

If you complete the change and then attempt to transfer the domain out out during that period, the transfer will be rejected. Unfortunately there is no recourse or ability to get these transfer locks removed – you’ll simply have to wait until 61 days after you’ve made the whois change.

5. The domain has private registration active

The policy behind this is an old one and not limited to GoDaddy, but this is believed to be the cause behind the Reddit thread. This GoDaddy support forum post describes the error received when whois privacy is turned on on the domain. If you have private registration but the privacy is turned off, then a transfer should have no issues.

Note that it may take some hours before you can transfer the domain if you’ve just turned off the whois privacy as the registrar’s system can take time to update those settings.

6. The domain is expired

Most registrars do not allow transfers of a domain after it it past the expiration date – even if it can still be renewed. Usually, registrars that don’t allow it won’t give the authorization code or allow unlocking of the domain if the domain is expired, but some do. Once the domain has been renewed, the transfer can proceed.

7. (GoDaddy, Moniker, Name.com and a few others) The initial transfer confirmation was not completed

Some registrars (most notably GoDaddy.com, Moniker.com and Name.com) add an additional transfer confirmation step once the domain transfer has been ordered. If that process is not completed, the transfer will not proceed.

Note that the transfer confirmation emails always go to the registrant email address, so if you are buying a domain, the seller would receive that email and may need to forward it to you to complete.

8. The transfer was not approved

If there are no other inherent issues preventing the transfer of the domain, it should reach the approval process. The registrant contact on the domain is emailed to approve or reject the transfer. While some registrars will auto-approve the transfer after a set time (usually 5-7 days), some will auto-reject the transfer if no reply is received.

Even if the domain is with a registrar that will auto-approve, it’s always a good idea to manually approve the transfer anyways, as it will expedite the transfer.

9. The domain is “hard locked” by the registrar under special circumstances

If you have had your domain listed in a live SnapNames or Moniker domain auction in recent years, your domain may still have a special “hard lock” on it imposed by Moniker. Additionally, a registrar may lock a domain if they are investigating theft or have a court order to lock it. Typically you won’t be able to remove these hard locks through your account.

If you face a hard lock issue and are not sure why, contact your registrar. In some cases, they may have kept the domain locked in error and can remove it.

If you have a transfer rejected for any reason not shown here, do make sure to contact your registrar. If they give a reason other than what is mentioned here, you may have cause for concern. Many people transferring out of GoDaddy amidst the boycotting have run into transfer issues, but the issues I’ve witnessed can be explained by one of the above reasons.


3 Comments on “9 Reasons Why Your Domain Transfer May Be Rejected”

  1. russbastable says:

    Reblogged this on Russ Bastable.

  2. moarstuff says:

    This is a great article. It’s just a shame that so many people are having problems boycotting GoDaddy. I think we should boycott all the big businesses that support that SOPA.

  3. Sharon Hayes says:

    Reblogged this on Sharon Hayes Dot Com.

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