Shared web hosting makes it possible for you to add additional domain names to your hosting plan without having to establish new services. It works by attaching additional domains to the primary domain you have registered with your hosting provider. All of the information and data associated with the new domain is found on the same server as your main domain, but website visitors assume they are visiting an entirely separate entity.
What does this mean to you as a Shopify user? It means that you can create multiple websites with different domain names in order to expand your reach. Managing domain names in Shopify is relatively straightforward, as well.
When you first signed up for web hosting service, we assume you chose a custom domain name. This is probably true even if you went right through Shopify rather than a separate hosting provider. In either case, that domain name is considered your root domain. Within Shopify, there are lots of things you can do with this root domain, including:
- adding custom domains under it
- enabling SSL certificates on any of your domains you choose
- managing renewal of any of your domains registered through Shopify
- managing e-mail forwarding addresses for each domain
- removing domains that you no longer need or want.
We will not cover every option in the list, given that most of them are pretty straightforward. But we will talk about the first two in this two-part blog series.
Adding Custom Domains
All domain management within Shopify begins on the ‘Domains’ page within your administration panel. Navigate to Online Store > Domains to get started. You will be presented with a dialogue box that allows you to either set a primary domain or manage existing domains.
In the upper right corner, you should see two buttons enabling you to add an existing domain that you already own or purchase a domain from Shopify. It is easier to buy a domain from Shopify because they can do the entire set up for you. If you already own a domain, you will need to do the setup yourself.
Contact the company from whom you purchased the domain – you will need both the DNS and CNAME records edited. These two records tell web browsers where to go when looking for your new domain. The company that sold you the domain will need both the actual web address of your Shopify store and the DNS numbers for your current host. They can either edit the records for you or explain how to do it yourself.
With all of that complete, you will need to claim your domain name in Shopify. That is what the ‘Add an existing domain‘ button is for. Click that button, then check the circle next to ‘Add a domain name you already own‘. Type in the domain name and click the ‘Add Domain‘ button. You can repeat this process for every additional domain or subdomain you add.