International domains can help you expand your business to a global audience by creating shopping experiences in local languages and currencies. If you use only one language and currency to target customers from a specific country or region, then you might exclude customers who use other local languages and currencies.
What are international domains?
An international domain or subdomain is a URL that's specific to a country or region.
You can use international domains to create local shopping experiences for specific countries or regions by displaying your Shopify store in the customer’s local currency and language. You can set up international domains and subdomains with both Shopify-managed domains and third-party domains. To use international domains, your account must be on the Shopify, the Advanced Shopify, or the Shopify Plus plan.
When you set up international domains, you can use top-level domains, subdomains, or a combination of both. For example, you can use
your-shop-name.com in the United States, where your online store appears in English and shows prices in USD. In France, where your online store appears in French and shows prices in EUR, you can use
fr.your-shop-name.com. International domains improve localized shopping experiences and can help with selling internationally.
Benefits of setting up international domains
If you want to grow your business globally, then international domains can help you position your business as a global brand.
International domains can have the following benefits for your online store:
- create localized shopping experiences
- appeal to a global market
- ensure that your store meets SEO best practices.
Create localized shopping experiences
Localized experiences affect how customers perceive a brand and how quickly they make a purchase. When online stores appear in a customer’s local language and currency, customers are more likely to make a purchase. By displaying your Shopify store in multiple local languages and currencies, you can customize the shopping experience to international customers.
Appeal to a global market
International domains can help you expand your business to a wider audience. By setting up international domains, you can do the following:
- attract customers from other countries or regions
- build your reputation as an international brand.
Ensure that your store meets SEO best practices
International domains help search engines display the correct region-specific domain when your store appears in search results. For example, search results for customers in the United States display a different URL than search results for customers in Germany. When you set up international domains for a country or region, your products are automatically displayed in the customer’s local currency and language.
International domains have the following SEO benefits for your online store:
- Hreflang tags are automatically added to your store. These tags help search engines target a page to the right audience based on your customer’s location.
- Sitemap files are generated for each domain and language. You can submit these sitemaps into Google Search Console.
Requirements for setting up international domains
Consider the following when you set up international domains:
- To use international domains, you must be on the Shopify plan, Advanced Shopify plan, or Shopify Plus plan.
- To create international domains for your store, you need to add a domain for every country or region where you want to offer a localized shopping experience.
- The domains or subdomains need to be specific to a country or region, such as
johnsapparel.defor Germany. However, you must use custom domains. You can't use your default
- There might be restrictions or requirements for specific countries or regions when you buy a top-level domain from Shopify. For example, to use a
.cadomain for Canada, you need to meet certain residency and business registration requirements. If you can’t meet these requirements, then you can use a subdomain or purchase a top-level domain from a third-party domain provider and connect it to Shopify.
- Subdomains must use two letter country codes. For example, if you currently sell in the United States using
johnsapparel.comand you want to expand to Australia, then use
- To use international domains, you must sell in multiple currencies using Shopify Payments. Selling in multiple currencies lets you set up a local currency for each country or region where you want to set up an international domain. You can set up the currencies that you want to offer in your payments settings.
- If you sell in multiple languages using international domains, then you need to use a supported third-party translation app. If you want to display your store in only one language, then you can target countries or regions that speak the same language.
Set up an international domain
- From your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Domains.
- Next to the domain or subdomain that you want to customize, click Manage.
- For non-primary domains, select Don't redirect to the primary domain to see the domain management options.
- Choose the languages and country or region that you want associated with that particular domain.
- Click Save.
Set up international targeting in Google Search Console
International targeting, also known as geo-targeting, lets you show 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.
If you’re on the Shopify plan or higher and using international domains to sell to multiple countries or regions, then verify each of your domains in Google Search Console. To set the target country or region for each store in Google Search Console, go to Legacy tools and reports > International targeting. For more information on setting up international targeting in Google Search Console, refer to Google Search Console Help.
Switch between international domains
International domains increase the chance that customers from different countries or regions visit the correct version of your site. To provide your customers with the ability to switch between languages and currencies, you need to add language and currency selectors to your theme. Your theme might have a built-in currency and language selector.
You can use the free Geolocation app to detect a customer’s location and language preferences. If a customer visits a different version of your online store, then the Geolocation app automatically prompts the customer to switch to the international domain for their country or region.
International domains FAQ
Do I need to buy international domains for every country or region?
No, you can use subdomains on your primary domain for each country or region. For example, if your primary domain is
your-store-name.com, then you can set up a domain for Canada as
ca.your-store-name.com, or buy and use
How do International domains affect SEO results?
Hreflang tags and sitemaps are set up automatically for every domain. These elements enable search engines to return search results with domains that are specific to the buyer's country or region. Submit a sitemap for every international domain that you set up.
Will my customers be redirected automatically to the right country-specific or region-specific domain?
No, Shopify does not direct customers automatically to their country-specific or region-specific domain based on their IP address because this can cause SEO issues. Refer to Google’s recommendation for more information.
Can my customers switch between languages and currencies if the default is not their preference?
Yes. To provide your customers with the ability to switch between languages and currencies, you need to add language and currency selectors to your theme. Your theme might have a built-in currency and language selector. If you use Shopify’s Geolocation app, then you can add selectors and IP address-based recommendations for your customers.
Can I assign multiple countries or regions and currencies to one domain?
No, you can only have one country or region and currency assigned to each domain. If a country or region is assigned to a domain, then you can't assign that country or region to another domain.
Should I add every language to a domain?
No, only make domains for the languages that you think your core customers will use. Adding too many languages that aren't relevant to a domain can have a negative impact on your SEO rankings.