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Ask Slashdot: Smartest Way To Transfer an Old Domain/Site? 113

Posted by timothy
from the first-born-child-and-blood-blood-blood dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Back in early 95 I registered a domain name and built a website for a hobby of mine. Over time the website (and domain) name have built a small but steady stream of traffic but my interest in the hobby is essentially gone and I've not been a visitor to my own site in well over two years. I'd like to sell the site/domain to a long time member who has expressed interest in taking over and trying to grow the site, however I use the domain for my own personal email including banking, health insurance, etc. How have fellow readers gone about parting ways from a domain that they've used for an email address?" More generally, what terms would you like to include (or have you included) in a domain transfer? Old horror stories could help prevent new horror stories.
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Ask Slashdot: Smartest Way To Transfer an Old Domain/Site?

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  • Step 1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by leighklotz (192300) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:59PM (#39034999) Homepage

    I'd create a new domain for yourself first...you need to get off the old one.

    • Re:Step 2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:43PM (#39035567) Homepage

      Step 2: Run *both* domains for at least six months.

      Change all mail that's in databases (bank, etc), tell as many friends as possible to use the new address.

      Set up mail forwarding to the new domain so you always hit 'reply' from there. Never reply on the old domain.

      Meanwhile, give your friend access to as much of the site as possible while still keeping the admin password to yourself. Most servers allow separate FTP accounts, etc., he should be able to change files without admin access.

      • by asdf7890 (1518587)
        Or don't transfer the name proper at all. Well, don't transfer it but monitor email on it for six months.

        That way you have no security issue at all.

        You want to be helpful to the new site runner of course, but it would be much safer to hand over copies of the site and relevant databases (sanitised where needed, of course) then point the relevant A records to his/her web server and forward things going to relevant email addresses that way too.

        You have no security issues, they get the domain to keep r
      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        Set up mail forwarding to the new domain so you always hit 'reply' from there. Never reply on the old domain.

        Also if you filter the mail into a separate folder it helps you to find contacts and services still using the old address.

    • by Xest (935314)

      To expand on this, get a new domain, setup a new e-mail address etc. keep the old domain for a year but redirect everything to your new domain, over that year keep a log of anything that was addressed to your old domain and make sure it gets updated to the new one. If a years not long enough, make it 2 years, but effectively the point is this, if you get to a point where you've not had anything through in a year to the old domain you can be pretty sure nothing of value is still using that address, and then

      • by HappyDrgn (142428)

        I would take the added step of putting an auto reply / vacation message on the old mailbox, so that anyone emailing you gets a reply telling them your email address has changed, but still forwarding the message so you still get it.

        • by fafaforza (248976)

          Potentially creating backscatter spam. I would respond personally/manually. Set up a separate folder or mark any mail being sent to the old domain so that it's easier to spot anything still going to that domain.

          And I think I'd wait about a year after moving to a new domain for email before handing over the hobby domain. And even then, I'd require to run the email server for at least a few months after that so that no forwards can be changed and mail can't be seen.

        • by edb (87448)

          Please don't generate a new email message, that's a potential source of new spam.

          Much better to configure your SMTP server to reject the email at SMTP connect time, with the error message containing the new address to use. The error message usually ends up visible to the human sender, and spam 'bots will ignore it.

    • Re:Step 1, reversed (Score:5, Informative)

      by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:37PM (#39037873)

      I'd create a new domain for yourself first

      No. Do it the other way around. I would create a new domain for the new guy taking over your site, or let him do it. Then transfer the web content to the new site, and set up a redirect on your site to the new one.

      That way, people going to the old web site end up on the correct new site, but you don't have to change or worry about anything related to your personal email addresses.

      If your web site also used email @yoursite, then YOU take care of setting up a redirect or whatever solution seems best.

      You don't want to have your personal stuff at the mercy of someone else, or to have to call him to find out what the problem is if he made some configuration mistake or whatever.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:00PM (#39035007)

    Disclaimer: I have no experience in this situation this is just my take on this so take with lots of salt (well.. try and keep it under 1500ml if you are watching your sodium.. )

    I’d move the site to a new domain name owned by the new guy, keep the current domain name, and just set up a friendly redirect page (with an appropriate explanation to users).

