If you are here, you probably know that you need a domain name when creating an online store with Shopify. Two options are available – you can buy your domain name through Shopify or a domain name registrar (like Namecheap). Like many other Shopify store owners, you are probably wondering whether to buy your domain name from Shopify or not. Good news, you’ve come to the right place as you’d have an answer to your question soon.
Shopify makes it easy to set up and buy a domain name but there are drawbacks such as higher costs, not having full control and flexibility, and the long and often stressful process of transferring your domain elsewhere. Buying a domain from Shopify or not is more of a personal decision than a business one.
If you want to have a domain set up as quickly as possible and don’t want to worry about codes and all, then it makes sense to buy a domain name from Shopify. But there are other things to consider than just the ease of setup. We’ll be discussing these other factors below. By the time you finish reading this article, the hope is that you’ll be able to decide if buying a domain from Shopify is right for you or not.
Should you buy your domain from Shopify?
Shopify provides a free trial and allows its users to create a store using a subdomain of Shopify. However, no one would take you seriously if you are using Shopify’s subdomain. So when you are ready to launch your brand, you need to buy a custom domain.
It’s easy for Shopify store owners to set up a domain through Shopify and this is the biggest selling point behind Shopify domains. So as a Shopify user, it makes sense to buy domains from Shopify, right? It would seem so but there are several factors you have to consider before buying your domains from Shopify.
We feel it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of buying your domain name through Shopify. This will help you make informed decisions when deciding whether to buy a domain through Shopify or not.
What are the pros and cons of purchasing a domain name through Shopify?
The biggest pro of buying a domain name through Shopify as discussed above is that it’s easy. Shopify does everything for you and should be your choice for purchasing domain names if you are looking for ease of use and no configuration.
Also, it’s easy to set up email forwarding using your domain if you bought it from Shopify. There’s no need to set up other software or anything as may be required if you are getting your domain from a name registrar.
Shopify domains allow you to create email accounts for your domains. Usually, domain name registrars would require you to pay a small fee to create email accounts.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine with Shopify domains. While you get incredible ease of setup and no configuration when you purchase your domain through Shopify, there are also a couple of cons.
The main con of getting a domain from Shopify is that it is more expensive. It’s generally cheaper to buy your domain and email hosting from other domain name registrars.
Also, your domain name is tied to Shopify hosting. Generally, it’s better that you keep your domain and businesses separate from your e-commerce platform. You may want to move your domain from Shopify in the future and this will be a lot easier if your domain name isn’t tied to Shopify.
Can you move your domain name from Shopify?
Like we said earlier, having all of your services tied to one company is never a good idea. Your store is already tied to Shopify and buying a domain name from the platform ties your domain name, CMS, and hosting to Shopify.
You get the ease of setup and use as we’ve mentioned several times already but this comes at the expense of the ease of moving your domain name from Shopify.
Make no mistake, you can move your domain name from Shopify. The process is called domain name transfer. Moving your domain name from Shopify is a very complicated process that will cost you quite a lot of money and effort.
It’s due to the stress of moving your domain from Shopify that we recommend that users register their domains through a domain name registrar. Your business could really grow in the future and you might want to move from domain Shopify for more control and flexibility in your store, theme, website, feel, and so on.
Does Shopify provide a free domain?
When you register on Shopify, you technically get a free domain. This free domain runs on the Shopify Domain Services and your store URL will end in .myshopify.com. So if your store name is The Greatest Store, your free Shopify domain will be thregreateststore.myshopify.com.
You can keep using this free domain until you are ready to launch your brand. Also, you get to test Shopify’s services while using this free extension before you commit.
Ultimately, you will need to buy a custom domain when you are ready to launch your brand. The free .myshopify.com extension is not memorable or extendable.
How much does it cost to buy a domain on Shopify?
Buying a domain name from Shopify is going to cost you around $14 per year. Your domain name registration will expire after a year and you will need to renew it before the expiry date.
Actually, domain name pricing on Shopify starts at $11 per year but the exact amount will depend on the top-level domain (TLD) extension you choose. For the exact price of your domain name and availability, use Shopify’s domain name generator.
Note that you can’t change the URL of your domain after purchase and domain purchases through Shopify are non-refundable.
Typically, renewal fees are higher than the registration rates and will depend on the type of domain you opt for such as .com, .ca, or .biz. Except the renewal fee to be somewhere between $18 – $25.
You’ll be able to edit your domain settings, create subdomains, pay for your domain, and also renew your domain on the Domains page of your Shopify admin.
Registering a domain name on domain name registrars will be cheaper. Namecheap, for example, has a domain registration fee of $8.88 and the renewal fee is usually around this fee.
Should you transfer your domain to Shopify?
As we said earlier, it’s advisable to keep your e-commerce platform and domain separate and not tied to the same company. But you might want to transfer your domain to Shopify to enjoy the superb ease of use and support that Shopify provides.
Transferring your domain to Shopify allows you to manage all of your domain settings directly in your Shopify admin. Adjusting domain settings, creating subdomains, paying and renewing your domains are things you’ll be able to do on the Domains page.
However, there are several requirements a domain must meet before it is eligible for transfer to Shopify. Here they are.
1. You must have registered your domain for more than 60 days. If your domain hasn’t been registered for up to 60 days, you will need to exercise some patience and wait until your domain reaches the old ripe age of 60 days.
2. Only eligible domains can be transferred to Shopify. This shouldn’t be an issue since most domains are eligible for transfer to Shopify. However, there are some domains like .ca domains that can be transferred to Shopify.
3. It’ll take up to 20 days for your domain to be completely transferred to Shopify after you initiate the transfer process. Patience is a virtue, fellas.
4. You’ll have to register your domain on Shopify for 12 months. Don’t worry, the 12 months is added to the current expiry date of your domain. But it seems you gotta show some commitment to Shopify, haha.
5. You must be able to access your original domain provider account as well as the email account you use to log in to it. Easy peasy.
6. Shopify recommends that you use an email address that doesn’t belong to the domain you want to transfer. The reason for this is to avoid missing important confirmation emails during the confirmation process. Makes sense, right?
7. Monitoring and responding to confirmation emails throughout the transfer process is crucial for a successful transfer of your domain to Shopify.
Can’t buy a domain on Shopify: Here’s how to solve it?
It’s not uncommon for people to have issues when trying to buy a domain from Shopify. There are several reasons why you may have problems buying a domain from Shopify but here are the most popular ones
Formatting issues with a phone number: You need to input the correct dial code of your country else you will experience issues when trying to buy a domain on Shopify. Also, you may correctly input your country’s dial code but format your phone number differently than expected.
You can check and edit your phone under Settings > General section of your admin page. Ensure you input the correct dial code of your country and use the formatting you see there.
Formatting issues with your billing address: You’ll have to provide a billing address when buying a domain through Shopify. Shopify requires your billing address to have a number and street names should not be abbreviated. Avenue should be completely spelled instead of using ‘Av’. Same with Road (don’t use ‘Rd’) and Street instead of ‘St’.
Browser issue: Sometimes your browser is the issue. Shopify recommends using a Chrome browser. You should also clear your cache before trying to purchase a domain if the previous attempt failed and you’ve used the fixes we discussed above.
You can find more information about how this on the Shopify community page.