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Selling a website can be an exciting and rewarding experience. But what comes after the sale? A whole lotta tech stuff? Okay, so there is a bit of techy knowledge to the process, but it doesn’t need to be complicated! This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know about transferring a website successfully.
We’ll cover topics such as domain transfers, hosting plan accounts, content backups, and more. By following this comprehensive guide, you can rest assured that your website transfer will go off without a hitch!
Preparation And Planning
Before transferring a website after a successful sale, take a sec to prepare and plan. This ensures everything goes smoothly and the transfer is completed quickly and keep you from stressing out!
The first step is to confirm the buyer has paid in full/has added the funds to escrow and they’ve been secured. Review the contract or agreement you have with the buyer to ensure everyone is on the same page as to exactly what assets are included. If there are any questions or concerns, now is the time to address them before moving forward with the transfer.
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Next, you’ll want to consider what type of support you can provide during and after the transfer process.
Depending on your agreement with the buyer, this could include providing technical support for setting up hosting, domain name transfers, database migrations, etc. Or it could be as simple as just advising them on your usual procedures and assisting with minor assistance requests.
You’ll also want to review any paid plugins your website utilizes and deactivate/remove them if possible. This especially goes for plugins with a limited number of sites if you’re planning to continue using it on another site.
Also, if you have an email account for the website, you should go through the inbox and clean out any personal emails, then you can download an archive of any important emails the buyer might need.
Once all steps have been planned out, it’s time to start the process. Allowing plenty of time for each step will help ensure a smooth transition from seller to buyer.
Maintain Communication With Client
It’s essential to maintain communication with the client during a successful website sale. It will help ensure that the transition goes smoothly and that both parties are satisfied.
The first step to ensuring smooth communication is to keep your buyer updated throughout the process. Make sure to provide regular updates on when tasks are completed, what has been done, and what needs to be done next.
Let them know when there might be delays or if something unexpected comes up so they’re not caught off guard.
This will help them stay informed and reassure them they made a great decision buying from you!
Preparing The Domain For Transfer
Now that you have thoroughly planned and prepared for the website transfer, the next step is to get the domain name unlocked and start the domain name transfer to the new owner.
Depending on the domain name registrar that the buyer has chosen, the domain transfer process can be slightly different.
Generally, though, there are two main steps: transferring out of the seller’s domain registrar and transferring into the buyer’s registrar.
The first part of this process is to transfer out of the seller’s domain registrar. As the seller, you’ll need to unlock the domain name and allow it to be transferred out. Each registrar is slightly different, but you should be able to do this in the registration settings area. Here’s how it looks in Google Domains, for example.
Once it’s unlocked, you’ll be able to provide the buyer with a transfer authorization code that allows the domain to be transferred from your current registrar to their domain registrar. You’ll also receive a confirmation email to verify the transfer. When accepting a domain, most services will have the buyer renew for an extra year to process the transfer.
Keep in mind that ICANN requires a 60-day change of registrant lock to prevent unauthorized transfers. If you’ve changed your domain’s contact details or only recently purchased it, you can’t make any changes before the 60 day mark!
Once all necessary information is entered and verified, the domain will be released from your registrar to theirs. They will need to change over the contact information to their own name and personal details, and enable domain privacy.
Once all the necessary information has been provided by the buyer to their domain registrar, they may send you an email to confirm the ownership changes. Then the actual transfer takes place. This can take up to 7 days.
Note: If both parties use Namecheap, you can add the buyer to the account as an admin and then remove yourself without having to unlock the domain and provide the authorization code. This also eliminates the wait time for the domain transfer. Super easy!
Backing Up Files And Data
Backing up files and data is an essential step in the process of transferring a website after a successful sale. As the seller, you should make sure that website is backed up before handing over the site to the buyer.
Back up all of the website’s files and databases, including images, documents, audio files, video files, and any other content or information stored on the site. This can be done by using your host’s backup service, or using a plugin like UpdraftPlus (which is basically a lifesaver to have on every website!)
Note: If you have UpdraftPlus set to automatically backup to your Google Drive account, disconnect it before transferring, otherwise the backups will keep being added to your account until the buyer changes it!
You should also make a copy of your domain name settings. I’ve found it helpful to refer to if there’s any transfer issues.
Exporting Your Website to Buyer’s Host
This can either be the easiest part, or the most complicated! If the buyer’s host offers a migration service, which many do, it’s a super simple process. You’ll need to ask the buyer what information their host requires to do the migration, but typically it involves providing the buyer with login credentials.
They can then provide that to their hosting provider, who adds a migration plugin and transfers everything over smoothly.
In some cases, the buyer may want a download of the entire database of website files instead, so they can manually upload it to their host. If that’s the case with your buyer, you’ll want to reach out to your host’s customer service/customer support or check their help section for details on how to export the database.
When exporting database content, there are several different options for file formats including SQL, XML, CSV, and JSON. Each format has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to select one based on the buyer’s specific needs. Once you’ve completed the export process, you can then securely transfer the files to the buyer so they can access them on their end.
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How Long Does It Typically Take To Complete The Transfer Process?
On average, most website transfers can be completed within 2 days to 10 days, depending on how long the domain transfer takes and how quickly the new host can process the migration. However, if you’re dealing with any unexpected technical issues or complications during the process then it could take longer than expected.
Will I Lose Any Data During The Transfer Process?
When transferring a website from one domain registrar to another, you may be concerned about losing any data during the process. I get it; you don’t want to lose any of your hard work! Fortunately, the answer is usually no – you shouldn’t lose any data in the transfer process.
After Hosting Migration Is Complete
Once the buyer’s host has completed the migration, they’ll need to set their DNS records with their domain registrar. After they change the records to point to their host, it can take 24-48 hours for the changes to fully propagate. I like using WhatsMyDNS.net to see how the changes are progressing.
To ensure a smooth transition and that all of its components are functioning properly, testing the website is essential.
The first step in testing is to make sure each individual page of the website can be accessed correctly. This includes checking for any broken links or images, as well as making sure there are no issues with formatting or display.
This will typically be something the buyer does, but as a seller, I like giving it a quick check to make sure everything looks good.
Now that all elements of the website have been tested and confirmed as working properly, it’s time to transfer over any other accounts such as social media profiles and Google Analytics.
Transferring social media accounts could be as simple as providing them with the login credentials, or it could require adding them as an admin and removing yourself.
Note: If you have payment information set for any ad accounts in social media profiles like Pinterest or Facebook, make sure to remove that information before providing the buyer with the login details!
Once the buyer has full access, they can then release the funds. At that point, you can safely remove the website from your host without any issues. Don’t forget to add them to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Transferring a website after a successful sale can be a bit overwhelming, but this information should help ease your concerns!
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Hi There! I’m Natasha.
I’m a digital marketing expert based in the scenic mountains of Colorado with my husband Dan and our crazy rescue pups Roxy & Rico.
I’m here to share my in-depth knowledge, experience, and passion for building and flipping websites.