Domains terminology

A domain, or domain name, is the web address or URL that people use to visit your website on the internet. Domain names display in the address bar of your web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari.

To help you understand some of the terminology about domains, the following list contains definitions of common terms.

A record

An A record is a DNS setting that checks whether a domain name has a specific IPv4 address associated with it. In this case, you want your A record to point to Shopify’s IPv4 address.

If you use a third-party domain, then Shopify's IPv4 address is To connect an existing domain, you need to set your A record to Shopify's IPv4 address.

Other terms: Address record, host record

AAAA record

An AAAA record (quad-A) is a DNS setting that checks whether a domain name has a specific IPv6 address associated with it. In this case, you want your AAAA record to point to Shopify’s IPv6 address.

If you use a third-party domain, then Shopify's condensed IPv6 address is 2620:0127:f00f:5::. To connect an existing domain, you need to set your AAAA record to Shopify's IPv6 address.

Some third-party domain providers don't accept a condensed IPv6 address. If Shopify's condensed IPv6 address 2620:0127:f00f:5:: is rejected by your third-party domain provider, then you will need to use the expanded version. Shopify's expanded IPv6 address is 2620:0127:f00f:0005:0000:0000:0000:0000.

CAA record

A CAA (Certification Authority Authorization) record is used to specify which certificate authorities are allowed to issue certificates for a domain. A certificate authority (CA) is a trusted entity that issues electronic documents that verify a digital entity's identity on the Internet.

CNAME record

A canonical name (CNAME) record is a DNS setting that points your subdomains to another domain name.

Other terms: CNAME resource record, alias

DKIM record

Shopify uses the Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) email authentication technique to sign emails with a digital signature. This allows the receiver to check that an email message was sent and authorized by the owner of that domain. If you are using a third-party domain, then adding the Shopify DKIM records to your DNS settings can help prevent notification emails from being flagged as spam.

DMARC record

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication record that helps email providers determine if a message that they receive is allowed to be from that domain. The email has to pass authentication checks to prove that it passes your DMARC requirements. If the email fails DMARC requirements, then the email provider follows the DMARC instructions:

  • p=none: Take no action, as though there is no DMARC record.
  • p=quarantine: Put the email in the recipient's spam folder.
  • p=reject: Don't accept the email at all, and block the email.


Domain Name Systems (DNS) is a database of domain names. Every domain has its own DNS entry. Domain Name Systems organize domain names and translate them from words to numbers so you can visit a website without having to memorize its IP address. For example, the IP address for is Typically, this process works quickly in the background. When you connect a third-party domain to your Shopify store, you might need to change your DNS settings.

You can't change your DNS settings for your domain name. If you want to add records to your domain to connect to a third-party service or set up subdomains, then you need to add a custom domain.

Other terms: DNS records, DNS settings, resource records, DNS file zone

Domain name

A domain name is the address that people use to visit your website on the internet. Domain names appear in the address bar of your web browser and are linked to specific IP addresses.

Other terms: domain

Domain provider

A domain provider is a company that registers your domain name for you. Typically, you purchase a domain on a subscription basis and you pay a regular fee to your domain provider to keep using your domain name.

Other terms: domain registrar, domain host

Email hosting

Email hosting is a service that enables you to set up a custom email address, and then use it to send and receive email messages. Email hosting isn't provided on Shopify, but you can connect a third-party email hosting service to your custom domain.

Email forwarding

Email forwarding is a service that enables you to direct an email message that's sent to one email address to another email address. If you have a Shopify-managed domain, then you can set up an unlimited number of custom domain email addresses that forward to an email account hosted by a third-party. For example, if you own the domain name, then you can create the custom domain email address for your customers to contact and set the forwarding email address to your personal account When customers send an email message to, the email message is forwarded to your existing personal account

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is a web security mechanism that ensures that browsers only connect to your online store over a secure HTTPS connection. Using a secure connection prevents certain kinds of network attacks and helps ensure the safety of your and your customers' information. HSTS is always active on your domain for as long as your domain is connected to your Shopify store.

An HSTS policy can be set on a domain for a fixed length of time. Shopify's default length is 90 days. If you remove a domain or leave Shopify entirely, then this policy remains in effect on your domain for an additional 90 days.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an organization that governs and manages Domain Name Systems and other internet protocols.

International domain

An international domain is a URL that is specific to a country or region. You can use international domains to display your online store in the languages and currencies specific to certain countries or regions. To use international domains, you must be on the Shopify plan or higher.