    Eventually people/search engines will learn the new domain name (and even if they don’t.. keeping the redirect up forever is probably nothing) and you can start migrating to a new email address while keeping the old domain name “just in case”.

    If other people have email accounts or rely on other services on the current domain... then it gets more complicated.

    Also I’d personally like to thank you for asking a question that is:

    - non-trivial
    - can benefit from the vast amount of diversity and experience within the slashdot crowd
    - will probably generate interesting stories
    - and most importantly, isn’t depressing as hell nor a reminder that everything is falling apart in our industry

    This is what "ask slashdot" could be! We really need more of this!

    • by winkydink (650484) *

      Yes. Keep your domain name and move the site to a new domain with a redirect left behind. If they are also using the domain for email, provide forwarding. If there are other services involved, you'd need to provide more detail first.

      • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ganjadude (952775) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:39PM (#39035523) Homepage
        I agree with this as well. sometime around 2001 I was working with a fairly big niche website, maybe around 25000 users 2500 regular users. and they not only transfered ownership of the site but they changed the name of the site as well. What we ended up doing was buying the new domain and setting up the new site with new logos etc than we simply put a redirect up on the old domain, left it for about 6 months before the traffic to the old domain was pretty much zero and the new domain was flourishing.

        Fast forward to around 2008, A turn based web game community I was an administrator for sold out a portion of the community to zynga, thescum of the gaming world. He decided that with a portion of the community gone that it would be good to change the name of the rest of the portion he maintained. He proceeded to change the forum,the 4 different domains and put them all on one domain where before it was a little cluster. Overnight he did this, he killed the original links to everything but the forum. Traffic declined 65% in that first week and it never recovered.
    • by Pope (17780)

      Or, if you totally want to be disassociated with the domain, get a new one, and change any affected email addresses to the new one. Any email that's being used by a company as a contact method will just be a line in their database: changing it will just overwrite it and any new emails they need to send out will get to you without a problem.

      The biggest problem IMO is for personal emails, since so many people will have you in auto-complete or in an address book that they use.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by sensationull (889870)

      Disclaimer: I have no experience in this situation this is just my take on this so take with lots of salt (well.. try and keep it under 1500ml if you are watching your sodium.. )

      Metric fail, 1500mL is 1.5 Liters and almost certainly toxic if only as a descicant: http://www.google.co.nz/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&site=&q=1500mL+in+liters&pbx=1&oq=1500mL+in+liters [google.co.nz]

    • Also I’d personally like to thank you for asking a question that is:

      - non-trivial
      - can benefit from the vast amount of diversity and experience within the slashdot crowd
      - will probably generate interesting stories
      - and most importantly, isn’t depressing as hell nor a reminder that everything is falling apart in our industry

      This is what "ask slashdot" could be! We really need more of this!

      This is so true. I'm glad to see the first ask slashdot in a long time where I'll be reading the all the comments at 0 without having any mod points.

    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:30PM (#39036309) Journal

      If you absolutely want to give them the domain, then tell whoever to set up their own hosting and change the A records for the website to the new host while keeping the MX records and adding an old.example.com A record for people to access the old site while you transfer data between hosting companies. In the meantime, get a new domain and start updating everyone who emails you with your new address. After a suitable time (you no longer receive email at the old address), transfer the domain to this person.

      As a bonus, it means that whoever is wanting to take over the domain is going to have to prove they're going to run it for several months. If they decide that it costs too much to run, flake out, or just turn it into a porn site, you can point the A record back and find someone else.

    • by AJH16 (940784)

      Yeah, this is probably the best name and actually, you could even maintain domain ownership but simply setup DNS records for it with the entry point on his server doing a permanent redirect so that search sites will catch on to the update and the URL will re-write. I've never let go of a domain name that I actually used intentionally and was thankfully able to reclaim the one that I had that accidentally lapsed, but we had something where we wanted transition from people using gccafe.com to wiicafe.com whe

    • I’d move the site to a new domain name owned by the new guy, keep the current domain name, and just set up a friendly redirect page (with an appropriate explanation to users).

      Please, don't. When you want to redirect somebody you give them a 301 or 303 answer. You don't set up a page with free text telling that in natural language. Only people are able to parse natural language, and bookmars and search engines won't be updated if you do that.

