Toward a GoDaddy-Free Life

Posted by Nick Sieger Thu, 11 Mar 2010 20:25:51 GMT

Ask ten geeks who their favorite domain registrar is, and you’ll get ten answers -- though I doubt GoDaddy would be one of them. Their heavily-ad-filled, upselling, confusing site makes even the most patient webmaster’s skin crawl, and don’t even get me started about their embarrassingly titillating Super Bowl tease ads.

Along those lines, there seems to be a fair amount of myth around GoDaddy inertia. While not what I’d describe as a pleasant experience, it is possible to extricate yourself from GoDaddy. Here’s the process I took, which took maybe an hour start-to-finish. Maybe I just got lucky and hit the right buttons, so YMMV.

I decided to go with Dynadot as my new registrar based on reasonable prices, some good words from other hackers, available features such as email forwarding (so I don’t have to maintain a Postfix server), and a clean-looking site. So far I have not been disappointed -- the account panel is straightforward and easy to use, the purchase process is quick, and I haven’t had any hiccups with the transfer.

So herewith are the steps I took:

  1. Prepare the GoDaddy domains for transfer.
  2. Make sure you don’t change the Organization or First/Last Name in any of your domain contact fields! It appears that GoDaddy will put a 60-day lock on your domain if you do so.
  3. Cancel any Domains by Proxy private registration. The new registrar needs to be able to fetch an email address from WHOIS that’s under your control.
  4. Make sure the domains are unlocked. You can do this in the Domain Manager by selecting the domains to transfer and clicking the “Lock” icon, and selecting to unlock them in following dialogs.
  5. Get an authorization code for each domain you wish to transfer. To do this, you have to visit each individual domain in the Domain Manager, and click the link to send the code via email. You should have the codes within 10 minutes.
  6. Initiate a transfer or bulk transfer, specify the authorization codes for each domain, and check out.
  7. Within another 10 minutes Dynadot initiates the transfer by sending email to the address in the WHOIS record for each domain.
  8. In the email, click on a link back to Dynadot and authorize each transfer.
  9. Within another 10 minutes Dynadot contacts GoDaddy and initiates the transfer.
  10. Receive an email from GoDaddy that they acknowledged the transfer.
  11. To speed up the transfer process, go back into the Domain Manager one last time. Under the “Domains” hover menu, look for the “Pending Transfers” item.
  12. See the domains listed in the Pending Transfer queue. Select all and click the “Accept/Deny” button, select “Accept” in the prompt.
  13. Within another 10-20 minutes, receive confirmation from Dynadot that the transfer has been completed. You can now go into the Dynadot panel and manage your DNS and other settings.
  14. Apparently you can’t fully cancel your GoDaddy account, but you can remove all payment methods, services and turn off email notifications.

Bask in the glory that is your renewed life as a website operator!



  1. Avatar Bruz Marzolf said 12 minutes later:

    Indeed. I’m contemplating the switch as well after getting 10 notification emails to renew a domain I was intentionally letting expire. Thanks for the writeup.

  2. Avatar mobetter1919 said about 3 hours later:

    This is exactly what the world needs. Step-by-step instructions to getting rid of GoDaddy and their awful upsell, cross-sell and lousy service. Terrible UX on the site and NO toll-free 800 number. GoDaddy HATES customers, but loves to take customers’ money. Well...they can’t have any more money from me.

  3. Avatar mobetter1919 said about 3 hours later:

    Please post this on and help others move toward a GoDaddy-Free life. Go from GoDaddy to NoDaddy! Who-HOOO!

  4. Avatar William FISK said about 15 hours later:

    Does GoDaddy reimburse you for the the amount of your domain registration that you have not used? I have just renewed my domain for two years with GoDaddy, would I lose the money I paid if I transfer this domain to Dynadot?

  5. Avatar Nick Sieger said about 19 hours later:


    Transferring domains does not affect the expiration date -- that goes with them. I transferred several domains to Dynadot that had more than a year left on them. Dynadot simply added an extra year on top of what was there. You don’t lose that time when you transfer.

  6. Avatar William FISK said about 23 hours later:

    That’s good to know. I am tempted to try as I strongly dislike GoDaddy’s interface.

  7. Avatar Ted Behling said 5 days later:

    I don’t really agree that Godaddy is so awful. I am a senior Linux / software dev / Internet admin guy, and I use Godaddy just fine for my personal domains. I agree their Web site could be more clear but they do what I want, reliably, and they offer good prices. Now, I would never trust them for anything they actually have to operate, like Web and e-mail hosting, but for SSL certs and domain registration, and even DNS hosting, they seem fine. Also, their phone support in my experience, at least for SSL certs, is outstanding.

    Ted Behling