How to Transfer Your SBI! Domain Management to Another Registrar

Okay… Hopefully you followed one of my three tutorials on here, here or here and are already hosted by someone good. The dust has settled, everything is great and all what’s left is to transfer your domain to another registrar.

Important Don’t do this a day before your domain expires. Leave yourself enough time to do this, preferably a month. If your SBI! subscription expires before your domain does (which might happen if you are on monthly renewal), then please contact SBI! support and ask them specifically how much time you have to transfer your domain management to another registrar. For those who are on yearly renewal the domain expiry date and SBI! subscription date are usually same.
TIP: registering your domain for more than one year is considered minor quality signal for Google rankings because low-quality or spam sites rarely get registered for more than one year. If you want to take an advantage of that register for a few years in advance.

Keeping your name, telephone and address publicly available is another quality signal. So, if you don’t mind for that info to be publicly available, do not pay for WhoIs privacy. It is often checked by default so you will need to uncheck it in your shopping cart.

Where to register your domain

It’s wise to keep your domain management and hosting separate. You don’t want to allow one company to have complete control over your web properties. Never again! In addition, if you ever decide to move to another web hosting company for whatever reason, it’s much easier and faster to do if your domain is registered somewhere else.

Now almost every host will offer you domain registration and even domain registrars will offer you hosting… Are you following me? Just checking πŸ˜‰ This makes a perfect business sense for them and it doesn’t mean they are trying to cheat you. However, you should do what’s in your best interests and in this case it’s to keep these two things separate. So don’t listen to them!

I love, love, LOVE my host, but I am not going to give them control over my domain. Instead, I am going to move to I like their support and clear clutter-free interface. And then they have such a fantastic name –!

You can do your own research on registrars. I believe it won’t be much different, but in this tutorial I am going to work specifically with I will include screenshots and everything I possibly can to make things easier for you.

SBI! Part

cow for TucowsIt looks like SBI! registers all its domains in Tucows. Who could think that all this web business thing is more like a zoo! Pandas, penguins, turtles, cows, monkeys and alligators – like it or not, you have to deal with them all. Just like that cow on Tucows homepage said, we are going to “mooooove” to another registrar! Here is how, step by step…

Step 1: Unlock your domain

First of all you need to make sure your domain is unlocked. We unlocked it before when we were transferring our website files to new host. If not much time passed and you didn’t ask SBI! to lock your domain again your domain is probably still unlocked. You can make sure by searching for your domain at WhoIs. If it says Client Transfer Prohibited, your domain is locked and you need to contact SBI! and ask them to unlock it. You should include following information for them to unlock it:

  • original order number when you purchased SBI!
  • last four numbers of credit card you used
  • your IP address as it appears here

You should also make sure that

  • contact email address at WhoIs is NOT on your domain (it’s not something like you(at) Use your gmail or yahoo for this.),
  • your domain privacy settings are disabled, i.e. you have your name and contact details publicly available on WhoIs page.

If you need to correct your email address or disable your domain privacy you should fix it now at Forgot your password? Search your emails, like I described here.

SBI! will unlock your domain, however you need this updated information appear in WhoIs database. So wait until you will see this next to your domain (under Registration): domain ulocked in whois database When you see registrar status “OK” instead of “Domain Transfer Prohibited” you know you are ready. Usually it takes about a day to update.

Step 2: Get EPP Code (Auth Code)

The instructions for getting Auth Code or EPP will be sent to you by SBI! once you hint you want to move. I will explain it here once again in my own words and include screenshots. So go to managementEnter your domain, username and password (the one you got from SBI’s email when you ordered the package). Once you are in, click on Domain Extras… auth code and get that code!

Your New Registrar

Step 3: Initiate transfer

There are many good registrars, but I personally chose If you choose another registrar things might be slightly different, but the idea is the same. So go to (or other registrar of your choice) and create an account. At you can also enter default payment option so you don’t have to get distracted when you are doing something important like transferring your domain. Then click on domain transfer button… domain transfer Enter your domain (no www.) and Auth Code you just got from cows… interface for domain transfer Decide whether or not you want to order domain privacy (that is to hide your name from public view at WhoIs). At it’s checked by default. It costs a little more than $3 per year. If you don’t need it make sure to uncheck it… domain privacy Without privacy it costed me $8.25 for transfer and entire year of registration. Click checkout… order complete Now go back to your account at First click on Account Settings (to the right) then big blue button that says “Edit Default Name Servers”. change default name servers You will see that you have default Name’s name servers which you don’t need and should be deleted. You need to MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU ENTER YOUR ALREADY FUNCTIONAL NAME SERVERS on your host. Triple check that you don’t make any mistake. Here is an example how it should look like if you were hosted by A Small Orange.