Other terms: regional domain, regional subdomain

International targeting

International targeting lets you display the correct version of your store to local customers in a specific country or region. For example, if you sell only to customers in the United States, then you can set your store's target country to the United States. You can set a target country or region for each of your store's domains or subdomains in Google Search Console.

Other terms: geo-targeting

IP address

An IP address is a unique string of numbers that specifies the location of a computer or device on the internet and distinguishes it from other computers or devices. An IP address is required for one computer to communicate with other devices over the internet.

If you use a third-party domain, then Shopify's IP address is To connect an existing domain, you need to set your A record to Shopify's IP address.

If you buy a domain through Shopify, or transfer your domain to Shopify, then your domain can have any of the following IP addresses:

  • to

Your Shopify domain can switch between these IP addresses at any time. You can find your current Shopify IP address by viewing the Points to value in the A RECORD section of the DNS Settings page.

Other terms: Internet Protocol address

MX record

An MX record is a DNS setting that points a domain name to a mail server and is used to process emails through your custom domain. You can set up more than one MX record, and add a backup email addresses if you want to make sure that email messages reach you if your main email server is down.

Other terms: Mail Exchange record, Mail eXchanger record, mail server record

Primary domain

In Shopify, your primary domain is the domain name that's displayed in the address bar when customers browse your online store. You can use your root domain or a subdomain as your primary domain, but you can have only one primary domain for your online store.

When you sign up for Shopify, you're given a pre-generated domain. However, you can change the primary domain that customers use to visit your online store. You can choose a new domain name if you want to have a free branded domain you can use for your storefront. You can only change your domain one time. You can also buy a custom domain through Shopify or from any third-party domain registrar and connect it to Shopify. After you add a custom domain to Shopify, then you can set your custom domain as the primary domain.

Root domain

A root domain is the domain name that you purchase from your domain provider. A root domain has a top-level domain (TLD) extension such as .com, .org, or .net, but it does not contain a prefix such as www. An example of a root domain is

Other terms: base domain, top-level domain and second-level domain, apex domain

SPF record

Shopify uses the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to verify your sender email address for the automatic notification emails that your customers receive. Connecting your third-party domain to the Shopify SPF records can help prevent notification emails from being flagged as spam, removes the via Shopify note from the sender information, and displays your sender email address instead of in the sender field.

SSL certificate

See TLS certificate.


A subdirectory is a section of your main website. A subdirectory is defined by a / at the end of the domain name. For example, in the URL, /pricing is the subdirectory. A subdirectory is different from a subdomain because it's used mainly for organizing your website, whereas a subdomain can take you to an entirely different website. Examples of subdirectories on your online store are /collections, /products, and /pages.

You can't edit subdirectory names. Regardless of what domain you're using, the subdirectory names remain the same.


A subdomain is a subset of your root domain that you add as a prefix. For example, in the URL, is the root domain and help. is the subdomain. You can use subdomains to organize your website and make it easier for visitors to find the information that they're looking for. If you're on the Shopify plan or higher and you want to sell to customers in multiple countries or regions, then you can use international domains to set up a regional subdomain for every country or region where you have a target market.

Time to Live

The Time to Live (TTL) value of your domain determines how frequently your DNS records are updated. All domain DNS records have a TTL value. For example, if a record has a TTL of 86400 seconds, then it takes up to 24 hours to go into effect. Changing a record's TTL affects how long it takes any subsequent change to happen.

Top-level and second-level domains

The top-level domain (TLD) and second-level domain are components of the root domain that give hierarchy to the domain structure. For example, in the root domain, the top-level domain is .com and the second-level domain is shopify.

TLS certificate

A TLS certificate is a security protocol that creates a safe connection between a server and a browser, which keeps all connections to Shopify, including your own connections and your customers' connections, secure. In your Shopify admin, you can activate secure connections to your Shopify store to encrypt your online store's content and publish it securely using HTTPS instead of HTTP. When your TLS certificate is activated, a padlock icon displays beside your online store's URL in the address bar.

Other terms: Transport Layer Security, Secure Sockets Layer, SSL

TXT record

A TXT record is a DNS setting. TXT records contain text information that can be used by services outside of your domain. For example, you might add a TXT record that a third-party service has given you to verify with them that you own the domain.

Other terms: Text record

WHOIS privacy

WHOIS is a service you can use to look up information about the owner of a domain name.

WHOIS privacy is a service that hides your domain information from a WHOIS lookup and replaces your contact information with contact details. WHOIS privacy lets your personal contact information remain hidden from the public. You can purchase WHOIS privacy from your domain provider for an additional fee. WHOIS privacy is included when you purchase your domain through Shopify.

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