Why are domains locked and how to unlock them

how to unlock domains

Security is a major issue in the online world and at every turn, there are measures in place to ensure legitimate users are protected. A locked domain is one such measure. It’s intended to protect website owners from internet crooks by blocking any unauthorized attempt to transfer or alter your domain.

While some website providers allow registrants to manage the domain lock option, some automatically lock it as a way to substantially increase their users protection from unscrupulous people.

There are different types of domain and triggers for domain locks, which means that the method of unlocking it may differ based on the cause. 

And, while you are able to unlock them in most cases, in other instances you’ll have to turn to your webhosting provider or just wait it out.

In this post, we’ll tell you when it’s necessary to lock your domain and where to seek help. We’ll also explain more about locked domains, their causes and solutions.

What is Domain Locking?

If someone tries to transfer your domain to another registrar, a domain lock will spring into action to prevent it.

In essence, a domain lock is a security feature that prevents your domain from being reassigned or altered without your permission.

Why create locked domain names?

Domain locking is separated into tool broad types or groups.

They are theft protection and domain master lock.

1. Theft protection

As the term suggests, theft protection prevents your domain from being stolen; transferred or altered.

2. Domain master lock

This is when the registrar sets a lock on a domain name to prevent modification of contact details; the activating and disactivating of theft protection or to suspend and unsuspend the domain name, among other things.

What causes domains to lock?

Here are four of the top reasons that will cause your domain to be locked.

1. Domains expire

If a domain has expired, it can automatically go into registrar lock mode.

When that happens, you cannot transfer the domain to another registrar and will have to renew it, if the idea is to continue using it.

2. Domain Age

A Domain Age Lock occurs when your registrar locks your domain if it was registered or transferred less than 60 days ago.

This is usually done for security reasons and cannot be removed. But not to worry, you have up to 90 days to complete the transfer.

It’s also part of a deal with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN for short.

3. Change Registrant

This is very similar to the Domain Age Lock. But instead of being triggered when a domain is registered or transferred, the Change Registrant lock is prompted when any material change is made to the domain owner’s contact information.

This could range from a change to the email address or first and last name to the organization’s name.

Like the Domain Age Lock, this lock cannot be removed until after the 60-day period expires.

4. Legal Issues

If the ownership of your domain name is being challenged in court, your registrar is legally obligated to lock your domain name.

What Happens When A Domain Is Locked?

A locked domain does not mean an inactive domain, because there are still some tasks you can perform.

For example, you can make changes to your domain settings and update your contact information despite your domain being locked.

But once it’s locked, it’s untransferable. So, if you want to transfer it, you must first unlock it.

How exactly do you do that? We’ll explain next.

How to unlock a domain?

Being equipped with all the knowledge about domain unlocking, the various types of lock and causes is pretty good. But, knowing how to fix the issues and unlock your domain is icing on the cake.

So, here is one quick way of unlocking your domain, in five simple steps.

  1. Start by logging in to your Control Panel.
  2. Next, look for the domain name that you want to unlock.
  3. Once that’s done, go ahead and move to the Order Information view. 
  4. You should the get a ‘Lock/Suspend’ link. Click on it. It’ll take you to another page. This is where the actual unlocking happens.
  5. Once there, go ahead and select the ‘No Restriction’ button. Follow that up with clicking the ‘Update’ button.

With that, your domain should no longer be locked.

Note however, that depending on who your provider is, there may be a few differences in the name or description of the various buttons, etc. The process though is relatively the same.

Summary

Unlocking your domain should not prove to be a difficult task. However, if you are unable to unlock it using the steps noted above or if your provider doesn’t allow you to unlock the domain yourself, go ahead and contact them for assistance.