KB / Domains / Transfers / Transfer Hosting

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In order to point a domain you already own, that is hosted with DreamHost you have to make sure that the domain's DNS Servers are set as follows:

  • ns1.dreamhost.com
  • ns2.dreamhost.com
  • ns3.dreamhost.com

If you are unsure how to do so, you'll have to contact your domain registrar - that the company with whom you've registered your domain - and find out what their procedure is for changing DNS settings. We can't do it for you unfortunately, since the Domain is your property, not ours.

How do I switch hosts from DreamHost?

Transferring your domain to another host.

There are two ways to transfer your domain:

  1. change the nameservers to point to your new host, or
  2. fully transfer your domain to a new registrar.

1. If you just want to host your domain somewhere else, yet you still want to use us as your domain registrar, just follow these steps and you'll be set:

  • go to https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=domain.registration
  • log in, if you haven't already, with your DreamHost webID and password
  • click the Modify "Whois Info" button across from the domains you want to update
  • change the name servers at the bottom of the page to be the ones for your new host
  • the whois record will change in 20 minutes, but the domain DNS changes will still need to propagate, which can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. In rare cases this can take 72 hours to complete.

2. If you want to transfer your domain registration to another registrar and host your domain elsewhere, we suggest you first follow the steps above so that your domain will point to your new host as soon as propagation completes. After you change the nameservers you should then contact your new registrar and let them know you would like to transfer your domain to them. They'll handle the rest! (You will still need to approve the transfer by going to https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=domain.transfer )

How can I seamlessly transfer my site to DreamHost from another host?

The first thing to do is add each domain you'll be hosting with us to our system through the "Domains > Manage" panel, if it's not already listed on your account from the sign up process. Do this before you transfer your domain's dns to us! This won't screw up anything on the real Internet, but it will configure all our servers (mail, etc) as though your domain was here. You'll then have directories automatically created in your ftp users home directories for each domain... that's where you put the web files!

Then, in order to test your domains on our servers before you actually switch the dns, add free DreamHost (like say domain1.dreamhosters.com) sub-domains to your account (again through "Add Domain") and set them to "mirror" your actual domains you haven't switched over yet.

Then you'll be able to see what your sites will look like on our servers by going to http://domain1.dreamhosters.com/ on the web.

As for the email switchover, as long as you keep your old hosting account for a little while after you make the DNS switch, you shouldn't lose anything. For a while, some emails will go to our servers and some will go to your old hosts...but once the dns propagation is finished, all the email will be going to our servers and you can safely cancel the old account. However, you've still got a problem because you will not be able to retrieve the email which was routed to your old host after DNS starts directing your computer's email client to DreamHost. Here is the solution: Set up a special email account in a different domain (example: Yahoo, gmail, or your ISP). Just before throwing the switch on DNS, log in to your old web host's control panel and set all of your domain's email accounts to forward to this special account. Then, add the special account to your computer's email client and schedule it to download email. All of your domain's email will immediately be downloaded via this special account, but during DNS propagation it will go more and more back to your domain's account, now hosted by DreamHost.

For databases, you can set them up here with a hostname at one of the DreamHost subdomains, and then you can remotely access them from your old host, or your new site here (or both). Once the transfer is done, you can actually just keep it at the DreamHost sub-domain forever if you want, or you can set up a second hostname (you can have two at a time) for it at your real domain, and then once that propagates you can remove the DreamHost sub-domain mysql host!

I already have a domain name... how do I transfer it to you?

Main page: Transfer your domain registration to us

All you have to do is sign up with us first, making sure to indicate that the domain you already own is the domain you'd like us to host.

Next you'll need to do is modify your domain's DNS settings. DNS is what connects your domain to our servers. It's no problem hosting a domain with us that you registered somewhere else!

You can actually make this change yourself in a matter of minutes. DreamHost does not charge you a cent for this procedure.

First you'll need to login to your domain registrar (the company with whom you registered the domain.) You'll then need to change your domain's DNS settings so that your domain points to our servers. Our DNS settings are as follows:

  • ns1.dreamhost.com
  • ns2.dreamhost.com
  • ns3.dreamhost.com

(note, if we are your registrar, you change your dns at "Domains > Registration")

If you're registered with Network Solutions, you can also change the technical contact for your domain to JJ1805 if you'd like. It's not required though! Also, if your registrar doesn't like the IP addresses listed above for some reason, try changing your nameservers to just "ns1.dreamhost.com", "ns2.dreamhost.com", and "ns3.dreamhost.com" without the ips!

Your registrar may request that you confirm the change. Check with your registrar for more information. You'll need to wait for your changes to propagate across the globe once you've made them. This can take anywhere from 24 hours to one full week to happen.

How can I view content on my new site before my domain is transferred?

Instructions for viewing your domain prior to transferring it over to DreamHost or modifying the nameservers to point to DreamHost may be found in the DNS - Viewing site before DNS change article.

Do you charge to transfer a domain name to you?


We won't charge you to transfer your domain name, but your registrar may. Most don't however, and if yours does you should consider not using them anymore in the future.

There are so many registrars, and they all do things differently; check with yours to see what, if anything, they charge for this service.

But you may be asking yourself, "why am I being charged $9.95 when transferring my domain name to DreamHost?" Any time a domain name is moved from one registrar to another a one year renewal is added to the current registration. So, you will be charged that renewal fee. If you haven't used the free domain registration offer with your hosting yet you will not be charged.