      On that case, it would be best to use 301 answers. You can wr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:01PM (#39035025)

    I'm sure he's a nice guy, but migrate everything away from that domain before selling. This means adjusting every account you've signed up for using that email address/etc. Then wait six months and see if anything new comes in. Under no circumstances should you expect to receive any forwarded mail without someone having read it.

    • Under no circumstances should you expect to receive any forwarded mail without someone having read it.

      This holds for any email on any system. Use PGP.

      • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:12PM (#39035175)

        Sounds reasonable.

        Once he's convinced his bank, health care provider, and generally everyone outside an extremely small group of people of this.. he'll be all set! (well, except that this doesn't really protect against the new owner killing his email service outright either).

        (All kidding aside, it's a lost cause. PGP isn't simple enough for the masses, doesn't work well with the whole webmail thing (aka how just about everyone access their email these days), and in the few cases where it works, ironically makes non-geeks more nervous (why does this email say something about security, am I being hacked!!!).

        • Why a non-geek get nervous because of what it says? Are you implying they might *READ* the notice saying it's secured?

          • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:42PM (#39035559)

            Actually it's the opposite!

            My experience is non-technically inclined people tend to associate different with bad. When an email shows up and has a different colored title, or a weird symbol, or a dialog pops up asking them something about keyrings ... they freak out and get nervous (especially if they see words like "security").

            More importantly, most users don't care about this stuff. It's not intuitive for them to think "oh, this means I can be reasonable sure thsi email hasn't been tampered with and was actually sent by this person (or someone with access to their PC)".

            The problem is to be successful for the masses, PGP would have to have immediate widespread adoption in email clients, which isn't going to happen.

            • Yes, yes, I agree 100% with everything you say.
              I was trying to be funny, because, let's be sincere, users don't READ, so there's no way they find out the word "secure" was present in that sentence. :)

              • by Anrego (830717) *

                So I got woosh-ed :(

                so there's no way they find out the word "secure" was present in that sentence

                Indeed.. and even if they do happen to glance across the word in their panic.. as said it actually makes things worse! Any sentence about security, even one confirming something is secure, will scare a user (which I guess was the point of my knee-jerk post).

                On a serious note, we as a community all understand this problem.. but none of us (myself included) have figured out a good way to deal with it. Maybe we should just introduce randomness in our applications to get users used to the co

      • Under no circumstances should you expect to receive any forwarded mail without someone having read it.

        This holds for any email on any system. Use PGP.

        The number of companies out there that have a 'preferences' page with a space for my public key is astounding. Every single e-mail I get from them is encrypted...er...wait. Welcome back to the real world. Unless it's something that happens automatically (so your mother and grandmother don't have to figure it out) it won't happen.

  • Keep the domain IMO (Score:5, Informative)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:02PM (#39035029) Homepage

    There's no clean way to ensure a new owner will provide service for your old email address to your satisfaction.

    However, it is ridiculously easy for you to set up a permanent redirect from the front page of the website to a new location managed by this guy who is interested in being the new maintainer.

    You could even set him up with a subdomain of the current domain name so that folks feel comfortable that it's the same old site they've been visiting for years. This requires very little effort on your part and you maintain control over your email address.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:05PM (#39035083)

      Keep the domain, yes, but "lease" the rights to the www version of the site. Your DNS record can point the MX record to your mail sever (or Gmail, or whatever), while the A records for the domain and www host to wherever he wants to host it. You may wish to setup forwarding on certain addresses for him, like webmaster@, but make sure the domain is locked and secured to you first.

      • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@nOsPaM.jwsmythe.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:02PM (#39035893) Homepage Journal

        You shouldn't have posted as AC. Some people won't see this, and you have the right answer.

            Set the A records to wherever the new web hosting provider will be. Set the MX record to where the mail is to be delivered. It will then be up to him (the submitter) to forward mail for anything specific at the domain, such as webmaster@ to the real webmaster.

            Or in bind...

