How do I transfer a domain into Namecheap with minimized downtime
If you are using a third party DNS (like your hosting company DNS or private DNS), the domain transfer will not cause any issues (as the DNS server settings remain the same during transfer).
If you're using your registrar's default DNS service, please take a moment to read through this article to learn how to minimize the downtime during transfer.
Please note that FreeDNS and the host records of a domain should be set 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 (ex: OldRegistrar) and you are currently using DNS provided by the OldRegistrar. Under normal circumstances, when a domain is transferred out, the name servers 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 name servers will stop responding to any queries for your domain. This causes a downtime until you switch your domain to our DNS. However, this downtime can be reduced in 5 easy steps.
How to reduce this downtime?
Before transferring your domain to Namecheap, you need to setup FreeDNS for it. Here's how it works:
- Sign in to your Namecheap account (Sign In option is available in the top hat of the page).
1. Add your domain to our FreeDNS service at FreeDNS page.
- Mouse over Domains at the top of the page and click on Free DNS:
- Add your domain (yourdomain.tld) to our FreeDNS service (please make sure to add it without www):
- Clink 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 insert DNS settings:
- Select Domain List from the left side menu:
- Click on the caret for your domain and select Authorize FreeDNS option:
- In the modal window choose a valid email address and click on Save changes button :
The system will send a verification email, through which you can activate FreeDNS for your domain.
Due to security reasons, an authorization email cannot be sent to any other
email address that the ones shown as your authorization email choice
options. Please note that an authorization link lives only 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 side menu and click on Manage button next to your domain to manage your host records:
- Click on Advanced DNS on the top of the page. Here you can manage domain's host records, mail settings and enable/disable Dynamic DNS service:
3. After that you need to change nameserver settings or add our FreeDNS name servers (at least 2 of them) to the current DNS of your domain (if it is allowed) at your current registrar. Our FreeDNS name servers are:
For information on how to setup custom DNS at your current registrar, please check their FAQ documentation.
The Free DNS service will be activated once we make sure everything is set properly.
If you've added FreeDNS to the current DNS on the side of your current registrar, please allow about 24-48 hours for DNS settings to take
effect globally and remove name servers of your registrar, leaving only
FreeDNS. 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 name server to FreeDNS at this stage, end users will
experience a downtime as name servers of 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 name servers, hence DNS records will not be copied, and your site will be down until domain is manually switched to our default DNS, 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.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Support Team.