How to Transfer a Domain Name with Zero Downtime

Nick Janetakis on November 27, 2018

This article was originally posted on October 9th 2018 at: https://nickjanetakis.com/blog/how-to-transfer-a-domain-name-with-zero-downtime In... [Read Full]
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Very good article, I must add to this, that I usually upon migrating do edit /etc/hosts (in Unix cases), adding the new IP address and domain.tld to check whether everything's working as expected — before switching the nameservers or DNS entries.

 

I usually upon migrating do edit /etc/hosts (in Unix cases), adding the new IP address and domain.tld to check whether everything's working as expected — before switching the nameservers or DNS entries.

You don't need to edit your /etc/hosts file for that and you can't trust it anyways because it's isolated to just your machine before your DNS servers are even used.

But you can run dig domain.tld or dig @8.8.8.8 domain.tld if you want to test it with another DNS server besides your own (such as Google's).

That ~48 hour wait period is just a safe number to make sure DNS servers around the world update their records.

 

That's the whole point to locally test whether the website is working as expected, before changing the global DNS variables.

That's the whole point to locally test whether the website is working as expected, before changing the global DNS variables.

/etc/hosts is only used to resolve host names locally on your machine before it contacts your DNS server so editing your /etc/hosts file doesn't really help test anything in the context of seeing if your public DNS records are updated.

That's why you can add something like 127.0.1.1 google.com to your /etc/hosts and now google.com resolves to a loopback address instead of the real google.com page (for your machine only). It's because your configured DNS servers haven't even been contacted yet to resolve that hostname.

That's the whole point, to check locally, from my computer, that the migrated site is working as expected (for example, the database config is correct and works, rewrite rules work, chmod/chown permissions are set correctly etc.) — so by locally editing the DNS zone to the new one (that will later on be set on the real DNS records), I can check such things beforehand.

Those are all worthy tests but they don't have anything to do with changing your domain registrar or nameservers. Your domain name will still be the same after you transfer it. The only differences are a different company now handles registering your domain, and potentially hosting your DNS records too.

 

Thanks @nickjanetakis, an excellent walk through and a good example of separation of concerns - owning a domain name is separate from hosting the DNS for it (and of course separate again from any services associated with the domain).

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