As we wrote a little bit ago, clients should own their own domain names. However, what happens if someone else has control of your URL? No need to panic. The process is fairly simple to transfer the domain name into your own account.
There are two main items that you will need to be able to transfer your domain name. The first is simply knowing what the domain name is. For example, ours is thejtsite.com. The second item you will need is the Auth Code or EPP Code associated with your domain name. You can obtain this from the current company / person that has control of your domain name.
The Auth Code or EPP Code is a set of random characters. It is essentially a unique password associated with your domain name that allows you to transfer it to another account. When an Auth Code is requested, it generally unlocks the domain name to allow it to be transferred. However, to best utilize your time, be sure to ask the company you are working with to make sure the domain name is unlocked when you request the Auth Code.
Once you have the Auth Code you are ready to start the transfer. You will want to go online to your domain registrar of choice (ours is www.dynadot.com) and find the Domain Transfer page. Follow the instructions to start the transfer and you are all set. Within a few days, the process should finalize itself.
Some Items To Keep In Mind
Transferring a domain name does not change the NS (name server) records that are associated with that domain. So if you transfer a domain name, your website should still stay live through the transfer process to completion. If you are using a custom email address through your website hosting, that should not be interrupted either as it is tied to the hosting as opposed to the domain registrar.
Be sure to transfer the domain name before it is expired. Once the domain name is expired, it becomes very hard to get it back. Give yourself enough time to make the transfer. Transfers can take anywhere from 5 - 15 days to finalize depending on how fast each step can be completed.
Generally any prepaid years get transferred along with the domain name to the new registrar. So if you have paid for 3 years and want to transfer now, you will not lose those 3 paid years by moving to a different provider. However, be sure to check that the company you are transferring to supports prepaid years.