How to publish your Shopify store (complete guide)

How to publish your Shopify store (complete guide)

If you are new to Shopify, you might be a little overwhelmed by the thought of launching an online store. Fortunately, Shopify has made the setup process extremely easy. 

When you combine the easy setup process with this guide, you won’t have to worry about making any errors before making your Shopify store live. Let’s get right into how to publish your Shopify store with this complete and in-depth Shopify guide. 

How to publish your Shopify store

Step 1: Create an account with Shopify

how to open shopify store to public

To start your journey with Shopify, you will first need to create an account with Shopify. Luckily, one of the benefits of Shopify is how easy it is to create a Shopify account. All you need to do is go the Shopify’s sign-up form and fill in all the relevant information. 

Shopify will require: 

  • The store’s name
  • The store owner’s name
  • The owner’s country and address
  • A valid email address
  • Contact details

Next, you will be asked to fill out a small questionnaire. It will ask about your goals with Shopify and a few other tidbits. Just follow the prompts and fill in all relevant information until you have completed the setup process. 

Step 2: Choose a Shopify theme

After you have successfully opened your account, you will find yourself on your Shopify Merchant Dashboard. This dashboard is where you control every aspect of your store including things like creating a Shopify business email and adding meta tags to Shopify

Use a free or paid Shopify theme

Your first option is a free or paid Shopify theme from the Shopify theme store. 

how do i launch my shopify store

To get a free theme: 

  • Go to your Shopify Merchant Dashboard. 
  • On the left-hand side menu, choose Online Store. 
  • Next, choose Themes
  • Go to the bottom of the page and select the Explore free themes options
  • Click on the theme you like and preview a demo and read reviews. 
  • When you have found the theme you like, click Add theme

To get a paid theme: 

  • Visit the Shopify theme store. 
  • If there is a theme you like, choose Try theme on the theme information page. 
  • Go back to your Shopify Merchant Dashboard and go to Online Store.
  • Next, choose the Themes option. 
  • In the Themes library, find the theme you added and press the Actions button to the right of the theme. 
  • Click Preview and play around with the theme. 
  • If you like the theme, go back to the Theme library and press the Actions button. 
  • Choose the Buy option and follow the prompts. 
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You also have the option to submit a task. This way a Shopify developer or designer can create custom features for your store without having to build your entire store from scratch. It’s also more affordable than building an entire theme. 

Get a custom theme

If you don’t want to buy a pre-existing theme, then you can have a custom theme made with a third-party developer. They will be able to access the Shopify theme code and code a new theme with Shopify Liquid and HTML. 

This option is expensive. But if your store is big and has the budget to handle a full theme build, then go ahead. With this method, you can build a theme that suits your needs and your brand like a glove. 

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Step 3: Customise your store

The next step is to customize your store. The best way to do this is to head to your Themes Manager where you can make changes to your theme. 

  • On the Shopify Merchant Dashboard, go to the Online Store tab on the left of the page. 
  • Next, choose Themes
  • In the Themes library, go to your published theme and choose the Actions button. 
  • Click on Customise from the drop-down menu. 

On the new page, you will be able to customize the theme by changing colors, adding images, changing the layout, adding logos, etc. After you have completed all of this, just press Save and it will be published in your store. 

how do i publish my shopify website

This stage is also perfect for creating landing pages and adding social media accounts to Shopify. This way your store will be ready to share after launch. 

The last thing to do is to ensure all legal pages are correct, up to date, and available on your store. This includes privacy policies, refund policies, shipping information, and terms and conditions. 

Luckily, Shopify has legal templates that you can post to your store. 

  • Go to your Shopify Merchant Dashboard. 
  • Right at the bottom of the left menu will be the Settings option. Click on it. 
  • Under Settings, find the Legal tab. 
  • Next, create legal pages using the Legal Pages template. 

Once this is done, complete your finishing touches and move on to the next step. 

Step 4: Add your product inventory

A Shopify store is nothing without its products. To add products:

  • Log in to Shopify and the Shopify Merchant Dashboard. 
  • On the left-hand menu, choose the Products tab. 
  • Next, choose the Add Products button on the right-hand side of the page. 
  • Add product information. 

On the Add product page, you will be able to add all relevant product information including the product name and description. 

Make sure to add high-definition images of the product and add them to collection pages. With this feature, you can group similar products or create collections of best sellers. It makes it easier for consumers to browse your store and increases product visibility. 

It’s also important to use Shopify’s SEO features – meta tags, URL, descriptions – to optimize your product information for Search Engine Optimization. 

If this is done right, your store might show up in search engine results. It would be a massive win for any online store and won’t require you to rely solely on social media clicks or referrals. 

When you have added all relevant product information, click on the Save product button and add the next one. 

how to publish my shopify store

Step 5: Add or buy a domain

After adding your inventory to your Shopify store, it’s time to complete the Shopify pre-launch checklist and get your store live. To do that, you’ll first need to buy a new domain or connect an existing one to your store. 

Buy a domain from Shopify

If you don’t have a domain, you can easily buy one straight from Shopify. If this is the first domain you are adding to your Shopify store, then you can skip step 7 as the settings will automatically be configured. 

