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How to Troubleshoot Common Domain Transfer Issues


There are multiple reasons why a domain transfer fail. This article explains several reasons why your transfer may be unsuccessful and what you can do to fix it.

Check Your Settings

Improper settings can prevent your domain transfer from being initiated or approved. When transferring your domain to Bluehost, our system identifies nearly every potential cause of failure in the steps prior to processing the payment that initiates the transfer. However, every registrar handles domain transfers differently, so it's possible for an outgoing transfer to another registrar to fail for these same reasons.

If the domain isn't registered with us yet, be sure to contact the current registrar for assistance. Otherwise, please follow these steps to access your domain settings:

  1. Log in to your Bluehost Domain Manager.
  2. Scroll down and select the domain you want to transfer from the list on the left.
  3. Several tabs for the domain will appear to the right, which you'll use to view and update your settings. These tabs are:
    • Main
    • Renewal Options
    • Contacts
    • Privacy Options
    • Name Servers
    • Transfer EPP
    • Lock

If you only see three tabs, then the domain is registered elsewhere. You can view the domain's registrar in the Main tab.

If you aren't the account owner and are unable to log into the hosting account, don't hesitate to get in touch with the account owner for assistance.

The Domain is Already in Our System

Our system prevents you from initiating a registration transfer for domains assigned to another account hosted with us. Instead, you'll need to move the domain by assigning it to the account from which you're initiating the transfer request. This process is not the same as transferring the domain registration from one registrar to another.

Please reach out to our Support Team or email us at [email protected] for further assistance. 

Haven't Received the EPP Code

The EPP code, also called the authorization or auth code, is a password given to the gaining registrar to authorize the transfer of your domain. You can copy the EPP code from the Transfer EPP tab at any time, or our Support Team can email it to either the administrative or registrant contact at your request.

If you haven't received the EPP code in your email inbox, your email provider was most likely filtered. Check your spam filters, junk mail folder, and trash to see if it's there.

You may visit this article on How to obtain a Transfer Authorization ( EPP ) Code for more information.

Invalid Contact Information

The EPP code email is nearly always sent to the domain's administrative contact, which may not be the same as the registrant (owner), so you may be checking the wrong email address.

  1. Click the Contacts tab.
  2. Select admin and registrant separately to view the email address(es) assigned to those contacts.
  3. If either email address is incorrect, update it now and save your changes.

Updating the registrant contact information may trigger a Change of Registrant request, which requires additional verification before submitting the changes to the registry.

For more information, you may visit this article Domain WHOIS Update and Verification.

Invalid EPP Authorization Code

The EPP code is case and character-sensitive. If you see an error stating, "The EPP authorization code was invalid," copy and paste the code again, making sure to remove any additional spaces added before or after the code. If that doesn't work, the code may have expired. Contact your current domain registrar to confirm you're using the correct code and request a new one if necessary.

Domain is Locked

Among other reasons, domains are locked by default to prevent unauthorized domain transfers. If you haven't already, go to the Lock tab to unlock the domain.

If you're unable to unlock your domain, the registrar may have locked it for one of the following reasons:

  • The domain name was registered or transferred within the last 60 days.
  • The domain is under investigation as the result of a dispute or other legal issue.

Some domain providers, such as GoDaddy, may even choose to lock your domain for 60 days whenever you make a change to your domain or if your domain is within ten days of the expiration date.

Tip: As of April 2021, Domain Privacy no longer needs to be disabled or paused in order to transfer a domain away. You can still proceed with the transfer even if your domain's privacy is enabled. Refer to Domain Privacy for more information.

Expiring in Less than Seven Days

Domain transfers fail whenever there's a status change, such as when the registration expires. So you can initiate a domain transfer if it's close to expiring or has already expired, but it'll fail if the domain expires during the process. Our system rejects incoming transfer requests for domains scheduled to expire within seven days for this and other reasons. However, you don't have to wait until the domain expires to initiate the transfer as long as you understand and agree to assume the risks. First, read through the error message entirely; then, check the box agreeing to the terms and click continue if you still want to proceed.

