Shopify tips: Directing your domain to your store and hosting your e-mail

Introduction

This guide is for people who have not bought their domain through Shopify. It is for people whose domain is hosted and managed elsewhere and want to point just the website for that domain to a Shopify store whilst keeping their e-mail hosted where they bought their domain from.

Before you change anything

Following the instructions on this page will involve making changes to the DNS records for your domain. Before making any changes it is always advisable to keep a record of the current settings so that you can quickly and easily change them back if you experience any unexpected or undesired consequences of the changes you make. Then you'll be back where you were beforehand and not left in a panic.

Keeping a copy of the settings before you start making changes could involve you copying and pasting everything into a file to keep (a screenshot might not capture everything e.g. if it continues past what you can see in a text entry box, and you can't necessarily copy and paste the text from a screenshot making it harder to re-instate if you need to).

E-mail first

If you've had your domain and it's associated e-mail for a while that's great, your e-mail is already working and you can ignore this step and move straight on to getting your domain working with your Shopify store.

If you've only just bought your domain then get your e-mail set up how you want it first, before connecting your domain to your Shopify store.

If you've already connected your domain to your Shopify store and have since found that you have no e-mail set up for your domain then follow these steps if your domain hosting uses the cPanel admin system. First, login to cPanel and check that you have an e-mail account set up for your domain. If you don't then create your e-mail account. (If your domain is not appearing in cPanel to create an e-mail account then you will have to add the domain first - you can either do this yourself in cPanel or you can contact your hosting provider to do this for you but be warned that this step can change your DNS records to point your website back to your hosting provider and away from your Shopify store! So take note of your DNS settings first and then change them back again straight away after adding the domain to cPanel, to avoid any Shopify store downtime). After getting your e-mail account set up in cPanel you need to check that your domain has the following DNS records (to direct your e-mail to the correct place):

An A record pointing to your e-mail hosting provider, e.g.:
mail.yourdomain.com A [IP address of mail server]

An MX record pointing your domain, for e-mail purposes, to the A record you just added, e.g.:
yourdomain.com MX mail.yourdomain.com.

If these records don't already exist for your domain then you will need to find out from your hosting provider what IP address you should use for e-mail A record in your DNS. If these records already exist then you probably don't need to change them. You'll need both of these.

Getting your website connected

Two DNS records on your domain govern directing the website for your domain to your Shopify store, an A record and a CNAME record.

A screenshot showing an A record and a CNAME record in DNS settings

yourdomain.com A 23.227.38.65
www.yourdomain.com CNAME shops.myshopify.com.

Obviously replace "yourdomain.com" with your own domain name.

(If you need to enter a number for TTL for your DNS record please don't worry about this, just use the default value that is filled in - it is simply a value of time - or a number like 3600 or 86400 will both be fine.)

Remember that changes to DNS settings might not take affect immediately (although they can).

Authentication

Shopify will ask you to go through an authentication process when connecting your e-mail and domain to your store for the first time. It will ask you to add some more DNS records to your domain - simply follow the instructions it provides. You also need to have DMARC set up for your e-mail now, in order for Shopify to send e-mails to your customers on your behalf, and I have a guide for that: Setting up DMARC on your e-mail address.

Found this useful?

If this guide has helped you - saving you time, money (in employing someone to do it for you) or stress, please consider buying me a coffee via Ko-Fi as a thank you, as you might if a friend helped you out. Thank you :)

If you want to suggest other things you'd like me to write a Shopify guide about please do let me know.

 

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