What We'll Cover
All BigCommerce stores are initially created with a .mybigcommerce.com domain, or website address. While you are free to use this domain indefinitely, you will want to research and purchase a custom domain for your store to advertise and market your business more effectively and to attract more shoppers by making it easy for them to find you.
If you've obtained a domain through a third-party (e.g GoDaddy), you'll need to direct it to BigCommerce to start utilizing it on your store. Adding a custom domain name to your store consists of two steps:
- changing DNS settings in your registrar (e.g. pointing nameservers)
- changing your store's domain in BigCommerce
If you purchased the domain name through BigCommerce, the nameservers are automatically pointed for you. No extra steps are necessary.
Additionally, we'll automatically install our free Encryption Everywhere SSL certificate so your new domain will be immediately secure. You can also upgrade to any of our other premium certificates at any time.
Before deciding to change domains, it's important to know that in almost every case this will have a negative impact on your SEO. Some of the steps and tools listed below can help you minimize this impact, however, be sure to check the resources for additional non-BigCommerce specific information.
Once you have changed your store to its new domain, it will no longer be accessible on the old domain. When search engines attempt to crawl the old domain, they will receive 404 errors. To minimize any negative SEO impact this may have, you will want to reset the old domain’s DNS back to the registrar's default settings, then redirect the old domain to your new one.
Updating the DNS for your old domain to the registrar's defaults will cause all email traffic for that domain to point to the registrar. Although not required, consider asking your registrar to set up email forwarders for any of your old domain’s email accounts to their counterparts on the new domain.
Pointing Your Domain
There are three possible ways to point your domain to BigCommerce:
Pointing Your Nameservers to BigCommerce
Pointing your nameservers to BigCommerce is the recommended way to use your domain with your store. To point your nameservers, you will need to log into your domain registrar, the service you purchased your domain.
1. Log into your domain registrar account.
2. Locate the area to change your nameservers, usually under DNS Settings. If you have trouble, the registrar's knowledge base or support team will be able to provide you specific information.
3. Add the following nameservers. Depending on your registrar, you may need to choose a custom setup type to add new nameservers.
Pointing a CNAME to BigCommerce
A CNAME (canonical name) record is a type of DNS record that points an alias name to a root domain. CNAME records are typically used to point a subdomain to a root domain (i.e. mydomain.com).
To point a subdomain to your BigCommerce store, create a CNAME record that points to your store's permanent address. A benefit of pointing a subdomain is that you would not need to update any preconfigured email settings. They would still be managed by your registrar.
1. Log into your domain registrar account.
2. Create a CNAME record. If you have trouble, the registrar's knowledge base or support team will be able to provide you specific information.
3. Use the following settings:
- Alias — the domain you want your store to be on (e.g. mydomain.com or xxxxx.mydomain.com)
- Host / Points to — your BigCommerce permanent address (e.g. store-123456.mybigcommerce.com)
- TTL — how long the server should cache the information, measured in seconds (e.g. 3600)
Pointing an A Record to BigCommerce
Pointing your domain via an A record involves creating an A record at your registrar that points to your store's IP address (see Finding Your Web Address). Please note that this method is not recommended since store IP addresses are not static and are subject to change. If your store's IP address changes, the A record will no longer link your domain name and store, resulting in a blank page.
If you do choose to use this method to point your domain, locate your IP address and contact your domain registrar for assistance with updating the domain's existing A record to point to it.
Changing Your Domain in Bigcommerce
If your store is on a .mybigcommerce domain, you can:
- change to a custom domain (mydomain.com)
- change to a custom subdomain (shop.mydomain.com)
- change to a different .mybigcommerce domain (shop.mybigcommerce.com)
If your store is on a custom domain, you can:
- change to another custom domain (myshop.com)
If you have an unassociated domain, you can:
If you do not already have a domain name, one can be purchased from your control panel. Domains purchased from BigCommerce will automatically apply to your store saving you the hassle of pointing DNS records. Note that domains purchased from BigCommerce have basic DNS capabilities and can be transferred between any of your stores.
Multiple domains can be on your account, but only one can be associated to a store at a time. However, it is possible to have multiple domains lead to a single store. See Using Multiple Domains for more information.
When making DNS changes, it can take up to 72 hours for the changes to be reflected globally. This is due to a process called propagation. The length of time it takes for this process to finish is known as propagation delay.
There are two parts to DNS changes:
- the initial DNS update in the registrar
- the changes updating throughout the web (propagation)
For DNS propagation to occur, your registrar's server communicates the update to the DNS servers nearest to it. Each of those servers then communicates the change to the servers nearest to them, and so forth. This propagation continues until every DNS server in the world has made the update.
As you've probably guessed, this means that there is a geographical component to how quickly you will see your DNS changes go through. If your registrar's servers are nearby, you will see the changes much more quickly than a customer living across the world. So although the changes can take up to 72 hours, it usually occurs within an hour or so — sometimes even less!
You can use whatsmydns.net to check the progress of your domain. Be sure to change the record type to NS.
