There are a few semi-tricky things to navigate when setting up a store on Shopify. Domain hosting falls into that category. A question we often hear from newcomers is, “Does Shopify give you a free domain?
When using the free trial version – you use a subdomain through Shopify. Yet, if you want people to take your brand seriously, you need to break free of that. So yes, in a sense, you get a free domain, but it ends in .myshopify.com. To launch your brand, you’ll need a professional custom domain.
That should clear up the confusion around whether you get a free domain with Shopify. You can also purchase custom domains through Shopify – but should you? Read on to find out.
Domain Hosting Through Shopify – Is It a Good Idea?
It may seem like a no-brainer to buy a domain from Shopify since you use their platform. Yet the situation is a bit more nuanced than that.
It’s essential to weigh out the pros and cons involved with using Shopify for domain hosting. Also, each Shopify store will have differing needs, so bear that in mind.
The first and most obvious advantage of buying a domain from Shopify is that it’s quick and easy. If ease of use is your top priority then, by all means, take advantage of Shopify’s domain hosting.
Another perk is that it’s effortless to forward emails using your Shopify domain. You won’t need to set up any additional software to configure your emails.
You can also create an email address for your domain at no additional cost. Most domain registrars require fees for creating email addresses.
So if you want a custom domain with an email address that’s easy to use – go through Shopify. You won’t have any trouble or confusion when setting up your domain or forwarding emails.
You also get an SSL certificate whenever you buy a domain through Shopify. That saves you additional money – as you don’t need to pay for SSL encryption.
Not everything is ideal with Shopify’s custom domains. For one – they’re expensive. It’s often a lot cheaper to use a domain registrar than to use Shopify.
If your budget is a genuine concern – you can save money by purchasing a domain elsewhere. Even with the ability to add an email address for free – it’s still more affordable to use other companies.
Also, it’s desirable to keep your domain and business separate instead of together. When you have a domain from Shopify – you’re tied to its hosting.
Why is that a problem? Let’s say that after a few years of selling through Shopify, you want to scale your business beyond it. You want to move your domain away from the platform to go to greener pastures – but you’re tied to Shopify. That’s why it’s better to use an outside source for your domain.
Can You Move Your Shopify Domain?
As you can see – the ease of setup comes at the cost of getting tied to one company. If you use Shopify for your hosting, CMS, and domain name – all your eggs are in one basket.
As stated before – when stores scale and grow beyond Shopify – they often move their domains.
If you have a Shopify domain – that’s harder to do than with a custom domain from an outside source. While it’s difficult – it’s still not impossible. There is a way to move your domain name away from Shopify.
It’s called a domain name transfer – but it’s a complicated and costly process.
We recommend only using Shopify for your domain if you don’t plan on scaling your operation. If you run a small business that’s content where it’s at – you can benefit from a Shopify domain.
What Is Shopify’s Domain Pricing Like?
If you are going to go with a Shopify domain – it will cost you approximately $14 each year. After 12 months, your registration will expire, and you’ll need to renew it.
The pricing starts at $11 per year – but that’s only the base price. The exact amount will depend on which TLD (top-level domain) extension you choose. These extensions include:
More reputable extensions will cost more than others. It’s essential to know which TLD you need before buying a domain. On average – most Shopify stores will fall under .com for commercial businesses.
How to Buy a Domain Through Shopify
If you’re interested in buying a Shopify domain – you’ll need to know which steps to take. First – you’ll need to settle on a domain name. It’s critical to take this step seriously – as it’s a vital part of your branding. You want your domain to be something catchy and memorable that relates to your business.
You’ll also need to ensure that your domain name is entirely original. To do so, you can use Shopify’s handy domain name generator. Once you’ve settled on a name and a TLD – here’s what you’ll need to do.
- From the Shopify admin – go to Settings and then Domains.
- Click on Buy New Domain.
- Enter the unique domain name that you want to buy.
- Check out the available TLD extensions. If you don’t see the one that you want, you can either select another or start a new search. The availability of TLD extensions is subject to change. If you don’t see your desired TLD extension – try back later.
- Click Buy on your desired domain name.
Next, you’ll need to review your purchase. Please review all the personal information to ensure it’s correct. There’s also an option to auto-renew your domain name each year. You should also confirm if your domain contains WHOIS privacy. That keeps your personal contact information hidden – so it’s highly desirable. We don’t recommend buying a domain that doesn’t have WHOIS privacy.
Closing Thoughts: Does Shopify Give You a Free Domain?
As you can see – there are many nuances involved in choosing a domain. Shopify can host your domain – but it’s costly and has some limitations. You can opt to use a domain registrar instead – as they’re cheaper and more adaptable. If you don’t plan on scaling your store any time soon – then a Shopify domain is a great deal with some convenient perks.
For more great content to help you develop your Shopify strategies, check out the rest of the merchant posts on the site. If you want to see a list of our top recommended Shopify apps visit this link here.