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How to add a custom domain name to a Shopify store

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If you are following along in our How to Build a Shopify Store in 2022 guide, you might wonder why a custom domain name is the second topic after creating your Shopify account and test store? Even if you are not yet actively developing your Shopify store? Or before obtaining various business documents or licenses?

Our recommendation would be to secure your custom domain name as one of the first steps in your business planning. Why? Purchasing a custom domain name is one of the smallest expenses in your business planning and you will be assured of having your first choice of domains for your business as opposed to finding it already registered!

Review the three options of adding a domain name from Shopify help.

There are three options in how custom domain names can be added to Shopify stores:

Connect existing domain (a third-party domain automatically or manually)

If you do have some experience (or are working with a developer that does) connecting an existing domain may be the best option. If you are comfortable in accessing and modifying the A and CNAME records in the DNS settings or domain management area or have a developer that can, review the Shopify help page for manual transfer.

If you have your domain registered at Google Domains, GoDaddy, or 1&1 IONOS, you can transfer your domain automatically without modifying the A or CNAME records. For auto migration of your domain, review the Shopify help page for automatic transfer.

As a general recommendation, connecting an existing domain offers the most control and functionality when changes or updates are necessary such as moving to a different e-commerce platform.

Transfer domain a third-party domain to Shopify

The second option of transferring a domain to Shopify may be the least desirable of the three options. If you do want to transfer a domain and you have recently purchased it, there is a 60 day waiting period before the domain can be transferred. This would not be convenient if you have just purchased the domain and the connecting an existing domain option would be preferable due to no waiting period. The second disadvantage would be that you need to pay the registration fee to renew your domain for an additional 12 months. For transferring a domain, review the Shopify help page for transferring a domain.

Buy new domain directly within Shopify

If you don’t have experience with domain name registrars, buying a domain via Shopify may be your best option as everything can be managed within Shopify instead of a third party domain registrar. One major disadvantage would be if you wanted to switch to a different e-commerce solution, you would have to first coordinate the transfer via Shopify as opposed to just repointing the DNS settings via your domain provider. For buying a new domain, review the Shopify help page for buying a new domain.

Please contact us if you have comments or questions.

As a reminder, we are not accountants or lawyers, information provided in this guide are our opinions only on best practices in web development in setting up a Shopify store and should not be considered legal advice.