ICANN Policies

According to ICANN policy, there are nine specific reasons why a registrar is permitted to deny a domain transfer, some of which we've discussed in previous paragraphs, the rest of which we'll explain below.

60-Day Waiting Period

Per ICANN, a domain transfer cannot be initiated for domains registered within the last 60 days or within 60 days of a previous transfer. Unfortunately, we're unable to bypass this regulation, so you'll need to wait to initiate the transfer until the 60-days have passed.

60-Day Transfer Lock Period

Unless the prior registrant checked the box to opt-out before they saved their changes, the domain would enter a 60-day transfer lock period following a successful Change of Registrant. Unfortunately, we're unable to bypass this regulation, so you'll need to wait to initiate the transfer until the 60-days have passed.

Before saving updated registrant contact information for a domain, please consider the following:

  • Domains cannot be transferred within 60-days of being registered, renewed, or transferred.
  • Domains cannot be transferred within 60 days of a new registration, renewal, or prior transfer, as ICANN requires.


You can transfer an expired domain, but the status changes and transfers are prohibited once a domain enters the redemption period. In addition, the domain registration needs to be renewed and restored out of redemption before the transfer is approved.

Important note: Avoid transferring your domain within 45 days of renewal or lose that renewal year.

Once a domain is renewed, it enters the Auto-Renew Grace Period set by ICANN, during which the renewal is tentative. What does this mean for you? If you initiate a transfer during this time, you'll lose the renewal year you paid for, and a refund cannot be issued. Refer to Domain Redemption for more information. 


When we receive notification of a fraudulent charge made on an account hosted with us, the hosting account, including any registered domains, is immediately deactivated until the issue is resolved to prevent further abuse. In addition, the registrar changes the status of any domain registrations on that account to "Registrar Hold," causing any and all transfer requests to fail.

If your account is deactivated due to a chargeback, please contact our Account Assessment Team for further information. You'll be able to transfer the domain once you resolve the chargeback.


The other reasons ICANN policy says a registrar can deny a transfer include:

  • Evidence of fraud.
  • UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution) action.
  • Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • Reasonable dispute over the identity of the Registered Name Holder or Administrative Contact.
  • Express has written objection to the transfer from the Transfer Contact (e.g., email, fax, paper document, or other processes by which the Transfer Contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means).

You're not required to transfer your domain's registration to us in order to host your website here. Instead, just assign the domain to your account and point your name servers to:

  • Primary Server Hostname: ns1.Bluehost.com
  • Secondary Server Hostname: ns2.Bluehost.com

If necessary, you can use our name server IP addresses instead:

  • Primary Server IP:
  • Secondary Server IP:

Each ISP updates at a different rate, usually taking 24 - 72 hours to complete worldwide. Your emails will be down during this time, and your web traffic will be directed to either the old or new host, depending on the visitor's ISP.

Error on Step 2/4

If there is no 'Submit' or 'Next;' button, you will need to enter the EPP Code to proceed. You will see an empty box at the top of your screen that you must type the EPP/Auth code in. This is the code that your current registrar should have supplied you with when you unlocked your domain with them. If they did not supply it to you automatically, you would need to request it as not all registrars do this as an automatic system function.

Important Note: This code is usually only good for 24-48 hours but maybe good for up to 30 days. If expired, you will need to obtain another one from them.


You don't need to worry about domain transfer issues when you buy a domain name with Bluehost. We've addressed common domain transfer issues encountered such as incorrect settings, domain already in the system, missing EPP codes, invalid contact information, and locked domains. It also explains ICANN policies including waiting and lock periods, redemption, chargebacks, and other reasons for transfer denial.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

  • Chat Support - While on our website, you should see a CHAT bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Click anywhere on the bubble to begin a chat session.
  • Phone Support -
    • US: 888-401-4678
    • International: +1 801-765-9400

You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.

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