Understanding Domain Name Transfers

Have you ever wondered how domain transfers work? Read on!

This post will focus on how domain names are transferred from one domain registrant (i.e. the person/entity who owns the domain) or LosingRegistrant to another GainingRegistrant (i.e. domain purchaser). 

What is a domain name transfer?  

A domain transfer is the process of informing ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that key information about a domain (e.g. the registrant or registrar) has changed.  Note that a change to the registrant’s email address or a registrar change will trigger a transfer, even if the actual person or entity owning the domain remains the same. 

(A registrar is an organisation that manages domain names and the assignment of IP addresses to them. Your local ISP, website hosting provider or a domain service like eNom, GoDaddy or DNS Africa (Gateway and TopDog) are all examples of registrars.)

We’ll demonstrate the process using our new domain name app, TopDog. 

How to transfer domain names on TopDog

You can transfer domains from one registrant to another gaining registrant within the current registrar (called a “registrant transfer”) or to a new registrar (called a “registrar transfer”).

To start the domain transfer process, you’ll simply need to log in to your TopDog account and navigate to “Transfer Domains” in the left-hand side menu.

The app will navigate to a screen where you will need to enter the domain to transfer and the optional EPP or Auth Info code (which the current domain registrar must provide). Some domains do not require the EPP or Auth info (e.g. co.za domains).

Next, select “Add to Cart & Transfer” at the bottom of the screen. After confirming the transfer action, proceed to checkout. Note that new domain registrations and domain transfers will appear within the same checkout process.

It’s important to note that the current registrant must accept the domain transfer for the transfer to occur immediately. If they do not, it could take up to 5 days to complete the transfer. A successful transfer is also dependent on using the correct EPP or Auth info code in the transfer process.  


If applicable, transfer fees will be deducted from your account on transfer initiation, and the domain expiry date is extended for a year. You can also see the status of your domain transfer in the Transfers tab on the My Domains view.  

Note: If the transfer fails for some reason, your account will automatically be credited. 

For a registrant transfer, there is a prescribed five-day waiting period before the transfer is fully effected. In the case of a registrar transfer, once the transfer is accepted, it becomes permanent.  

Note: If the transfer happened in error (e.g. if the domain was transferred by mistake or you transferred the wrong domain), the LosingRegistrant could appeal to the Registry.

To start registering and transferring domains, download our TopDog app from the google play store here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=africa.topdog.app  The IOS App is coming soon!

To learn more about the TopDog app and domain transfers, see our YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChfX-duxcMWhlyxKjY5ttmw. 

We regularly post new ‘how to’ videos on TopDog functionality.

Posted by Kilana Chohan
Kilana is our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, having graduated from UCT with an Environmental Science and Media Studies degree, her wide range of interests and expertise have brought a fresh and interesting lens to the display and distribution of our products and services.