        ;
        ; domain: example.com
        ;
        $TTL 3600
        @ IN SOA ns.example.com. webmaster.example.com. (
                        2012021401 ; Serial (soa version)
                        14400 ; Refresh after three hours
                        3600 ; Retry after one hour
                        86400 ; Expire after one day
                        3600 ) ; Mininum TTL of one hour
        ;
        ; name servers for this domain
        ;
                                IN NS ns1.example.com.
                                IN NS ns2.example.com.
                                IN NS ns3.example.com.
        ;
        ; A and MX records
        ;
         
        example.com. IN A 1.2.3.4
        www.example.com. IN A 1.2.3.4
        mail.example.com. IN A 5.6.7.8
        example.com. IN MX mail.example.com.
         
        example.com. IN TXT "v=spf1 ip4:5.6.7.0/25 a mx include:example.com include:example.com ~all"
        *.example.com. IN TXT "v=spf1 ip4:5.6.7.0/25 a mx include:example.com include:example.com ~all"

        And most importantly, the submitter shouldn't have needed to even ask this. Dearest submitter, please turn in your geek card on your way out.

        • by Atzanteol (99067) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:43PM (#39036525) Homepage

          And most importantly, the submitter shouldn't have needed to even ask this. Dearest submitter, please turn in your geek card on your way out.

          Perhaps he does, or maybe simply hadn't thought of it. Either way he's looking for options and advice based on personal experience. What's wrong with that?

        • You can even set up an NS record just for the subdomain and let them manage their own A records without having to waste time in case they change hosts or something.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Upvote for informative. Downvote for being an asshole.

      • A third of the way down the page, and the first person to give the correct solution. And it's currently scored at 0...

      • by Lanboy (261506)

        But then you are left changing the IP for the site. If possible just cname the site hostname to a DNS hostname that the new guy controls . As long as you don't need to have a https version of the site. Then either migrate your mail to a new domain over time by changing all your account profiles and informing your correspondents of the change, or put a banner on the site informing visitors of the upcoming change to the new domain name.

    • +1
      keep the domain, put a redirect. I've done it with a 1000+ users forum.

    • by trnk (1887028) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:55PM (#39035779)
      Next week on ask slashdot: 'I'm a long-term user of a forum on a domain that the owner is no longer interested in, I've offered to buy from him but instead he's told me he wants to keep it and offered to let me purchase a redirect to my servers instead. I was planning on investing quite a bit of time and money to build up the site and it's brand but I'm worried about him retaining control. Is this a good idea?'

      ...Well, there's no clean way to ensure the old owner will provide service for your forward to your satisfaction...etc.

      Come on, everyone saying 'just keep the old domain' really isn't considering the implications of that for the interested buyer.
      • Come on, everyone saying 'just keep the old domain' really isn't considering the implications of that for the interested buyer.

        Domain is not only Website. Clearly the potential seller is not ready to sell. He wants his e-mail. Can't blame him for that, nowadays a freakin e-mail address is more permanent than a phone number. Consider that some domain names are bought ONLY for e-mail adresses, and Web sites are never set up. Red corner : e-mail address that has been in used for ages - banking, taxes, friends, family communications Blue corner : hobby Web site I vote Red. At this point in time, wannabe buyer interest is irrelevant.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Come on, everyone saying 'just keep the old domain' really isn't considering the implications of that for the interested buyer.

        I worked for a company in a small town years ago that was part of a conglomerate run by the richest family in town. They did everything from lawn service to software development, civil engineering, IP PBX deployments, and they also ran the phone company, cable company, and ISP (which I worked for). All of those companies ran under one identity. One day the ownership received a very generous offer for the phone, cable, and internet companies, and they opted to sell. As for the name... well, the ownership

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>There's no clean way to ensure a new owner will provide service for your old email address to your satisfaction.

      It's called a "contract" or "memorandum of understanding" in the business world.

      If you haven't heard of them, they're sort of like source code, that run in people's heads, and get interpreted by lawyers and justices.

      • by aitikin (909209)
        ...and, unlike source code, rely on human beings to run. I'm not saying a contract isn't a good idea, however contracts are broken and misinterpreted very often.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:03PM (#39035045)

    Might it simply be sufficient to transfer your site hosting to the other party and point the DNS records for the site itself to whenever they want? You can then have your mail hanging off the original domain and retain control of it.

