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I would like to transfer a domain without losing more than a few hours of downtime. I read that domain transfers can take 5-14 days. Does this mean that there are no records during this time (if the first registrar disowns the domain when the transfer is initiated), or that only after that long duration will the new registrar's records take effect (no downtime)?

If the former, would setting a high (2 week) TTL on the first registrar's records work to keep the old records in DNS service caches until the second registrar begins serving their own?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

There should be no downtime if you can "preset" the records with your new registrar.

Usually the DNS records at your NIC will just be changed and resolved with your new registrars nameservers.

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In my experience during a domain transfer your nameservers are preserved throughout the moving process.

The only issue may be if your domain is using free nameservers provided by your registrar and your registrar stops serving the records for your domain after it's been released.

In this case, you probably have some buffer time and you just need to point your nameservers elsewhere as soon as the domain is transferred.

By default if your new registrar also offers free DNS, they can't see what's in your old DNS (as most free DNS services don't provide zone transfer, and if they do it damn well better be off by default) so manual migration is your only option.

If you're using DNS provided by your webhost, or a 3rd party, or yourself, then you will be fine and nobody will ever know any different.

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