Domain names and transfers

On the Internet, the company providing your website to the public (the hosting) is technically separate from the company that owns your domain name (the registrar) -- although they can often be the same company.

As a school chapter, you won't have to worry about any of this: PBJ will professionally manage both the hosting and the domain name for you, and pay for both the hosting and the domain name as long as you remain on our network.


Do not be misinformed: we provide full assistance when transferring domain names.

Our staff will, when possible, handle the full domain transfer process from start to finish. Some service providers restrict our ability to provide such assistance: in those cases, we will share with you specific step-by-step instructions.

Most of our schools will either transfer an existing domain name to us, or work with our team to decide on a new domain name. We purchase and indefinitely renew domain names for most common suffixes (.com, .org, .net, .us).

In some very uncommon cases, you may opt not to transfer your domain name to us. We don't recommend this because it significantly increases both your and our administrative burden. We are also unable to cover the costs of your domain name if it is not technically owned by us. Nevertheless, we can offer such an arrangement if it is necessary (for example, some schools require that they remain "on file" for the domain name).

If you ever need to migrate away from PBJ, we will-- as part of our outbound migration process-- assist you in transferring your domain name to a new service provider. We will never hold your domain name hostage.

Turnaround times for purchases, transfers, and other options

OptionTurnaround timeWho pays and manages?
We buy you a new domain name (common)
(.com, .org, .net, .us, and other common suffixes)
2-3 days, after we initiate
(We will handle the entire procedure)
PBJ pays
PBJ manages
Transfer from major registrar (common)
(GoDaddy, DreamHost, NameCheap, etc)
4-6 days, after we initiate
(We will handle the entire procedure)
PBJ pays
PBJ manages
Transfer from domain managed by SNO7-10 days, after we initiate
(We will provide precise instructions)
PBJ pays
PBJ manages
Use, but let us manage, your own domain name
(Your school obligates domain name ownership)
(We discourage this option)
1-2 days, after we initiate
(You handle the procedure)
You own
PBJ manages
Point your own domain name to us
(You need to own and manage your domain name)
(We strongly discourage this option)
1-2 days, after we initiate
(You handle the procedure)
You own
You manage

Using a new domain name

Most schools that do not already publish online or do not already own a domain name for their publication take advantage of our domain name services. We'll work with you to find a suitable option and then purchase it on your behalf.

  • When selecting a domain name, we recommend a domain name that is short and directly related to your publication name. If such a domain name is taken, we recommend adding the school initials in front of the domain name.
  • We recommend .com domain names as opposed to other types of domain names, because they are easier to remember and more ubiquitous. If you must pick between a domain name and a longer .com domain name, it is usually better to pick the latter.
  • We recommend that you avoid name conflicts with other popular newspapers.

Transferring an existing domain name


Domain transfers from SNO take longer.

Because of the way that SNO has chosen to handle domain transfers to PBJ (we are unable to complete one of the steps for you), we estimate that domain transfers from SNO will take 3-4 days longer, on average. Detailed instructions and procedures are included below.


Nov. 2016 update: unlocking domains from SNO

We have noticed that over 75% of our domain transfers from SNO do not succeed because (a) SNO says they have unlocked domain names but in actuality have not, or (b) SNO performs an "internal transfer" between two separate registrars and thus prevents additional transfers from occurring for a period of time.

While frustrating, we're committed to working with, not against, SNO to resolve these issues. When initiating transfers away from SNO, please verify with their staff that the domain name has indeed been unlocked, and that no "internal transfer" has occurred.

We provide fully handled transfers for most registrars

In most cases, we're able to provide a fully assisted transfer. During this process, a member of our staff will reach out to you and confirm your (a) registrar company, (b) domain name details, and (c) registrar control panel login information.

That staff member will then access your account and set up your domain name information for you. We'll then let you know when the migration is complete. We estimate this process to take around 4-6 days.

Keep in mind that the Internet is structured such that domain ownership changes will "propagate" slowly-- that is, it takes around 1-2 days to inform the various parts of Internet infrastructure of the domain's new destination.

We ask that you be available via email during the migration process so we can request additional information as necessary.

SNO-owned domains, and other transfers we cannot fully handle

If your provider does not allow PBJ to log into your registrar control panel for you, we will be unable to fully handle your transfer. In that case, the process is still simple-- and we will be available every step of the way.

1Change the email address on file for the domain name.

We'll provide you a special PBJ support email address. Note that you may possibly have to change the email address in three different locations-- administrative, technical, and billing contacts.

(If your registrar does not permit you to change the email address to a PBJ-owned address, you can also change it to your personal email address and then forward us all emails related to the transfer.)
2Request that your domain name is "unlocked", allowing it to be transferred to a new registrar.
3Send the staff member handling your transfer the domain's "transfer authorization code".

This code is sometimes called the "EPP code" or "auth code". It is usually a long string of characters that serves as a password to protect against unauthorized transfers.
4That's it! We'll handle it from here.