This is the second post in the Buying Your First Website – A Case Study series. Please note these posts are a case study about buying a start-up site. You can find the other post here:

You’ve found an established website for sale, done your due diligence, bid and won the auction. Congratulations on your buying your first website on Flippa! What now? Here are a few pointers to ensure the website and domain transfer goes smoothly.

Correspondence – Keep it in

First a word on correspondence. We recommend that you keep all correspondence between you and the seller within the Flippa private message area. This ensures there’s a message audit trail that can be referenced in the event of a dispute. If you correspond via email or, worse, instant messaging, we have no record of who said or promised what and no recourse in the event of a dispute.

Initiating the Transaction

As with every transaction in life, there is an element of risk associated. When a transaction takes place both buyer and seller are at risk if the other party does not honor the spirit of the transaction. Some sellers opt to negate risk by using Escrow which is a more secure form of transaction. Some notes on the two main payment options are as follows:

  • PayPal
    PayPal has become a ubiquitous form of payment on the web and is a quick and easy way to pay a seller. Some seller may not accept PayPal.
  • Escrow
    Many sellers prefer Escrow as it provides a greater level of security. Similar to a trust, funds are held by by a third party until both buyer and seller are happy that the transfer of files and domain name have been completed.


Some sellers will offer a period of free hosting which is a great value add in an auction, however if you want to ensure full control over your website, we recommend setting up your own website hosting account with a third party and transferring the site across as soon as you can. (Note: this can have SEO implications). You can then either ask the seller to move the website to your hosting environment as part of the sale terms, or move it over yourself. Ask the seller for their preference or make sure you stipulate the proffered method when communicating with the seller prior to purchase.

Obviously some experience is required here so make sure you know what you’re doing. There are many affordable website hosting plans to choose from; we recommend you do your research and find a reputable hosting provider such as Hostgator (aff). If you plan on buying more sites make sure you purchase an account that can handle more than one domain.

Transferring the Domain Name

After setting up the website on your hosting account, it’s time transfer the domain name. Ask the seller to change the DNS (Domain Name Server) settings to your hosting account DNS settings prior to transfer.

When purchasing my first site, I discovered you cannot transfer a domain name to another domain registrar if it is less that 60 days old. If this is a concern, register an account with the domain registrar that the seller is using and they should be able to pass the ownership to you.

When the seller confirms that the domain name has been transferred, check the WHOIS data to confirm.

What’s Next?

Hopefully all has gone smoothly and you now have full control over your new website, so what now? The next post in this series will focus on updating content, affiliate links and tracking codes.