  • Move all of your services off of the domain, then sell it.

  • Get new email addresses. If the new owner starts mucking up your email, your only recourse will be a civil suit, and is it really worth it just to keep some old email addresses?

  • by Fastolfe (1470) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:04PM (#39035069)

    Why do you want to transfer the domain when you can just give him/her control of the web site? You can continue to own the services on the domain that matter to you (mail) and they'd own the HTTP service on the IP address you point the domain to. This could even be an intermediate step to full ownership transfer once you've moved your identity someplace else and are comfortable with the new owner of the domain taking more ownership over it.

    • by Pope (17780)

      This x 1000. Set up a totally new domain name for the site and move everything you're not interested in over to it.

    • Why do you want to transfer the domain when you can just give him/her control of the web site? You can continue to own the services on the domain that matter to you (mail) and they'd own the HTTP service on the IP address you point the domain to. This could even be an intermediate step to full ownership transfer once you've moved your identity someplace else and are comfortable with the new owner of the domain taking more ownership over it.

      Agreed, this is the best solution. Keep the domain, transfer the web service only.

    • The domain name is, arguably, the more valuable part. If I wanted to buy Walmart.com it's not because I like their webapp.
      • Sell the site first. Redirect all content to new owners domain. After you have migrated your personal email off the domain sell the old domain to the new owner. This gives you plenty of time to see verify your email move is working.
      • The monetary value in a domain name is the traffic it will bring. If the traffic is going through to the new site maintainer either way then they don't really care if they own the domain name or not... not from a "value" perspective.

        As long as they can still monetize it (or whatever they're trying to do) they should only care that it not be pulled out from under them once they build up even more traffic - which is a very legit fear. If they are building up the traffic in hopes of selling it to yet anothe
  • Require the buyer to forward all of your email addresses for 24 months. Help the person set up the forwarding if they don't know how to do it.

    • Require the buyer to forward all of your email addresses for 24 months. Help the person set up the forwarding if they don't know how to do it.

      Not a good idea, unless you're ok with them reading your email, too.

      • There's hundreds of millions of people using Cox, Gmail, Comcast and numerous of other services that have thousands of employees who have access to your mailbox at any time. You aren't "safe" because you use some commercial service. And let's not even talk about the intermediate nodes that your traffic can get routed through, some of whom have government requirements to log your email whether you know it or not.

        Personally, I'd trust someone with whom I had a longtime connection a lot more than I'd trust the

        • by fafaforza (248976)

          Relationships go sour, people can give into temptation of snooping a bit. Why risk it, is there anything to gain? There are ways of doing this where there will be no question that email wasn't read, and this would help the new owner as there won't be any chance of accusation of him eavesdropping.

  • Is this really a profitable thing that people support themselves off of? If so I would just stipulate he keep your used email addressed forwarded to your new gmail account or whatever. If the only thing is email, it's an easy issue to solve.

    If it's not really a brand and no one's making money, if you want just keep the domain, have them get their own, transfer over the content (files) that matters, and agree to host a redirect to his new site on the main page(s) and a custom 404 can redirect to the new s
    • 404 is "page not found". You mean something more like 301 ("moved").

      • No, I meant a 404. Because I'm assuming he has stuff on the server he wants to keep that is his and not the other persons and not part of the hobby site. He was using it for personal reasons too for doing a 301 wouldn't work there.
        • 404 means not found. There's no redirection, the browser shows the error, and everything ends there. In case of doubt, read the RFC.

    • by ilo.v (1445373)

      No matter what you should switch for personal use (which is what I consider banking, health, etc) to a gmail/yahoo type email account that will always be there no matter what your hobbies or attention span are.

      No. Then Google / Yahoo own the domain name. Bite the bullet and buy your own domain name that you use only for personal stuff like email. It is ok to use Google to provide the service (like Goodle Apps for your domain), but YOU own the domain. You can then change providers at will over the next 50

      • I wouldn't. To me it's email and I like that it's a provided service. I have a few domains right now and all their main email's just forward to my gmail account. I don't think it's much of a risk to say @gmail.com is gonna be around a while.
        • by edb (87448)

          gmail.com may be around for a long time. But you may decide at some point, for whatever reason, that you do not want Google Gmail to be handling your email. It's pure hell to change to a new email address, much harder than changing a phone number, because senders' records of what they *think* is your email address last essentially forever. Not at all like a little black phone book.

