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Many newbies or new buyers don't understand the term "domain transfer" potentially causing missunderstandings. Here are some basics:
Domain Transfer or registrant transfer - Transfer of the ownership of a domain name from one entity to another. This can be normally done from day one of registration to the expiration date. It doesn't necessarily mean a transfer of the domain to a different registrar or registry reseller who controls the database where the domain is located. Sometimes a transfer fee is charged, but usually not. Most can be done via a "push" from one account to another within the registrar, via email, via online control panel, or sometimes requiring notarized or faxed paperwork.
Registrar Transfer - transfer of a domain from one domain registry operator to another, usually with the same owner of the domain. Cannot normally be done within 60 days of the original registration of the domain, or if the name is expired or on hold after expiration. Most registrars honor any paid time remaining and extend the registration upon payment of the transfer fee of at least one year registration fees. All registrar transfers I'm aware of require at least another year reg fee be paid to do so.
It is normally better not to try simultaneously to do both a registrant and registrar transfer as it can cause potential problems should something go wrong or the registrars have conflicting policies regarding changes and authorizations.
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