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Changing Domain Registrar and Transfering Ownership Without Downtime

 10:32 pm on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

A new client has a domain that is officially owned by their CMS development company and where they have drawn a contract that the client owns the domain. It appears it was done this way because development company told them the domain would not be able to be hosted in Germany unless it is owned by a German company (not sure if this is correct or not).

The development company management has changed and the client wants that the domain is now transferred to registrar in their own country with them as the owners. The development company doesn't dispute ownership (so no problem here), but they say there will be a downtime.

Note - the hosting is still active and would not change. All that should change is Registrar and the Domain Owner.

What is the process? Do they first change ownership and then registrar or both in the same time or first registrar and then ownership? What does change of ownership entails, is it just changing details when you log in to the current registrar or anything else?

Would there be the downtime and how to avoid it?

I think this is the equivalent of buying a domain with the working website, where the hosting remains as is, but the registrar and owner change.

Excuse if these are stupid questions but always bought domains from new and when changing registrar, I did not change ownership at the same time.



 11:09 pm on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

is the development company using their own custom nameservers for the domain?

would they be willing to change nameservers for that domain before transferring ownership?


 12:32 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thank you creeking. Below is more info.

is the development company using their own custom nameservers for the domain?

No, they do not use their own nameservers, nameservers are from a worldwide well known Registrar and hosting provider

would they be willing to change nameservers for that domain before transferring ownership?

I believe they would be willing to do what we ask, yes. But I am wondering whether they have misunderstood what the client wants as they are mentioning hosting change.

The client does not want hosting change right now - they are happy to remain hosted where they are now, at least for the next few months. But what the client wants is for the domain ownership to be returned to them and the client wants to use registrar in their own country.

The development company is mentioning DNS MX and DNS A-Records saying that they are pointing to IP addresses of their own server poll they have with (worldwide known) hosting provider. They say that if they change nameserver, they will lose direct control over DNS Records which at worst case will take website offline and at the best case there would be connectivity issues which would not allow them to honour their uptime agreement.

They want the client to sign the paper acknowledging the uptime risk.

But to my understanding - there is no reason for the development company to change the IP of the server. From my experience with domanis I have, the same IP has been used for ages (often years). Or am I wrong about it?

My knowledge here is very limited so I cannot even judge if this is all correct or if so, how likely it is that there will be uptime problems or site down problems. I cannot even judge whether they are trying to scare the client or is it correct what they are saying?


 3:32 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Certain countries including some in the EU require that a company incorporated in their country be the owner of the domain. Other countries require that the company have a physical address in the country issuing the domain.

With other countries anything goes and this is why some country domains are havens for scammers and thieves running thousands of websites.

Check on the domain issuing country and verify what are their requirements.

If they merely require the owner to have a physical address in their country, there are services that provide this. Reputable and well established law or accounting firms are recommended.

If they require the owner to be incorporated in their country, more than likely you can do this with the help of a local attorney or incorporation service, and arrange it so that the new corporation be owned by the company belonging to the owner. Again, reputable law or accounting firms are recommended.

After this is worked out, I would then go ahead and change ownership with the existing registrar.

You then have full control the DNS / MX records.

You can then move easily move hosting by setting a short TTL and then changing name servers. But remember to increase your TTL after this is done in order to help protect the domain in case of a hijacking attempt in the future.

Later you can change registrars by pushing the domain to your registrar of choice. This is a simple process and does not involve any downtime as you would be merely changing registrars and not name servers or hosting.

If you are not comfortable doing this, be safe and hire a professional.


 9:12 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Check on the domain issuing country and verify what are their requirements.

I know and in this country, to be domain owner with their registrar, you need do have a physical address there.

This is why they have to change registrar to their own country in order to change the ownership.

They are NOT changing hosting. Domain can be hosted in that country regardless of the ownership. But they want to change the ownership and in order to do so, they also have to change Registrar to be in their own country.

What I want to know is - if the registrar change, does this really mean the site will go down? Is this story about MX and A records correct? I have domains registered with one Registrar that are hosted by someone else and I cannot understand the problem so am I missing something or is the client given the story just to make the transfer out of the Development company more scary?


 9:51 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

There will be no downtime if the DNS records don't change.

If the DNS records need to change because they are tied to either the registrar or the hosting company, transfer the DNS to a third party DNS provider and allow the changes to propagate before you change the hosting and/or registrar.


 11:04 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thank you all, I understand more now.

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