Domains terminology

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

By default, your primary domain, known as your .myshopify.com URL, looks like your-store-name.myshopify.com. Your .myshopify.com URL is used to log into your store.

You can't change your .myshopify.com URL, but you can buy a custom domain name through Shopify or from any third-party domain registrar, which you can then make your primary domain.

When you buy a domain, you can choose a root domain and create subdomains for your online store.

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 IP address associated with it. In this case, you want your A record to point to Shopify’s IP address.

If you use a third-party domain, then Shopify's IP address is 23.227.38.65. To connect an existing domain, you need to set your A record to Shopify's IP address.

Other terms: Address record, host record

CNAME record

A CNAME record is a DNS setting that points your subdomains to another domain name. In this case, you want your CNAME record to point to your Shopify-hosted domain by using shops.myshopify.com Copy .

Other terms: CNAME resource record, alias

DNS

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 shopify.com is 23.227.38.65. 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.

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 forwarding

Email forwarding is a service that lets you direct an email from your custom domain to an existing email account with Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or another provider. For example, if you own the domain name johns-apparel.com, then you can create the email info@johns-apparel.com for your customers. When customers email info@johns-apparel.com, their messages are forwarded to your existing personal account, for example, john@gmail.com.

ICANN

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. If you want to sell to buyers in multiple countries, then you can use international domains to display your online store in the language and local currency that are specific to each region or country. 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 show the correct version of your store to local buyers in a specific country or region. For example, if you sell only to buyers 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 23.227.38.65. 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:

  • 23.227.38.32
  • 23.227.38.36
  • 23.227.38.65 to 23.227.38.74

Your Shopify domain can switch between these IP addresses at any time. To find your current Shopify IP address, from your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Domains > DNS Settings and then check the A record section.

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 emails reach you if your main email server is down.

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

Primary domain

In Shopify, a primary domain is the domain name that is displayed in the address bar while 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.

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 shopify.com.

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

SSL certificate

An SSL certificate is a security protocol that creates a safe connection between a server and a browser to keep your and your customers’ information secure. In your Shopify admin, you can activate an SSL certificate to encrypt your online store's content and publish it securely using HTTPS instead of HTTP. When you activate an SSL certificate, the SSL padlock icon appears beside your online store's URL in the address bar.

Other terms: Secure Sockets Layer

Subdirectory

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 shopify.com/pricing, /pricing is the subdirectory. A subdirectory is different from a subdomain because it's used mainly for organizing your website, while a subdomain can take you to an entirely different website. An example of a subdirectory in your online store is /collections.

Subdomain

A subdomain is a subset of your root domain that you add as a prefix to your root domain. For example, in the URL help.shopify.com, shopify.com 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 want to sell to buyers 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 shopify.com, the top-level domain is .com and the second-level domain is shopify.

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 contactprivacy.com 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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