- Delegating access to your GoDaddy account - https://jadepuma.com/blogs/shopify-tutorials/delegating-access-to-your-godaddy-account
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Hey Scott Austin here.
In this episode, I'm going to provide a DNS overview for Shopify Store owners. There are plenty of instructions on the web already on how to connect your domain to your Shopify store. So instead, I'll be taking a step back and presenting a primer on DNS so you can better understand what you are doing when you follow the other instructions.
Let's start off with what is DNS. DNS is an acronym for domain name service. Every node on the internet, like servers, computers, phones and smart speakers, has an IP address. This is a long number that is unique. If you want to see your IP address, open your browser and type in 'what is my IP address'. You'll see your IP address there. It will be something like 184.108.40.206. With IP addresses any node on the internet can find another node. But numbers, which work great for computers, aren't easy for us humans to remember. So we have domains. For example, my agency's domain is JadePuma.com. What DNS does is translate the domain names we put into our browsers into the IP addresses that computers work with.
It's worth noting here that every node on the internet does not have its own unique IP address. For example, all Shopify stores operate under the same IP address of 220.127.116.11. So Shopify has some software that routes all of the incoming traffic for its millions of Shopify stores to the right servers in the Shopify datacenter.
Now a given domain can have several different DNS entries. You may use your domain for your Shopify store. And a sub-domain like wholesale.jadepuma.com for a different store or website. And your domain is also used for your email address. Each of these will require different DNS entries.
Before I dig into DNS entries, let me define some higher level terms.
- Registrar. This is where you go to register your domain. GoDaddy and Network Solutions are examples of domain registrars. There are tons of other options. And not every registrar has access to every top-level domain or TLD. Examples of TLDs are .com or .io or .store. So if you are looking for a specific TLD, you'll need to find a registrar that works with that TLD. My recommendation is for you to register your domain at GoDaddy if possible. The reason I recommend GoDaddy is that they are quite ubiquitous in the domain space. So most services have back-end integrations with GoDaddy to get your DNS easily set up. For example, if Shopify detects that you are using GoDaddy, Shopify can connect directly to GoDaddy, once you authorize it, and make all of the needed DNS settings to connect your domain to your store. The same is true for your email DNS settings if you are using Google Business or Office 365 for email.
- The next term is your Nameserver setting. This is a setting you set with the Registrar. The nameserver setting points to what server is used as the DNS server for your domain. Most Registrars will also act as your DNS server. But you can override that if desired and point it to an Amazon Web Services or AWS DNS server or any other DNS server that you desire. My recommendation is that you keep your DNS Server with your Registrar to keep things simple.
I'm going to take a little side trip here. I've migrated many stores from other platforms to Shopify. And some of those stores have been on the internet for decades. So they were using small-tier registrars and DNS servers. In those cases, the biggest technical challenge of the project was getting access to the DNS servers to point the domain to Shopify. This is especially challenging when the domain was registered through and the domain was hosted by the ecommerce platform that the store was moving off of. This is just another reminder to use a top-tier registrar like GoDaddy. Don't try to save a dollar a year with a third tier provider. And don't register your domain through Shopify or Google or Microsoft or any provider who's providing other services. Keep them separate.
- The next term is DNS server. Your DNS server is the one that you enter all of your DNS settings through. These settings allow people to find your sites on the internet and send you email.
DNS settings are similar across different registrars and DNS servers. But unfortunately, the user experience across them is not the same. The steps needed to make an entry and what things are labelled can be different between DNS servers. That's why you'll sometimes see a long list of links when a DNS setting is needed. The long list is of all the common DNS providers as the steps for each can be a bit different. This is another reason to go with a top provider as the instructions for those providers should be provided.
There are a number of different DNS settings. I'm going to cover the top 4 that you will use with your Shopify store. They are:
- A record. An A record points your domain to an IP address. For most Shopify stores, you'll point your A record to Shopify’s IP address of 18.104.22.168.
- CNAME record. A CNAME record points your subdomains to another domain name. For example, if you want to point your www. domain to your Shopify store, you'll create a CNAME record pointing www to shops.myshopify.com. You can also use CNAME records for pointing to other services you use for things like affiliates or wholesale. With a CNAME records, you can bring multiple, separate services under your custom domain to provide a more branded experience.
- MX record. An MX record points to a mail server and is used to process emails through your domain. Most email providers will require multiple MX records in the DNS server pointing to backup servers in case the main server goes down.
- TXT record. A TXT record is just a text entry or a note. TXT records do not affect traffic to your store or your email deliveries. But services you use will have you make TXT records all of the time. That's because adding a TXT record is an easy way for you to prove to a service provider that the domain is actually yours. In other words, many services will use TXT records in a similar way to the authorization codes you get through SMS to prove you are who you say you are.
Next, I'll walk you through the common scenarios where you'll need to make or adjust DNS settings for your business' domain.
- You'll need to make a couple of DNS settings to get your domain pointing to your Shopify store. If fact, you can point more than one domain to your store. I do this a lot with store rebrands. We'll have the DNS configured to point to Shopify for both the old domain and the new domain. On the Shopify side, you can set it to redirect all of the traffic from the old domain to the new domain. And you want to do this for SEO purposes. But before you point all of the old domain's traffic to the new domain, make sure that the new domain has been thoroughly indexed in Google and other search engines. So while the new domain is getting pages indexed, you'll be operating the store under both the old and new domain.
- You'll need to make several DNS entries to get your email working with your domain. Most Shopify stores use Google Business or Office 365 for this. And both of those providers have integrations with GoDaddy and other providers to make this easy.
- Search Console by Google, which you should be using for your SEO, works better once you verify ownership of your domain through a TXT record. You can verify ownership other ways like through your Google Analytics account. But I find the best method is to verify ownership of your Domain property with a TXT record. Then every addition under that Domain property for your store and other used sub-domains won't need to be verified as the Domain property verification will trickle down to them.
- Shopify sender email. In addition to the A record and CNAME record for your store's URL, you'll need to authenticate your sender's email address which I assume is under the same custom domain as your Shopify store. Doing this will make emails that Shopify sends out to customers on your behalf show as coming from your sender's email address without any via shopifyemail.com messaging. So it will be cleaner and less confusing for your customers.
To do this go to your Shopify Admin > Settings > Store Details. If you haven't already set it up, you'll see a warning in gold text under the Sender email settings. Follow the instructions to add 4 CNAME records. It can take a while, as in more than a day, for Shopify to see the DNS changes and change the messaging on the Store Details page.
- Whatever email you use for CRM, whether its Klaviyo, Omnisend or another provider will require a number of DNS settings so that it can send emails on your behalf from your domain. Each CRM provider will have instructions for you to follow.
- Most reviews systems like Judge.me will also require DNS settings so that it can send out review reminder emails on your behalf from your domain.
- And lastly, as I already mentioned, you'll need to create DNS settings, most likely CNAME records for any services that are part of your business and operate at third-level domains under your custom domain. This could be for addresses like affiliate.jadepuma.com or support.jadepuma.com or any other number of services that you may add to your customer experience.
As you are making DNS entries, you'll notice that new entries get seen pretty quickly. Sometimes in a matter of minutes. It may take longer to see the effect when changing an existing DNS record. But that usually takes an hour or two. It's rare that it takes a day or more for DNS entries you make or edit to be seen across the internet.
So that's my DNS primer for Shopify stores. As you build and grow your business, you'll need to make several DNS entries for your domain. If you are working with a Shopify expert, I encourage you to give them access to your DNS server, so they can make changes on their own. I hope this episode gives you a better understanding of what you are doing and why.
Thanks for listening.