Bluehost Web Hosting Help
Domain Transfer Troubleshooting
There are multiple reasons why a domain transfer may fail. This article explains several reasons why your transfer may be unsuccessful and what you can do to fix it.
- Check Your Settings
- ICANN Policies
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 a bit 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:
- Log into your Bluehost Domain Manager.
- Scroll down and select the domain you want to transfer from the list on the left.
Several tabs for the domain will appear to the right, which you’ll use to view and update your settings. These tabs are:
- Renewal Options
- Privacy Options
- Name Servers
- Transfer EPP
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, please contact the account owner for assistance.
Domain is Already in Our System
Our system prevents you from initiating a registration transfer for domains assigned to another account hosted with us. 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, it was most likely filtered by your email provider. Check your spam filters, junk mail folder, and trash to see if it’s there.
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 it’s possible you’re checking the wrong email address.
- Click the Contacts tab.
- Select admin and registrant separately to view the email address(es) assigned to those contacts.
- 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 the changes can be submitted to the registry. Refer to Domain WHOIS Update and Verification for more information.
Privacy is Enabled
Once you've confirmed the EPP code and other domain transfer emails are being sent to the correct address and aren't being directed to your spam or junk mail folders, the next step is to confirm privacy is disabled. If privacy is still enabled, your contact information is being blocked from the gaining registrar, so the domain transfer emails they're sending are going to a Privacy Protection inbox instead, which cannot be accessed.
- Click the Privacy Options tab.
- Click Pause Domain Privacy to disable the service.
This will allow the registrar to view the contact information on your domain's WHOIS record and send the domain transfer emails to the administrator.
It may take up to 24 hours before every WHOIS database is updated, but most update within the hour. You can use any WHOIS lookup tool, such as the one at CentralOps, to confirm the change is complete. If necessary, you can open a chat with our Support Team to request the EPP code email be resent.
Refer to Domain Privacy for more information.
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, it’s possible the code has 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.
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. For this and other reasons, our system rejects incoming transfer requests for domains scheduled to expire within seven days. 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. Read through the error message entirely; then if you still want to proceed, check the box agreeing to the terms and click continue.
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. 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 will enter a 60-day transfer lock period following a successful Change of Registrant. 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 required by ICANN.
You can transfer an expired domain; but once a domain enters the redemption period, the status changes and transfers are prohibited. The domain registration needs to be renewed and restored out of redemption before the transfer is approved.
Important: Avoid transferring your domain within 45 days of renewal, or you could 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.
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. 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 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).
For additional information, see ICANN Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars
You're not required to transfer your domain’s registration to us in order to host your website here. Just assign the domain to your account and pointing 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: 220.127.116.11
- Secondary Server IP: 18.104.22.168
Each ISP updates at a different rate, usually taking 24 - 72 hours to complete worldwide. During this time, your emails will be down, and your web traffic will be directed to either the old or new host, depending on the visitor's ISP.
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