If you already own a domain name and you want to create a website on Squarespace on it, you are given two options: You can point the domain name to your Squarespace website, or you can transfer it to Squarespace from your existing registrar.
Which option should you choose?
The long answer short is that it depends on what you want to achieve. Each of these two options has its pros and cons and—to help you decide—I will walk you through them in this post.
Pointing Your Domain
One option is to point your domain name to your Squarespace website and leave it with your existing registrar.
A domain name is a web address that visitors to your website can easily recognize and type into the browser, and that can be used by search engines and other website owners to link to your website’s pages.
Each domain name has “records” that tell the browser which server to ping to get the content of your website and its pages. As the owner of a domain name, you have full control over its records and can point it to any server you wish.
In other words, if you already own a domain name, you don’t have to transfer it to Squarespace to be able to use it on your website. Instead, you can simply point your domain name to it by adding records that take browsers to Squarespace.
The Squarespace Help Center has a guide called “Connecting a domain to your Squarespace site” that shows you exactly how to do this. It also links to provider-specific guides for the top domain registrars, from GoDaddy and Namecheap to Name.com and Register.com.
Why point your domain name and not transfer it?
It’s cheaper. At Squarespace, domain names cost $20 to $70 per year (generally, the price depends on the domain’s extension). Many domain registrars sell their domain names, renewals included, for less.
It gives you more control. If, some day, you decide to switch platforms and move your website from Squarespace to another service, all you’ll have to do to is migrate the website and change your domain name’s records so that it points to the new destination.
Transferring Your Domain
Another option is to transfer your domain to Squarespace from your existing registrar. When you do, Squarespace will effectively become your domain name’s registrar and you will be renewing it with them every year.
Domain transfers take time—anywhere from to 2 to 5 days—and many domain registrars tend to make it intentionally difficult to transfer a domain name out of them. (It’s easy to understand why when you consider that a customer that transfers out is a customer lost.)
Here too, the Squarespace Help Center has a guide, with specific instructions for the most popular domain registrars, that walks you through the steps to do this called “Transferring a domain to Squarespace.”
It’s important to note that after transferring your domain name to Squarespace, you won’t be able to transfer it out for 60 days. This shouldn’t necessarily be a cause of concern because you don’t want to transfer out a domain name that you just transferred in, but it’s still something to know about.
Why transfer your domain name and not point it?
It simplifies things. All the dealings for your business’ online presence will be with Squarespace, and not with Squarespace and a domain name registrar. For people who like to keep things simpler, this is a real boon.
You can have email addresses with it. With Squarespace, you can sign up for Google Workspace and get email addresses in Gmail, with Google Calendar and Google Drive, for yourself and your team. Setup is easy and you pay through Squarespace.
When to Point, When to Transfer
If your domain name is registered at a big-name registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap, you’re probably better off pointing it to your Squarespace website than transferring it to Squarespace. It’s faster and cheaper.
Sometimes, transferring your domain name to Squarespace just makes sense. For example, if you’re moving your site from Wix, WordPress, or another website builder, you probably won’t want to keep your domain name with them.
Of course, there’s always the case for simplicity. Those who like to have everything for their online presence in one place—their domain name, their website, and all the settings and dealings that come with them—should consider transferring their domain name to Squarespace.