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ICANN 60 Day Lock: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

What is the ICANN 60 day lock?

Why does it put your domain under lock for a couple of months? 🤷‍♂️

To answer these questions, we first need to understand that ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This body regulates all domain name registrations, the allocation of IP (Internet Protocol) address space, management of the DNS (Domain Name System), and more to help maintain the stability and security of the internet.

Now that we’re clear on the big job that ICANN does, we can dive deeper into understanding this 📅 60 day lock and why it’s an important part of keeping your domain secure.

📚 Table of contents:

What is the ICANN 60 day lock?

ICANN homepage.

The ICANN 60 day lock is sometimes referred to as the “register lock” or “transfer lock.” In a nutshell, it’s a security feature that was designed by ICANN to help protect our domains.

As the name suggests, when this lock is in place, we can’t transfer our domains from one registrar to another for a period of 60 days. This waiting period gives us time to detect and address any suspicious activity.

Why is it necessary?

It might be challenging for anyone in today’s fast-paced world to accept that they may need to wait two months to do anything over the internet. That’s not what we’re used to.

While it can feel frustrating, there are actually some incredible benefits to this transfer lock. These include:

It prevents unauthorized domain transfers

We’ve already touched a little bit on this, but let’s talk about it more practically.

Imagine you’ve just bought your domain and spent time and money setting up your online store.

And then suddenly, someone tries to take (aka steal) your domain.

With the ICANN 60 day lock, you won’t have to imagine this because the lock helps to prevent such attempts. As soon as you purchase a domain, the lock is activated and any transfer requests are put on hold.

It reduces the risk of domain hijacking

UpGuard describes domain hijacking as “the act of changing the registration of a domain name without the permission of the original owner, or by abuse of privileges on domain hosting and domain registrar systems” [1].

There are different forms of domain hijacking:

  • There can be a communication disruption where hackers interfere with your communication channels like your email or web
  • Hackers can hijack a domain to sell it or hold it for ransom
  • Hackers can also hijack a domain to redirect traffic from one domain to another
  • Domain hijackers can also attack a domain and steal valuable personal data

With the ICANN 60 day lock in place, it’s harder for hackers to attack your domain in any of these ways.

It enhances security

From preventing unauthorized transfers and domain hijacking, it’s clear that the overall purpose of the lock is to help add another layer of security to your domain.

So, you can think of this transfer lock like having a security system that watches over your domain, ensuring no unexpected changes occur.

Note that many domain registrars offer a separate domain locking feature, but this can be toggled on and off at any time by anyone who gains access to your account. This makes them less secure than the ICANN 60 day lock and makes it essential to use strong passwords and other security measures for long-term protection.

What triggers the ICANN 60 day lock?

Now that we have a better understanding of the transfer lock and some of its benefits, let’s discuss what online activities trigger it.

🔒 There are three things you can do to trigger the lock:

1. When you register your domain

After you register a new domain, the ICANN 60 day lock is automatically implemented.

As we’ve already discussed, this is a necessary precaution to help prevent the risk of domain hijacking immediately after you purchase a new domain.

During this period, you can’t transfer your domain to another registrar, even if you are the legitimate owner. You’ll have to wait until the period is over to do so.

2. When you’ve just transferred your domain

As soon as you’ve successfully transferred your domain from one registrar to another, this triggers the ICANN 60 day lock.

This is a security measure in place to help prevent unauthorized transfers during the migration process, allowing you to validate and complete the transfer securely.

3. When you change any of your contact information

When we register new domains, ICANN requires these registrations to have a registrant, administrator, and a technical contact. This contact will include names, phone numbers, and email addresses (of yourself or your registrar).

If, at any point, you wish to change an email address or any other contact information that’s related to your domain, this will trigger the 60-day lock.

It’s a necessary security measure to help ensure that there’s a buffer time that allows you to validate the amended details. No malicious attempts to attack your domain can take place during this period.

FAQs about the ICANN 60 day lock

Does the lock prevent my domain from working?

No. The ICANN 60 day lock does not prevent your domain from functioning or being accessible. If you’ve already set up your website, your online visitors will be able to access it. Remember that this lock is solely a protective measure related to domain transfers, registrations, or changes in contact information. During the lock period, your website and its associated services will remain operational.

I’ve just registered my domain and want to transfer it. Is there a way to fast-track the lock period?

No. There is no way to fast-track the ICANN 60-day lock process. The duration is a mandatory waiting period imposed by ICANN as a security measure. This waiting period cannot be expedited or bypassed.

Can I opt out of the 60-day lock period?

Registrars are required by ICANN to impose the lock, based on the triggers we mentioned above. However, ICANN does highlight that “registrars may allow registrants to opt out of the 60-day lock prior to the change of registrant request.” So, if you would like to opt out, you will need to contact your domain registrar to see if they will allow you to.

Final words about the transfer lock 🏁

By now, we hope you understand what the ICANN 60 day lock is and why it’s such an important security measure for your domain.

👉 As highlighted, there are three activities that can trigger it:

  • When you’ve just registered your domain
  • When you’ve just transferred your domain to a new registrar
  • When you’ve just changed your contact details

While it can be frustrating if you’d like to transfer a domain in that period, the good news is that it doesn’t disrupt the normal functioning of your website, and it’s an overall security measure that’s there to help protect your valuable domain.

Domain security shouldn’t be an afterthought. Find out more about how to keep your domain – and yourself – safe with our guide to domain protection.