The Difference between Transferring a Domain and Connecting a Domain. Pros and Cons of Each.

Shopify Staff (Retired)
Shopify Staff (Retired)



Did you know Shopify has the ability to host third-party domains by either transferring or connecting them to your store? That’s right, you don’t have to purchase your domain from Shopify. If you already have a domain, or if you’re looking to purchase a third-party domain for your store then read on to decide which is the best option for you!


Transferring a domain and connecting a domain differ slightly. In this post we’ll cover how they differ from one another and the pros and cons of each. 


Transferring a Domain


Transferring a domain to Shopify means you will no longer manage your third-party domain settings from your third-party domain provider account. Instead, you will manage them directly from your Shopify admin. This includes your DNS settings, domain payment, and domain renewal.

Here’s an example:


If you’ve purchased a third-party domain from GoDaddy, you’ll no longer log in to your GoDaddy account to manage your domain when you transfer it to Shopify. You’ll access your domain settings directly from your Shopify admin. This option provides you with exactly the same outcome as purchasing a domain directly from Shopify. 


Connecting a Domain


Connecting a domain to Shopify means you will still manage your third-party domain settings from your third-party domain provider.


Here’s an example:


if you’ve purchased a third-party domain from Go Daddy, you’ll still manage your domain settings, domain payment, and domain renewal directly from your Go Daddy account when you connect it to Shopify. With this option, your domain stays with the third-party provider you purchased from. 


Pros of transferring a domain


  • By transferring your domain you’re essentially adopting a one stop shop approach. If you’re all about making things easier for yourself then this might be the option for you.
  • No requirement to remember your password for your third-party domain provider account.
  • You can contact Shopify directly for help with the domain instead of the third-party host.

Cons of transferring a domain


There’s a couple of limitations to be made aware of when transferring a domain of which we’ll list below:

  • You need to have registered your domain more than 60 days ago in order to transfer it anywhere.
  • Your domain must be eligible for transfer. Click here to learn if your domain is eligible.
  • When you transfer your domain you need to pay to register it with Shopify for 12 months. The 12 months are added to your domain’s current expiry date. For example, your third-party domain that expires in 6 months will expire in 18 months once you have transferred it to Shopify.

Pros of connecting a domain


  • By connecting your domain instead of transferring you’re giving yourself the freedom to manage your domain from outside of Shopify. If you don’t like putting all your eggs in one basket, then this option might be for you.
  • If you want to point your domain to your store for a couple of months, then, point it somewhere else then you can do so very easily when you connect instead of transfer. 

Cons of connecting a domain


  • When you connect a domain you’ll need to ensure it’s pointing to your Shopify store. This isn’t necessarily a con, but sometimes, connection errors may occur.
  • If a connection issue happens you’ll need to contact your third-party domain provider for support, rather than Shopify.
  • To point your domain to Shopify you’ll need to edit your domain settings from your third-party domain account. This page tells you which settings you need to change.

Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is having a custom domain for your Shopify store. Custom domains drive brand awareness and build trust. They act as an online business card and create a safe place for customers to visit, enquire, browse and learn more about you and your business without needing to directly contact you.

Now you know the difference between connecting and transferring a third-party domain to Shopify which will you choose? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!