Buying custom domains through your store admin

Your website with the online store that you get upon signing up is located on a free default URL in the form of store123.company.site. You can change that default URL to a custom one, e.g., coffee-store.com. A unique domain helps you establish your brand and build trust in your online store. It may also improve your site ranking in search results.

The easiest way to connect a unique domain is to purchase it directly from your store admin. That requires no manual setup, and the domain connects automatically after purchasing. You can use domains with your Instant Site only. 

Buying a domain through your store admin is not available for stores on Apple in-app billing. You can buy a domain with a third-party service if you are on the App Store (iTunes) billing.

Considerations before purchasing a domain

Here’s what you need to know before you proceed with purchasing a domain through your online store:

  • Domains are registered for one year and auto-renewed annually.
  • Renewals are charged separately from your online store subscription charges. Depending on your location, your renewal price might include taxes.
  • Domains have a free TLS certificate. TLS is a digital protocol that ensures the security of your site, online transactions, and your customers’ data.
  • Domains include the WHOIS privacy service that keeps your personal contact information private. WHOIS protects you from spam or stealing your domain.

Buying a domain through your store admin

You can purchase a domain for your Instant Site directly from the store admin. After the purchase, the domain is automatically connected to your site. Once a domain is connected, new links appear in customer order notifications and invoices. Domains are stored on the Website → Domain page, where you can see the domain price and the next billing date.

To come up with the best web address for your site, check out tips for choosing a domain name.

To purchase a domain through your store admin: 

  1. From your store admin, go to Websites → Domains.
  2. In the Domain name and site address, click Buy New Domain.
  3. Enter a domain name and an extension (e.g., .com, .net) in the search field. For example, mydomain.com. Click Search.
  4. Review available domains and their prices. The price may vary depending on the name length or extension. Choose a preferred domain and click Next Step.
  5. Enter the information about the domain owner. Make sure you entered the correct email address since you will need to verify your contact information via email. Click Next Step.
  6. Your credit card or PayPal account that you used to pay for your online store account will be chosen as a default payment method. To change the payment method for domain purchase, click Change.
  7. Click Buy Domain.
  8. Verify your email address to complete your domain registration. Check the mailbox you specified during the purchase process and follow the instructions in the email. Domains with unverified emails will be suspended.

That’s it. It may take up to 48 hours to connect your domain to your Instant Site. Meanwhile, your Instant Site will still be available on your secondary domain which is your free web address. Your free subdomain can be used as a backup option in case you disconnect the primary domain. There’s no redirection from secondary domains to the primary domain. All domains are stored on the Website → Domain page, where you can see the domain price and the next billing date.

Changing a primary domain

When you buy a domain through your store admin for the first time, it becomes the primary domain of your Instant Site. In other words, primary domain is the main web address of your site. Links in customer notifications and invoices will lead to your primary web address. You can change the primary domain to a different URL.

To change the primary domain, you need to buy another custom domain in your store admin and then switch to it. You will keep both domains in your store admin: your Instant Site will be available on both domains, but links in order notifications and invoices will lead to the primary domain only.

Switching between domains affects your SEO ranking, so change your site’s URL only if it's absolutely necessary. 

To replace the primary domain of your Instant Site:

  1. Buy a second domain through your store admin.
  2. Go to Websites.
  3. Scroll down to the Your secondary domains section.
  4. Choose the domain that you want to use as your main site’s address and click Manage.
  5. Click Make Primary.

That’s it. You have to wait up to 48 hours before your Instant Site address is updated. There will be no redirects from the old URL, so don’t forget to update your site’s name in marketing campaigns or on social media.

To change a domain purchased from a third-party service, you need to buy a new domain from your registrar and then connect it to your Instant Site.

Disconnecting a domain purchased through store admin

You can disconnect a domain from your Instant Site. After disconnecting you will still own the domain for the whole remaining time you paid for and will be able to reconnect the domain until your ownership has expired. If you don’t reconnect the domain before your ownership expires, it becomes available for registration by someone else.

Domain registration and renewal fees are non-refundable.

Once you disconnect domain:

  • Your Instant Site no longer will open via the disconnected domain.
  • Instant Site will remain connected to a free subdomain.
  • In case you own another domain purchased from your store admin, it will become your Instant Site primary domain instead of a free subdomain.

To disconnect a domain from your Instant Site:

  1. From your store admin, go to Websites.
  2. Under the section with your domain name, click the disconnect it from your store link.
  3. Click Disconnect Domain.

That’s it! Now Your Instant Site is no longer open by the old link. Instead, it will be located on your free subdomain. In case you own another domain purchased from your store admin, it will become your Instant Site primary domain instead of a free subdomain.

Reconnecting a domain purchased through store admin

When you disconnect a domain purchased from your store admin, you cancel your annual subscription. Still, you own a domain for the whole year you paid for it, and you can reconnect a domain within that year.

Reconnecting a domain means that:

  • You re-subscribe to yearly domain renewal.
  • Your Instant Site will be available on the reconnected domain. The reconnected domain becomes primary if at the moment of reconnecting your main domain is a built-in subdomain. If your primary domain is another domain purchased from your store admin, the reconnected domain becomes secondary.

To reconnect a domain to your Instant Site:

  1. From your store’s admin, go to Websites.
  2. Near the disconnected domain, click Manage.
  3. Click Reconnect.
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