          Domain names are cheap, as low as $5 a year depending on the Registrar you use, but certainly easy to find for less than $10/

  • by srussia (884021) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:07PM (#39035109)

    Over time the website (and domain) name have built a small but steady stream of traffic but my interest in the hobby is essentially gone and I've not been a visitor to my own site in well over two years. I'd like to sell the site/domain to a long time member who has expressed interest in taking over and trying to grow the site, however I use the domain for my own personal email including banking, health insurance, etc.

    There's nothing for it but to just suck it up and keep your yahoo.com e-mail.

  • by utahjazz (177190) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:08PM (#39035113)

    my interest in the hobby is essentially gone and I've not been a visitor to my own site in well over two years.

    CmdrTaco, is that you?

    • CmdrTaco, is that you?

      HAHAHAHAHAH,

      I wish CmdrTaco was here right now...... ;(

      Slashdot has gotten very sad....... and so have the posts (NOT this one though)

      • by kiehlster (844523)
        One day, a new savior will arise. Until then, we must search for the prophesies. Beware the idle prophesies.
        • by MrP- (45616)

          CmdrTacoSupreme?

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            CmdrTacoSupreme?

            I'm not sure how Rob Malda putting sour cream on his head will help slashdot, but at least someone would be trying something.

  • HTTP 301 (Score:5, Informative)

    by chenjeru (916013) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:09PM (#39035141)

    As Anrego says, I'd suggest not actually handing over the domain. Instead, rebuild the site under a new domain while updating key content such as contact links, and then set up an "HTTP 301: permanently moved" redirect to the new site on the new domain. This will transfer your pagerank to the new domain and makes search engines happy. Then, you can keep your email and other domain services under your own control.

  • by klubar (591384) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:12PM (#39035179) Homepage

    If there is a little bit of trust between you and the buyer the following will work.

    Change the MX record on the domain to point to your own mail server. You'll continue to get the mail and can forward all of the site mail to the new owner (using some other domain).

    Get a new email address and update all your accounts to point to the new address. After 6 months or so, just hand over the DNS control to the new owner.

    If there is no trust between you and the buyer it's going to be complex, involve lawyers and probably an escrow agent. I'm guessing the site doesn't generate enough revenue to be worth the compexity. If there isn't trust, unless the site is worth more than $20K (or so) it probably will cost more in legal and escrow fees than you'll get for the domain.

    • by Holi (250190)

      An easier way, and one that would more likely be acceptable to the PURCHASER of the DOMAIN (sorry for the emphasis but I really doubt anyone wants to buy a website without being able to have corresponding email, and also having assurance that the site won't just disappear one day), would be to have a contract stipulating you have your email address for the life of the site. Then work on moving all your services off that domain.

  • Keep the domain name. Host the DNS.
    Point all A records to the new owner's IP.
    Point the MX records to your own host.
  • thanks for reminding me to not couple my personal duties with my interestes/domains/sites.

    interestes and hobbies come and go, seems the easiest way to handle this is to never have to.
  • Keep the domain name, give the guy the site, code, database etc but just change the DNS to point at his webserver, but keep the MX records for yourself. Then move all your mail to a new email address as it comes in, then in a year give him the domain name when you're satisfied you're sorted.

  • Those poor buggers obviously need the money or they wouldn't be involved in artificially jacking up the prices for their own benefit.

  • ... off of the domain that has a meaning specific to a website, and move to a domain you get today that has meaning about you, personally. Spend the time it takes to change everything, like your banking, over to an email with the new domain. Maybe that will be a few months.

    In the mean time, point DNS for the website over to wherever the new owner's hosting. Forward webmaster@example.com to his email. Then after a few months, transfer the domain ownership for the agreed money value.

  • In addition to the suggestions that you redirect to a new domain

    You could keep control over DNS so that you just point yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com to the new guy's server, but keep MX pointed wherever you want.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:28PM (#39035403) Homepage Journal

    Moving your email address is a hassle. Let's just assume you don't want any hassle at all, at the cost of the new guy not quite getting everything he wants (yet still be dealt with very reasonably).