Viewing Your Store During Propagation
If you have changed your store's domain but are still waiting for propagation to complete, you will need to use your store's permanent address until your DNS changes have completed.
Your permanent address can be found in your billing area and was sent in an email when your store was first created. It uses the following format: store-xyz123.mybigcommerce.com.
You can use this URL to preview your store until your DNS changes have fully propagated. To preview pages other than your homepage, add the end of the page URL that you are attempting to view after the .com in your permanent URL.
For example, if your contact page's URL is domain.com/contact-us, use store-xyz123.mybigcommerce.com/contact-us to preview the page.
Using Multiple Domains
You may want to have multiple domains that lead to your storefront. It can be useful if you are renaming your store and need a new URL or if you're going to start using a subdomain.
This can be done on BigCommerce by setting a single domain name to be the primary domain name and use domain forwarding for any other domains you want to lead to your storefront. For a customer, typing in any of the domains will bring them to the storefront, but they will see the domain change to the primary domain in their browser address bar.
Can I access more than one store under a single control panel? It is not possible to access more than one BigCommerce store through a single control panel. However, you can switch between multiple stores from the Control Panel above the Log Out section.
Forwarding Secondary Domains
These instructions assume you have purchased a root domain, additional root domains, and subdomains from the same registrar (the company you bought your domain from). Before starting, determine which of your root domains or subdomains will be the primary domain. This will be the domain that the others will redirect to.
1. Apply the primary domain to your store. This will make the store and control panel under that domain.
2. Go to your registrar control panel and point your primary domain. The method you use to point your domain will be different depending on whether your domain is a root domain (e.g. domain.com) or a subdomain (such as shop.domain.com).
3. You will now want to forward your remaining domains to the primary domain. Because instructions will vary for each registrar, we recommend calling your registrar and asking them to assist you with forwarding these domains.
What’s the difference between pointing a domain and forwarding a domain? Pointing a domain is a general term for updating the DNS records for a domain to bring the user to a third-party host. Forwarding a domain is a specific process that brings the user from one domain to another, regardless of the web host.
- I have chosen domain1.com to be my store's primary domain.
- I apply domain1.com to my store; then I point its DNS to BigCommerce.
- I have my registrar forward shop.domain1.com and domain2.com to domain1.com.
When a customer types domain2.com or shop.domain1.com into the address bar, they are brought to the store. The URL changes to domain1.com.
Changing from a BigCommerce Subdomain to a New Domain
If your store is currently using a .mybigcommerce subdomain (e.g. my.mybigcommerce.com), you can use the following instructions to update your store's domain to a new custom domain (e.g. mystore.com) or a subdomain of a custom domain (e.g. store.mystore.com).
1. Go to Server Settings › Domain Name .
2. Click Add an existing .
3. Enter the first part of your domain name in the field labeled http://. This field accepts both top-level domains (e.g. mystore) and subdomains (e.g. shop.mystore). Enter your extension (.com, .net, .co.uk, etc) in the field labeled Domain Extension, then click Next. A confirmation page with additional steps for completing your domain update will display.
Use the following steps to move from one domain to another.
1. Go to Server Settings › Domain Name .
2. Click Manage to the right of the store you’d like to update.
3. Click Replace Domain.
4. Click Add new to register a new domain or Add an existing to assign a domain you already own to your store.
- For instructions on purchasing a new domain, see Purchasing a Domain.
- Follow the steps below to assign a domain you already own to your store.
5. Enter the first part of your domain name in the field labeled http://. This field accepts both top-level domains (e.g. mystore) and subdomains (e.g. shop.mystore). Enter your extension (.com, .net, .co.uk, etc) in the field labeled Domain Extension, then click Next. A confirmation page with additional steps for completing your domain update will display.
Applying an Unassociated Domain on Your Account
Any domains that you have purchased through BigCommerce but are not currently assigned to a store can be assigned to any of your stores by following the steps below.
1. Go to Server Settings › Domain Name .
2. Click Manage to the right of the domain you’d like to apply.
3. Select the store you’d like to apply the domain to from the drop-down menu next to Apply Domain.
4. Click Apply Domain. The domain will immediately be applied to your store.
After you've applied the domain to your store, a confirmation page with instructions on pointing your domain will display. Please note that you may need to access your store using the secure URL (e.g. store-######.mybigcommerce.com) if you have changed your domain name without updating your domain's DNS records.
Possible Error Messages
If you receive the error, "The domain name you entered is already in use by another BigCommerce store," the domain you entered has either already been applied to your store or is in use by another BigCommerce store.
The domain change process can take a few minutes. To check whether the domain has already been applied to your store, return to your control panel, refresh the page, then click the View Store icon in the lower left of the control panel. When your store front pops up in a new tab, check the domain listed in the address bar.
Changing from One BigCommerce Subdomain to Another BigCommerce Subdomain
1. Go to Account Settings › Account Summary.
2. Click on the name of your store.
3. Scroll down to Details and click Change mybigcommerce.com Domain Name.
4. Type your new .mybigcommerce subdomain. After the system confirms the name is available, click Next. You'll be returned to your store's account plan summary page with a message that your store's subdomain was successfully updated.