A Small Orange name servers

Step 4: Confirm your decision

Go check your email. If you are moving to you will find two emails in your inbox. One is to confirm your order, the second one is to approve your transfer. emails from domain transfer Open the one that says “ Notices – USERNAME: Recent transfer(s) APPROVE TRANSFERS” and click on the last link in that email (just before their closing “Much love” πŸ˜‰ Your domain registrar actually loves you. How cool is that?) Much love email from It will take you to this page where you will click on Approve Transfers button… approve transfers If you check your account and click on View Registrar Transfers (to the right) you will see this: transfer in progress It tells you that domain transfer is in progress, everything is progressing smoothly, they contacted the losing registrar (the one with cows) and if they do nothing the transfer will be accomplished automatically within 5 days. If cows bother to answer things will happen much quicker.

Step 5: Confirm once again

About 10 hours later I received an email from someone called “Transfer” with subject “Transfer away request has been received for the domain” – that’s right, that must be cows. There will be link in that email, which takes you to a page where you can either confirm or reject this transfer request. sbi confirm domain transfer Check the box next to approve transfer and have some rest.

Step 6: Lock your domain

After a few hours I received another loving email from with the subject “ Notices – USERNAME: Recent transfer(s) SUCCESSFUL”. If you sign in to your account you will see that your domain now appears under domain list. domain transferred Here you can set automatic renewals if you wish or enable domain privacy if you change your mind. However, this is not as important as locking your domain. Click on your domain name. You will see this: domain unlocked Click on that little lock to lock your domain. You will get this: domain locked You are done! Congratulations!

You can go now and say goodbye to everyone in SBI! forums, print everything you want to keep for future reference. Your keyword list would be a good example. SBI! tells you you won’t have access to their tools as soon as you change your name servers, but at least in my experience that’s not what happens. You have access to their forums, tools, including their precious Brainstormer, TNT and pretty much anything you want until about 2-3 days after DOMAIN transfer. I lost access to SiteCentral after a few days I transferred my domain to I still have access to forums although I don’t know how long it will continue.

IMPORTANT: DON’T FORGET TO CANCEL YOUR SBI! ACCOUNT You actually have to send one last email to SBI! support and cancel your account otherwise they will automatically bill you for next year (or month).

I hope you found this useful. If you have any questions, corrections, tips please post in forums. Keep in touch. It’s not fun to be alone. I am starting a new thread where you can post corrections and/or additional tips to this tutorial. Perhaps you chose another registrar and would like to share how you did it or maybe you know a better and easier way of doing things. Please share! You can do so here.

I will be posting tips on WordPress and other stuff you might find useful, so don’t forget my little blog. If you have anything specific you want to know about let me know and I will see if I can help :D. Good luck!

18 Replies to “How to Transfer Your SBI! Domain Management to Another Registrar”

  1. Good read Elena,

    I’ll definitely need to check out

    I’m a bit confused. I’ve got a couple of domains at HostGator and a couple of others at InMotion. So what you’re saying is to register the actual domain elsewhere and host the domain/website separately. How does this work? Will I need to point the DNS servers from the registrar to the actual hosting service?


    1. Yes that’s right. If you noticed in this tutorial I pointed the name servers to Hostgator from They also offer their own servers and will try to make you buy a hosting from them, but you shouldn’t accept. Similarly Hostgator offers domain transfers but if you are hosted there it’s better to go and register your domain elsewhere.

  2. Yeah seems is awesome.

    Come to think about it, I think I heard about the service some time ago from the David Walsh, Chris Coyier interview on the ShopTalk show. Heard good things about the company but haven’t looked into it further. Will need to check them out again.

    1. They are good. I think it’s perfect for everyone and especially for people who feel intimidated by all technical details as their interface is clutter-free and support is very responsive.

