It is common for new Shopify users to purchase a domain at the time they first sign up for a Shopify plan. Some eventually decide to transfer their site to a new web hosting company for one reason or another. In order to facilitate this, the domain has to be transferred away from Shopify and to the new host.
Transferring is not necessarily a complicated process, but there are two choices:
- leaving the domain name intact and simply redirecting it; or
- separating both your site and your domain from Shopify entirely.
Any plans to move to a new web hosting company will require you to make one of the two choices listed above. You cannot do both. The explanation below should help you understand the two options.
Leaving Your Domain Intact
Shopify does not directly register domains. That’s handled by a company known as OpenSRS. When you purchased your domain through Shopify, they simply acted as the intermediary to contact OpenSRS and register the domain under your name. Therefore, OpenSRS is what is known in the industry as the ‘registrar’. They can remain your registrar if you wish.
To leave your domain intact with OpenSRS as the registrar requires just two steps:
- Contact Shopify to request login credentials for OpenSRS.
- Log in to your OpenSRS account and change the DNS name servers.
Your new web hosting company will tell you what your new DNS name servers are. There will be two of them. Just enter the data exactly as you see it. That’s all there is to it. You can make the change in mere minutes, though it may take several hours for the modification to propagate across the web.
Complete Shopify Separation
If you want to completely separate both your site and your domain from Shopify, you will start by following the process outlined above. For the purposes of this explanation, we will assume your new web hosting company will be your registrar as well.
Once your site is up and running on the new hosting company’s servers and your domain has been redirected, you should be able to login to your Shopify site as normal. Changing DNS name servers just redirects requests for your site to the new host rather than to Shopify servers. The last step is to request a domain transfer.
Your new web hosting company will initiate the transfer for you after you make a formal request. There should be an option for doing so after you login to your account. However, you will have to go into OpenSRS and unlock the domain before requesting a transfer, and you’ll also need to ask for an authentication code from OpenSRS. You must give that code to your new registrar in order to complete the transfer.
The process sounds complicated, but it’s not. You can always contact the support departments of your new web hosting company and OpenSRS if you run into trouble with the transfer.