pre-sales question. I went around and around with Yahoo about this and eventually they understood where I was coming from. My desire is to have a dedicated IP address. Does Shopify provide that? Why do I want that? So I can have a dedicated rather than shared SSL certificate.
As part of all this, being able to edit MX, A and CNAME is really important. It seems that Shopify allows that - is that correct. All of this adds up to not having to do a 301 redirect which is really, really ugly and so not good given how search engines resolve domains.
and then I'm still not quite sure how all this mixes in with using Google Apps. from surfing the Forum traffic it appears like a does great/not great matter.
Any update, insight on these topics would be really helpful.
You are totally mixed up with your understanding of Shopify. It is a hosted service. Therefore you do not need an IP or SSL certificate. This is a good thing for most people. It is an expensive hassle to run your own server.
You can use your own domain for the site. You cannot use your own checkout. It is simple. If that is not what you want, you need to run your own e-commerce software.
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I think that billecom's question is fair, not mixed up. This aspect of Shopify is not "because it is a hosted service" --most of the competing hosted services do offer custom SSL, so there are indeed other options besides hosting your own.