    Sell the site, not the domain. Keep the domain either for the rest of your life, or until you're so bored out of your mind that you have the time to deal with moving your email (i.e. hopefully the rest of your life).

    On the still-yours domain, have a web server reply with 301 redirects to the equivalent page at the new domain. Then after a while (a year?), have it reply with 410. Then after a while, uninstall the web server. There may always be some stale links, but there's nothin' to do about that.

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:31PM (#39035419)

    Move all of your accounts to a new email address ASAP. Then, over the course of a few months, watch the old email address closely. Watch for any straggling emails going to the old email. Fix any stragglers. When you are comfortable that the only thing showing up is SPAM, then transfer the domain.

    Look, there's no way you can be 100% sure. The best thing would be to trust the new guy.

    Speaking of stragglers... Just today I noticed that two large companies (one named after a large South American river, the other is a giant Bank in America) that were still sending stuff to an old email address after I had changed my account preferences. Obviously my old address lingers in their databases without any user interface to clean it.

    • I had the same problem with that large bank (many years ago before I dropped them like a bad habit). It turns out that the geniuses at Large Bank in America decided there should be two separate "addresses" for you, both changeable online, but in two completely separate places. One address for your account, and one address for your mail. Please don't ask me to explain that in a way that makes any sense.

  • I did this about 8 years ago. I just updated things as e-mails came in, I made orders, or whatever. I probably got the last one done about two years after I started, but the 98% bulk was done in 3 months.

    Pick a name you're unlikely to lose interest in and plan on using it forever.

    I agree with the other poster who said you should retain the domain for now and set up DNS records and mail rules for the other guy until you're done moving stuff over.

  • by xded (1046894) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:57PM (#39035801)

    DNS A records [wikipedia.org] (i.e., the ones that provide IP addresses to web browsers) are different from MX records [wikipedia.org] (i.e., the ones that provide IP addresses to MTAs), and in your domain you already have both.

    Just keep the ownership of your domain, point the A record to the new guy's server and keep the MX record as it is (or point it to Gmail [google.com], to finally move all the email addresses off your SquirrelMail thing...)

  • Smartest way is not to transfer your personal domain. It is part your life after all and only really dumb people would sell their own soul or self.
  • Nice try... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rampant mac (561036) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:06PM (#39035971)

    "Back in early 95 I registered a domain name and built a website for a hobby of mine"

    Nice try Mr. Goatse. We're not falling for this one again.

  • Don't sell him the domain, just lease it to him for all eternity.

    You would retain ownership of the domain, and you would retain control of the DNS servers it's pointed at. This way you can point the DNS for the website at whatever webserver IP address he wants it pointed at, and you can point the MX record at whatever e-mail server you want. This lets him have the domain for web purposes while you retain it for e-mail purposes.

    Alternately, you could also sell the domain to him, and just ask that he
  • email system Wither do uit your self, or gmail..whatever.

    Sell the domain, and in the contract specify a set ogf email address you get for 2 years.

    Immediately begin migration process.

    I've dome this, it's not that hard as long as you take care of things as they come in.

    Once sold, you can not rely on the buyer to keep it up.

  • Move the site/hobby to a new domain. You control original domain. set up a pointer for new domain. Done.

    Unless you are offered shitloads of money, it's a pain in the ass to move domains.

  • Simply start using another email address, then use fetchmail to grab the content of the old mailbox. After a year or so, all your contacts will have seen at least once the new email address. Then grab all the addresses of whoever is still writing to you to the old address over the last 6 months (it should be easy to do with a nice mail filter), and send them a mail telling that you'd like them to stop using the old email address. Later on, if you can keep the old email address that's nice, but not mandator
  • I sold a domain to a gentleman who wanted it badly (hi Kyle), and had been using it for much of my personal business.

    He just forwarded the email from my requested addresses over to my new email address. No big deal on his end -- any mail tosser worth its salt makes this easy.

    It was completely informal, and it gave me time to transition to a more permanent (and less contentious) home.

    Eventually, I dropped the "new" email address that Kyle was forwarding to, and haven't really missed it.

    Just sell the thing (

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