How do I transfer a domain to Namecheap with minimal downtime?
Important: If you are using third-party nameservers (like your hosting company DNS servers or private DNS servers) or our hosting nameservers, the domain transfer will not cause any donwntime as the used nameservers will not be disabled for your domain after the transfer, they will work as usual.
If you're using your registrar's default nameservers, please take a moment to read this article to learn how to minimize the downtime during transfer.
Please note that FreeDNS nameservers and the host records of a domain should be configured for your domain at least 24 hours before the transfer. Additionally, downtime cannot be fully avoided for some people around the world including you; the site and mail service may be down for some time.
Let's say you want to transfer a domain called yourdomain.tld to Namecheap from another registrar (e.g., OldRegistrar), and you are currently using nameservers provided by the OldRegistrar.
Under normal circumstances, when a domain is transferred out, the nameservers associated with the domain remain the same (e.g., ns1.OldRegistrar.com and ns2.OldRegistrar.com).
However, as the domain is no longer with the Old Registrar, the Old Registrar’s default nameservers will stop responding to any queries for your domain. This causes a downtime until you switch your domain to our nameservers and configure host records (DNS settings) on them. However, this downtime period can be reduced in just a few easy steps.
How to reduce this downtime?
Before transferring your domain to Namecheap, you need to set up FreeDNS nameservers for it. Here's how to do it:
- Sign into your Namecheap account (The Sign In option is available in the top hat of the page).
1. Add your domain to our FreeDNS service at the FreeDNS page.
- Mouse over Domains at the top of the page and click on FreeDNS:
- Add your domain (yourdomain.tld) to our FreeDNS service (please make sure to add it without www):
- Click on the shopping cart icon next to your domain and then click on Set up DNS:
- Once you've done so, the following message will be displayed:
2. Authorize your domain to use our FreeDNS service and then insert host records (DNS settings like A records, MX records, etc.) for it:
- Select Domain List from the left sidebar:
- Select All Products in the drop down list in the top-right corner of the page and then click on the caret for your domain and select the Authorize FreeDNS option:
- In the modal window choose a valid email address and click on the Save changes button :
The system will send a verification email through which you will be able to activate FreeDNS for your domain.
Due to security reasons, an authorization email cannot be sent to any other
email addresses than the ones shown as your authorization email choice
options. Please note that an authorization link is valid only for 48 hours.
NOTE 2: If you are having issues with email verification, feel free to contact Support Team to have your domain(s) authorized manually.
- Select Domain List from the left sidebar and click on the Manage button next to your domain to manage your host records:
- Click on Advanced DNS on the top of the page. On this page, you need to reconfigure all the necessary host records that are present for your domain on the side of the old Registrar:
Here is an article with more details on how host record can be configured in your account.
3. After the host records are configured, you need to point your domain to our FreeDNS nameservers (at least 2 of them) or add the FreeDNS nameservers along with the current nameservers on the side of your registrar (if it is allowed). Our FreeDNS nameservers are:
For information on how to set up custom nameservers at your current registrar, please check their FAQ documentation or contact their support.
The FreeDNS service will be activated once we make sure everything is properly set up.
If you've added FreeDNS nameservers along with the current nameservers on your registrar's side, please allow about 24-48 hours for DNS settings to take
effect globally and then remove nameservers of your registrar, leaving your domain pointed to only
FreeDNS nameservers. Once you've done so, feel free to initiate a transfer of your
domain to Namecheap using a normal transfer process.
NOTE 3: If you decide to switch nameservers to FreeDNS at this stage, end users will
experience a downtime as the nameservers of the old registrar might stop responding
immediately after you switch them to FreeDNS.
NOTE 4: If you keep both sets of nameservers (custom and FreeDNS ones), they will not be automatically changed to our default nameservers, hence host records will not be copied, and your site will be down until the domain is manually switched to our BasicDNS, host records are re-entered and DNS propagation is completed. Usually, DNS propagation takes 24-48 hours and in some rare cases, it may take up to 72 hours.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Support Team.