Friday, March 06, 2009

Transferring a Google Apps eNom domain: Awkward!

[Updated from the original, it's not as bad as I first thought.]

I'm in the midst of correspondence with several eNom support people. The upshot is that I recommend against the "easy" default path of registering a domain through the Google Apps process.

Instead I recommend working with DreamHost (my most recent blurb on them, with discount code). They will provide a full service registrar function and any desire mix of Google Apps and standard web and web app services.

It all started when I registered a Google Apps domain for a specific project. I then realized I needed a true web server with the domain, rather than Google's moribund and dysfunctional "Sites" service.

No problem, I've done something this before, though this time I simply chose the DreamHost web+Google Apps option. I then changed the DNS settings at eNom and everything just worked (DNS propagation meant a full switch took about 10 hours, but there was no service discontinuity). I had the standard Google apps and my domain name now pointed to a web server.

[Update: Normally when you change DNS settings at a registrar I think you can enter either the IP address or the readable name (ex: Not so with eNom. The IP address won't work. Sheesh.]

Then it occurred to me that there was no obvious way to unlock the eNom managed domain name and request a domain transfer.

So I asked customer support.

I must say they answered quickly, but the answers were very confusing. I think after parsing them out (updated here, I had this wrong before) they can be moved after 60 days post-registration but the process is pretty manual and documentation is hard to find:

This is the best official documentation I can find ...

Unlock domain (GoDaddy and eNom) - Google Apps Help


To unlock your domain with eNom, please contact the eNom support team to request this action. You can reach support via email at, or via phone at 425-974-4623. These channels are dedicated to Google Apps administrators who registered a domain with eNom during the signup process...

Messy. I think I'll gradually consolidate my eNom domains with DreamHost. (To be clear, I don't speculate in domains -- I use 'em all!)

Update 3/8/09:

eNom does have a process for transferring domains, but it's not publicly documented.

The following is translated from what I was sent by eNom customer service. They're very responsive but I'm pretty sure they aren't native English speakers. If you email keep things very short and simple. I think the phone number option is preferable.

... in order to transfer the domain, it needs to be 60 days after registration...

... This isn't an eNom-specific rule - this is a rule for all registrars set by ICANN.

If a domain name has been registered for more than 60 days, email with a request. Include the domain access password for verification. (This isn't your Google pw -- NEVER give that out.)
The domain access password business can be tricky.

Remember that in the Google Apps domain admin page there's an "advanced DNS settings" link that will display your eNom domain access password (and a link to the eNom admin page, but that's not relevant here.)

If you haven't changed the eNom domain access password Google generated you just need to include this password in your email.

If you've changed the original pw using the eNom admin page and haven't lost your new password, that's the one you put in the email (frankly I suggest phoning instead).

If you've lost your revised pw here's where you're reminded how critical it is to retain control of your email accounts (read this as a reminder!)
simply put in your domain name at the access login screen and then click on the "forgot password" link and it will be emailed to you at the address on file with Google for your domain name.
Yikes. You really don't want to lose control of your Gmail account.

Once you've submitted the unlock request, in a day or so your domain will be unlocked. At that point you can initiate a domain transfer request from DreamHost (or any other registrar).

I don't know what happens next, but I suspect eNom sends you an email when they get the domain transfer request and you have to validate that. Either that or the domain transfer. Or something. I think I'll do this sometime in the next few weeks, so wait for the next update ...


Aaron said...

Thanks for posting this...trying to transfer a domain from eNom is like some kind of dark art!

Minz said...

i almost spent a day trying figure this out.. how to redirect my google domain!! goddd! first i couldn't even find where my domain is located..i started with 'webmaster tools'.. forums..then 'google app section'..forums again...finally at enom.. and LOST totally... i made a big mistake signing up domain with google. I didn't know google would transfer me to that stupid enom interface. I should've stick with godaddy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

Rachel said...

This was very helpful. For such a user-friendly company, they sure created a small nightmare for me.

I appreciate you pulling me through!

Lisa said...

I think I resolved all the enom issues, but am now stuck in some kind of Google Sites thing. My blog only works through Blogspot, can't get to the other pages, don't want any other stuff just the blog. When I try to get in now using Custom Domain name, I get in Italian, the following notice:

Stai per essere reindirizzato
(You are about to be redirected)

Il blog che si trovava qui adesso si trova a questo indirizzo
(The blog that was here before is now at this address): Questo blog non risiede in Blogger e non รจ stato controllato se contiene spam, virus e altre forme di malware.
(This blog is no longer at Blogger and cannot be checked for spam, virus and other forms of spyware.)

Desideri essere reindirizzato
(Do you want to be redirected)?

If I say yes and am redirected, I get:

The webpage "" cannot be found
DNS error occurred. Server cannot be found. The link may be broken.

Can you please advise?? This is utter madness.

Missy said...

Oh how I love thee.

I have been trying to figure this thing out for about 1.5 weeks. There is literally NO info out there. I will NEVER be buying from blogspot/google/enom again. EVER.

THANK YOU that I finally stumbled across your page!

JGF said...

You're welcome Missy! It is odd that there aren't more blog posts on this topic. Sometimes I feel like the last tech blogger on earth :-).

Sunshine Melodie said...

I love you purely for upfront recommending the almighty DreamHost as an alternative.

You Rock.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much put out this information! You saved me a lot of time and energy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, didn't really know where to turn but then found your wonderful info via search.

Just one note, when I called enom customer service they told me to email. So, there's no need to phone them. Just email with your domain name and password and request the transfer.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Lifesaver. Thank you for posting this; shame Google don't bother!

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Alex said...

Thanks for figuring this out! I'm sure that you saved me from quite a bit of wasted time and frustration.

Anonymous said...

Enom should be change their nameto EHell.

Dann Dempsey said...

Super-helpful. Thanks a million.

Unknown said...

This was really helpful. Thank you so much.

Dennis Esser said...

That was a HUGE help. That information is so hard to come by.