[intro] When you have completed this Guide, you will understand the importance of a domain name and how you configure it for best results. [/intro]

[summary]

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What is a domain name and why do I need one?

If you own any kind of e-commerce shop, blog or website, you need a domain. The best way of explaining it would be to imagine your EKM online shop as a baby, and the domain name as the baby’s name.


Like your EKM online shop, your baby has lots of functions but unless you call it by name, it won’t respond to you. Shops need a domain name attaching to them so that when customers enter your domain name in the address bar of their browser or into a search engine, they can find your EKM online shop.

[remember] You are able to claim a free domain name when you open an account with EKM. You can read more about how to do that later on in this Guide. [/remember]

Pointing or Transferring

A domain is purchased from a domain provider and they host your domain for you. This means that to register your domain name and edit the settings on the domain itself, you would log into your account with them. When a domain successfully directs a user to a specific website or online shop, this is known as ‘pointing’. There are different ways of pointing a domain to a given address, and these can vary.

Pointing

As an example, at EKM we recommend that to point a domain at your online shop you use settings called ‘A Records’ and this ensures that the domain name is visible regardless of which page you’re viewing. Another way to point a domain is known as ‘forwarding’ and this is where you set the domain to take the user to a specific website or online shop, but the domain will only be visible on the first page - if the user clicks onto another page then the domain name won’t be there.

[remember] When you edit a domain, adding an email address or pointing it at a new destination - regardless of who the domain provider is - you always have to allow for ‘propagation’, which is where the changes are updated. Propagation can take anything between 24-36 hours to occur. [/remember]

Transferring

‘Transferring’ a domain means to transfer it from one domain provider to another. For example, if you have a domain hosted elsewhere and you have a domain with EKM Domains and you want to view both in the same place, you would transfer the first domain to EKM Domains. This process can take around five to seven days for the domain to transfer from one provider to another.


[warning] Domains and emails live hand-in-hand; wherever your domain is hosted is where you would set up email addresses or email forwards. If you have email addresses set up on a domain you wish to transfer, you will need to back up the contents of those email accounts somewhere safe and then close them down completely. You would then initiate the transfer of the domain from one provider to another and when the domain transfer is complete, you would be able to purchase email addresses from the new provider.[/warning]

EKM Domains

Separate to the EKM online shop platform, EKM Domains is where you can purchase domains and email addresses for your EKM online shop. Having your domain hosted with EKM Domains means that if there are any issues with the domain or email, our Customer Support Team can log into your account and help to resolve the issue for you.

I’ve already bought a domain name elsewhere

If you have purchased a domain name from another provider and don’t want to transfer it to EKM Domains, that’s fine; all you need to do is point it to your EKM online shop.

Emails on my domain

You need to set up at least one email address on your domain in order to contact your customers. It’s essential to create an email on your domain as opposed to using a personal email address for a number of reasons. Personal email addresses - which are provided by a third party such as Gmail, BT Internet, AOL, Yahoo, Virgin Media and so on - can be blocked or sorted into your customer’s junk mail folders. In short, they won’t get to see the email you sent them - whether it was to confirm their order, answer a query or otherwise.


Using a personal email address on your EKM online shop looks both unprofessional and suspicious. For example, if you purchased something from the Debenhams website and you received a confirmation email from tracydebenhams@hotmail.com that would surely set alarms bells ringing as you wouldn’t be able to ascertain whether Tracy was a legitimate employee processing your order or whether her email was potentially dangerous. And that’s if the email wasn’t blocked by your own email provider or mistakenly classed as junk.

[remember] If your domain name is not hosted on EKM Domains, you will need to contact your domain provider to set up an email address on your domain. [/remember]

As most small businesses have a limited budget, the most cost-effective way of setting up emails on your domain is to purchase a single email address and then set up email aliases. Email addresses on domains often have a limited amount of storage space for all of the emails in the inbox. An email alias is a way of sharing that storage between several different email addresses as any emails sent to the alias will automatically arrive in my actual email inbox.


For example, if we had a domain called mydomain.co.uk and we set up one email address called sales@mydomain.co.uk, we could use that to send order confirmation emails from so when customers purchase from our shop the automatic ‘order placed’ email comes from that email address. However, I’d like to have another email address called theteam@mydomain.co.uk because I’m going to encourage customers to get in contact with me and my staff with their queries. As I don’t have the budget for a second email address I set up an alias, so any emails sent to theteam@mydomain.co.uk will automatically arrive in my sales@mydomain.co.uk email inbox, and from there I can sort them and forward them to the relevant member of staff.

SSL Certificates

In the most basic sense, an SSL Certificate is applied to a domain so that a padlock symbol is displayed in the address bar of the browser being used to view the website or online shop. This is essential as browsers will highlight the lack of a padlock symbol to the user in the form of warning notifications and messages. SSL (which stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’) Certificates are required as they authenticate the identity of a website or online shop and encrypt the information sent between different computers and servers, making the data secure.


When you point a domain at your EKM online shop, whether it is provided by EKM Domains or another domain provider, a basic SSL Certificate will be installed on the domain for free. You cannot use SSL Certificates purchased from elsewhere on your EKM online shop as it is a hosted platform, but free basic SSL Certificates are added within a few hours of the domain being pointed at your shop.

Domain Troubleshooting

Q: My domain settings are correct but the domain is not working!

The cause of this issue is usually propagation. Whenever you edit something on a domain - regardless of who it’s hosted by, you need to wait 24-36 hours for the changes you’ve made to update, Sometimes it can be a lot quicker than this, but this time frame is worth bearing in mind. On the other hand, if you have waited 36 hours and the domain is not correctly pointed at your EKM online shop, please get in contact with our Customer Support Team who will be able to investigate this issue further for you.

Q: How do I change A record on my domain name that’s not hosted by EKM Domains?

Without knowing who your domain provider is, it’s hard to tell. If they have no Support Guides to point you in the right direction, then take a look at the directions on the following Guides and you should have an idea of where to find the same settings on the dashboard of your domain provider:

Q: I want to transfer away the free domain name away from EKM Domains. How do I do that?

You would need to log into your EKM Domains account and click the Transfer button. You would then need to log into your account with your new domain provider and follow their instructions for transferring a domain in. Usually, you would run a search for your domain with your new provider and when it was listed, follow the instructions for transferring it into your account.

Q: When I check my domain, I see the error message ‘too many redirects’ - what does this mean?

This issue is caused when the domain is set to point in different ways; for example, if you have the domain set to point at your EKM online shop and it’s also set to forward to your EKM online shop too, this can cause the error message. Check the settings on your domain and then wait for it to propagate any changes.

Q: Why is my domain name only visible on my homepage?

This is because you have not pointed the domain by using A Records and instead have used a forwarder. Remove the Forward settings and set up the A Records, and this issue will be resolved after propagation has taken place.

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in EKM Community.  [/contact]