To buy a domain: 

  • Log in to Shopify. 
  • On the Merchant Dashboard, go to the Settings option at the bottom of the page. 
  • Click on Domains from the available options. 
  • Choose to Buy a new domain
  • Choose the domain name that you would like to purchase and add a domain extension that fits. 
  • Next, click Buy
  • Follow the prompts and ensure all personal information is correct. 
  • When this is done, click on the Buy domain button. 
  • Next, you will need to verify your email address. 

When this is done, all you need to do is wait. It can take up to 48 hours for the domain to launch. 

Connect an existing domain

If you already have a domain, you can connect it to Shopify. If you do this method, you will need to complete step 7 to change the DNS records.

  • Log in to your Shopify account. 
  • On the Merchant Dashboard, navigate to the left menu and click on the Online Store option. 
  • Next, click on Domains and then Add an existing domain
  • Follow the prompts and fill in all relevant information. 
  • Save the settings. 

It might take some time but once the domain is successfully connected, it will show a green Connected sign next to the domain on the Domains page. 

how to publish website on shopify

Step 6: Remove storefront passwords

If your storefront passwords are enabled, people who view your URL will be greeted with a “Coming Soon” banner or a log-in pop-up. To remove this, follow the following steps. 

  • Log in to Shopify. 
  • On the Merchant Dashboard, click on the Online Store tab to the left of the page. 
  • Under this tab, click on the Preferences option. 
  • Scroll down until the Password Protection option is available. 
  • Find the Enable Password option. Uncheck the box next to it. 

Users will now be able to access your store when opening the URL. 

Step 7: Change the DNS records

DNS (Domain Name System) is an online phonebook and it’s what lets users find your store on the internet. If Shopify handles your hosting and your domain, then the settings are automatically configured. 

But if you have a domain provider that is not Shopify, then your hosting and domain point to two different places and users won’t be able to access your store. Luckily, it’s relativity easy to change. 

  • Log in to your domain provider’s account and access your Control Panel. 
  • Next, look for the Domains option on your control panel. Click on it. 
  • Under the Domains section, look for a tab labeled DNS or Domain Name Search. When you found it, click on it. 
  • To change your DNS setting, you will need to change the A Record and the CNAME. 
  • Change the @ or A Record option IP address to the Shopify IP address:
  • Change the CNAME www to Don’t add the HTTP. 
  • Save the settings and exit. 

Step 8: Choose your primary domain for Shopify

how to publish your shopify store

When you open a Shopify store, you are given a temporary domain until you either buy one with Shopify or connect an existing domain from a third-party domain provider. Either way, chances are you have more than one domain running on your account. 

If this is the case, users might not be viewing your store. To change this, all you need to do is change your primary domain. 

  • Log in to your Shopify account. 
  • On the Merchant Dashboard, go to the Online Store tab. 
  • Under Online Store, click on the Domains option. 
  • Next, choose the Change primary domain option and choose the domain from which you will run your store.
  • When this is done, go back to the Domains page and redirect the traffic to the primary domain. To do this, click on the option that reads Enable redirection and/or choose to Redirect all traffic to the primary domain

Step 9: Place a test order

Your store should now be fully functional. But to ensure your store is running as it should be, it’s a good idea to run a test order. 

First, you will need to put your store in Test Mode. 

  • Log in to your Shopify store. 
  • On the Merchant Dashboard, go to the Settings option and then Payments
  • Under the Shopify Payments tab, click on the Edit option. 
  • Click on the Use test mode button. 
  • Next, click Save
publish shopify store

After you have enabled Test Mode, go to your store and place an order as a customer would. When it comes time to checkout, use the following information. 

  • Name on card: Put down two or more words. 
  • Expiry Date: Put down any future date. 
  • CVV: Three random numbers. 

For Card Numbers, use the following numbers to test different card types.

  • American Express: 378282246310005
  • VISA: 4242424242424242
  • Mastercard: 5555555555554444
  • Discover: 6011111111111117

Place the order and run the test. If all is well, the test should be a success. Once you have finished running your test order, disable Test Mode by following the same steps you used to enable test mode. 

Your store is now launched and ready for shoppers.

How to publish a Shopify store (FAQs)

How long does Shopify take to launch? 

The entire setup process can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. It also depends on how much customization you are doing and how many products you are loading onto your store. 

The only part of the process that might take longer is the domain initialization. This can take up to 48 hours to complete. 

Can I put my Shopify store on hold? 

Yes, you can pause or put your Shopify store on hold. Whether you want to close for the holidays or find yourself needing an extended vacation, you can go to Merchant Dashboard > Settings > Plan and change your plan to Paused

Your payment will be reduced to $9 USD a month. You can also reactivate it when you feel ready. 

How do I unpublish my Shopify store? 

how do i open my shopify store

To unpublish your Shopify store, you can either put your password protection back on to fix or rearrange your store. 

Or you can completely deactivate your store by going to your Merchant Dashboard > Settings > Plan. Choose to Pause your store and then Deactivate it completely. Give your reason for wanting to deactivate your store, type in your password, and click confirm.


While Shopify does ensure the setup process is easy, it doesn’t take away from the fact that launching your Shopify store can be daunting. Things can always go wrong. 

But with this complete guide, you will be able to cover all your bases and ensure your store is launched and ready to make sales. All you need to do now is share your link and enjoy that first purchase.

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