I don’t do much with the hosting side of things to often, so before I go and transfer I site just want to check and make sure I’m not going to mess things up. I want to transfer the domain name and hosting from another company to Dreamhost, all I need to do (as far as I can tell) is unlock the domain at the current hosting company and go through the transfer page on my web panel with DH. Do I need to set the DNS to ns1.dreamhost.com with the old hosting company or not? Kind of confused on that part. Anything I’m missing?
In addition to unlocking, you need to make sure it’s not an anonymous registration, such as GoDaddy’s Privacy Manager, or DreamHost’s Anonymous WHOIS service.
You also need the Authorization code from your old registrar to prove it’s a legitimate request. It’s usually a 10 or so digit code.
You don’t need to update DNS, but the sooner your DNS says ns1.dreamhost.com, etc., the sooner you can host your site here. A registration transfer may take a week, but making that DNS update only takes a day or so.