  3. yay! I have successfully transfered my account away from SBI!!! now off to ask them to cancel my account and then hit it off with WordPress!!!!

    Thanks again for the detailed tutorials. Much appreciated

  4. A mere 3 days after I changed name servers the whole transfer was over and done with – I’m in shock πŸ™‚ as I was ready for a drawn out process – it was so quick and went very smoothly exactly as Elena explained it in her tutorials. The only thing that differed from her tutorials is (the not so loving) The setup is different (and somewhat bewildering) and the locking of the domain required no action from me – it is automatically under lock for 60 days – also no ‘love’ in their emails – just sincerely … but hey, that is a small price to pay for a smooth transfer.

    I don’t have words to express how helpful Elana and her wonderful tutorial has been. I wouldn’t have been able to do the transfer without her excellent help. Moving away from SBI was a daunting prospect and until I ran across Elena’s tutorials it wasn’t something I seriously wanted to take on.

    Thank you Elena – you are my hero!


    1. Hi Andriette,

      yes changed their interface and now have nice template email which doesn’t say “Much love” anymore – kind of disappointing. I took these screenshots as transferring my domain two years ago, but I think it’s not that bad. I find their interface much clearer than Namecheap, which I also use. It’s just when you do it for the first time, everything seems more confusing than it actually is. Hope you will enjoy WordPress!

  5. hi Elena,
    I have completed “Step 6: Lock your domain”
    and have received β€œ Notices – USERNAME: Recent transfer(s) SUCCESSFUL”. and when i sign in to my account i see that my domain now appears Locked.
    However there are 2 Domain Status when i checked on
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Domain Status: transferPeriod
    Is this normal ?
    Do i have to wait until the “Domain Status: transferPeriod ”
    disappears before I cancel my SBI account?
    Thank you
    Your tutorials rock

    1. Hi Mike, I am glad you like my tutorials! πŸ™‚ As for Client Transfer Prohibited, it’s normal and should stay that way unless you decide to move your domain to another registrar once again (if you only decide to change host you don’t have to unlock it, it’s not same as SBI!), so nothing to worry about. If your site is hosted elsewhere and domain already arrived to you can safely cancel your SBI! account.

      1. hi Elena,
        Thank you for your quick reply.
        I have bookmarked your website for future references and will come back for the wordpress issues.
        Keep up the excellent work.
        cheers !

  6. Hi!

    I had a look at your articles on how to move from SBI to wordpress, but I’m so scared I mess it up. Do you offer this service? To do the transfer? Im willing to pay you whatever you feel the service is worth. Please, I need help.

    1. Hello and thanks for your comment. I don’t offer transfer services at the moment as I am busy running my other sites. This blog is basically a place for me to keep my notes together and isn’t my main business. One thing I can tell it’s not as scary as it might seem. You only need to commit to being attentive.

  7. Elena, your tutorials really helped me and I successfully moved my site from SBI to WordPress, using Hostgator and I will be moving other sites as well. Nothing against Sitesell and I am thankful for the early education I got from them. I sang their praises a lot over the years. But my interest obviously comes first. I need to grow and save money as well. 5 SBI sites x $299. The math is not hard to do. And at one time I had more. Too much money and yet a beating from panda and penguin. SMH. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much.

    1. Thanks for kind words Roger πŸ™‚ The first site is always the hardest one as you are learning how things work. Other sites will be so much easier. Unless you have an enormous amount of traffic, you can host all your sites on one account so your hosting fees will not increase. And if one day you decide to change your host, it will be a breeze because you are using the most popular content management system in the world. WordPress is so incredibly convenient and flexible!

  8. I started an SBI website in 2004 and wrote and built more than 80 pages. In mid 2014 I could not afford the monthly fees anymore so SBI took my website back and said they would use their people to possibly make it profitable then I could get it back at a later date. My site is still up and they seem to have put some ads on it. Could I actually now put my website somewhere else.

    1. Hi Heather,

      I heard about it before but, as far as I know, there is a special agreement you sign to allow them to use your work in this manner. Then if you decide to return back to SBI! within a certain period, they return the site to you. Have you signed something like this? I don’t know if you can take it and transfer it without paying SBI! fees. I guess it depends on what was written in the agreement you signed with them. Try to ask them about it.

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