Choosing the right domain name for your store is essential - but what if you want to change yours? That's easier than you'd think.
The domain name of a digital store is sort of like the sign out front of a brick-and-mortar locale. It's the first impression users will have of your site, and one of the main things a lot of people will remember about your brand. You already know this.
What you may not know is that your domain name isn't always guaranteed to stay the same. What if there's a legal issue surrounding your choice, and you need to change it to avoid trouble? What if you go through a rebranding, and your old domain name doesn't really work anymore?
What if you simply come up with something that works better than what you've already got?
Changing your domain name isn't as easy as changing a sign out front of a store - and the process you'll need to follow depends largely on what platform you're using. We'll go over three of the major ecommerce platforms, and walk you through the process for each.
Once you've registered your new domain name (and all variants), you'll need to get in touch with your Web host. Talk to them, and make sure that everything's configured properly. A quick chat should be all that's necessary, to apprise them of what's going on with your site and ensure you've the proper nameservers set up.
Next, navigate to the configuration menu in your Magento Admin Control Panel. You're looking for the "Web" section - this contains the primary URLS for your store. You're looking to change the Base URL under both the Secure and Unsecure heading to your new domain name.
Once you've done that, save your settings and open your dashboard under the new domain name.
WooCommerce is next - and the process is very similar to the one for Magento.
Again, the first step is ensuring you've contacted your host. Reach out and chat with them to see that everything is configured properly, and that your newly-registered domain is good to go. Once you've done that, open up WordPress.
Navigate to wp-admin, and click on Settings->General. You should see two fields that you're going to want to change - WordPress Address and Site Address. Swap your old domain with the new one, and click on Save Changes.
There's a good chance this will present you with a 404 screen. Don't worry - this is normal. Navigate to your new URL, and your store should be fully functional and fully accessible.
Since Shopify allows you to register your domain names through their website, the process you'll have to go through for a change is a bit different from Magento or WooCommerce. First, you're going to need to add your domain to your Shopify account. Then, navigate to Online Store -> Domains.
Click on "Connect Existing Domain," and enter your domain name in the text field. Shopify should automatically detect your domain provider. At that point, it's simply a matter of following the on-screen setup instructions.
If you registered your domain name through Shopify, all you need to do next is set the domain you've added as your store's Primary Domain. Under Online Store -> Domains, select your new domain through the dropdown menu. If you' registered through a third party, however, things get a bit more complicated.
You're going to need to do a bit of extra legwork, in other words. First, edit your A Record. Log into the account your domain provider gave you, and look for your DNS Settings - it should be represented by an @ symbol. Enter Shopify's IP address (220.127.116.11) into the field provided.
A New Domain
Changing your site's domain name doesn't need to be complicated or difficult. By using one of the ecommerce platforms above (or any of the alternatives that currently exist on the market), you can equip yourself with an easy, no-fuss means of ensuring that no matter what domain you decide to use, you can get it setup with minimal fuss.
Christina Coons is a professional digital marketer at Northcutt, an inbound marketing agency. She specializes in ecommerce, social media, and public relations, and spends her days helping brands succeed online.