21 Feb

Already have a Web site? Add WPCommerce as a ‘shop’ sub-domain

A question we get asked all the time at WPCommerce is “can I use WPCommerce if I already have a Web site?”. And the answer is yes and yes, because there are two ways to achieve this.

The "shop" sub-domain

The “shop” sub-domain

The first way is to move your Web site’s content to your new WPCommerce site which is a full WordPress instance with e-commerce pre-installed and supported. Doing it this way consolidates your Web content and e-commerce store under one management interface. No sub-domain required.

Many organisations, however, have existing investments in Web design and content systems (including WordPress-based sites) that they wish to retain for business process and strategy reasons and that is a GOOD thing.

In this blog we’ll show you how you can keep your existing Web site and content (regardless of where it is hosted) and add a WPCommerce e-commerce portal under the example “shop.” domain.

1. Get started with your temporary shop domain

When you subscribe to a WPCommerce online store, you will have a temporary domain name generated in the Linuxpeak (the parent company of WPCommerce) network.

The temporary domain name will take the form of:

http://wpXXXX.sites.linuxpeak.net

With the temporary domain you can begin using your WPCommerce online store immediately. Familiarise yourself with the interface and begin adding products to the shop. You can also change the theme and add content and images and when you’re ready to go live let us know which public domain name you would like to use.

2. Decide which domain the live shop will use

Once you are ready to go live, you will need to decide if your WPCommerce store is replacing your existing Web site, or becoming an adjunct to it.

The live domain will take the form of either:

www.YOURDOMAIN

shop.YOURDOMAIN

[Note: the sub-domain does not have to be “shop”, it can be something else of your choosing like “store” or “buy”]

We will then perform an update changing all links to your preferred domain. This involves changing links from the “wpXXXX” temporary domain to www.YOURDOMAIN or shop.YOURDOMAIN.

3. What you need to do: update your domain name’s DNS

The last, and most complex, piece of the project is updating your DNS (Domain Name System). DNS is what is used by computers to convert names (e.g. ‘wpcommerce.com.au’) to IP addresses (e.g. 192.168.0.1) so client devices (PCs, smartphones) can connect to where things are hosted.

At this point you will need to contact your domain name or DNS provider and ask them how to perform a change to www.YOURDOMAIN or shop.YOURDOMAIN.

Most people use their domain name registrar’s DNS service to point their domain name to their Web site. So it is crucial for you to know who has registered your domain and how to contact them to request a change. If you don’t keep an eye on your domain name then you risk letting it lapse and someone else can register it. Don’t laugh, that has happened to the largest of organisations!

4. We can take care of your basic DNS needs for free

Linuxpeak, the parent company of WPCommerce, offers both domain name registration and managed DNS hosting. If you register a domain name with us or transfer an existing one over, we will provide basic DNS hosting for free. This free service is included with every domain name.

With your DNS hosted by Linuxpeak we will make all the changes mentioned in this post for free as part of the service.

If your DNS is not hosted with us, now is a good time to switch!