Finally got the courage to bite the bullet and switch the domain registrar from 1&1 to Nearly Free Speech. I have been forwarding the domain to for 5 months, but I was afraid that there was something I was going to miss in the transition, or that I would lose an important file or something like that. Transferring the domain means closing the account with 1 and 1, deleting everything, so it was irrevocable.

Transferring a domain involves two steps, first releasing it from 1&1, then telling NFS to take over. Releasing it took a while, and since I had private registration I had to call 1&1 customer support to get it finally done. The correct steps are, as far as I can tell:

  1. Make sure the NFS website (like correctly mirrors the original website, since you can't control exactly when the switch will happen and you hate to go down.
  2. On the 1&1 control panel, select Domains then select the check box for the correct domain.
  3. Select the Contact menu above the list of domains and select Private/Public Registration and make the domain public. If you want to keep it private even for the week or so of the transfer, skip this step but call customer service to have one of the administrators approve the transfer. NFS calls this inability to transfer a privately registered domain "Extortion by Proxy"
  4. Under Contacts, select Show Domain Contact Details and make sure those are right. If not, you'll never get the email to approve the transfer.
  5. Click the Info button and select Unlock Domain and copy the Auth code; that's the domain password to allow it to be transferred.

Now on the NFS side, log into your account and go to{yourusername}/domains/transfer?init=1. They will give you a to-do list before transferring, but you've already done all of that except the name server part, which is easier to do after transferring the domain. Enter the domain name and follow the instructions, they're straightforward. You'll need the Auth code from above.

Wait a week. At some point, you'll get an email asking you to approve the tranfer. Do so.

Change the nameservers (use "Set up DNS and name servers automatically").

It all seems to work well, and I'm now completely running on my new host!

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