What Shopify theme registration is — and why it's important to your business

by Michael P. Hill 5 min read

What Shopify theme registration is — and why it's important to your business

Out of the Sandbox recently added the ability to register an Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme using its free Shopify Theme Updater App.

But what exactly is theme registration, how does it work and why is it important?

What is Shopify theme registration?

Shopify theme registration is a way to link your Shopify theme license to a specific Shopify store.

When you purchase a premium Shopify theme, either directly from a theme developer or the Shopify theme store, you’re purchasing a license for the theme, which is valid for use in a single shop. However, theme registration is a new and separate step to be made after this purchase.

It’s important to note that you can only register a theme once per license. If you want to use the same premium Shopify theme on a second store you’ll need to purchase a second license for it.

While not all Shopify themes support registration, Out of the Sandbox has updated its themes to support registration via our exclusive Shopify theme updater app.

To find out if a non-Out of the Sandbox theme supports registration and how to do it, check with the theme developer.

The advantages of registering your Shopify theme

Why register your Shopify theme? There are several key advantages to completing this easy process:

  • You’ll be verifying that your Shopify theme is properly licensed.
  • Completing the registration process will help prevent your licensed copy from being used, without your knowledge, on another Shopify store.
  • Since you are verifying that your Shopify theme is tied to a valid license purchase, you’ll be contributing to the development and future features of your Shopify theme.
  • Registering your theme with Out of the Sandbox will ensure you can continue to receive timely and efficient Shopify theme support, as outlined by our support policy, since it will allow us to verify your purchase and account.
  • You can be sure you’re kept up to date about important news and updates to your themes.
  • When necessary, you can update your theme — quickly and easily, and for free — using the update feature of the app. The process will even attempt to move over custom code.

How to register your Out of the Sandbox theme

Registering is an easy process that starts with installing the Shopify theme updater app from the official Shopify app store.

  • Full steps on how to register your theme are available here.
  • To download the free Shopify theme updater app, click here.
  • For more information about updating your theme using the app, click here.

There’s no cost to install the basic version that lets you register your theme. In addition, despite its name, you don’t have to use the theme updater app to update your theme; it can be used solely for the purposes of theme registration.

Shopify theme registration

If you prefer to handle updating your theme manually (or not at all), you can still safely install the theme updater app and register your theme without having the app affect your live store in any way. In fact, the app runs silently in the background and doesn’t make any changes to your license, registration, store or theme unless you specifically take action to do so.

That said, we do encourage you to consider trying out the free app tier the next time you need to update your Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme. It’s a great way to save valuable time and it can even move over custom code.

In the rare cases where custom code can’t be moved, you can subscribe to the paid pro plain — which also has a free trial — to get a list of the filenames and line numbers that the app couldn’t transfer. While you’ll then need to move over this code manually, it’s a great way to narrow down the issues the app finds.

Transferring registrations

Once a theme is registered to a specific store, it’s permanently connected to that Shopify account and storefront. In most cases, theme registrations don’t need to be transferred, except in one case: You, as the original purchaser of the theme license, completely close the original store (and delete the theme from it) and create a new store that is also owned by you on a separate Shopify account.

In this case, you can request a registration transfer from Out of the Sandbox under the following terms:

  • You must completely close your original store and provide proof that the Shopify account originally used has been closed.
  • You must also delete all copies of the theme from that store.
  • You provide both the new and old store addresses to Out of the Sandbox.
  • If your license transfer is approved, you will not be able to use or re-register the theme on the old or any other store.

It’s worth noting that, if you decide to close your Shopify store and reopen one, you can use your existing Shopify account but simply update the settings and theme to reflect the new business name and content.

This can actually be easier for a variety of reasons, since not only does it not require re-registering or transferring your theme, but it avoids the hassle of setting up payment gateways and other administrative functionality all over again.

In addition, in many cases, you may be able to “recycle” most of the old content from your old store to a new one on the same Shopify account — so this option is always worth considering.

Unregistered themes

Continuing to use an unregistered theme can be problematic for a variety of reasons:

  • Your theme license could, either accidentally or nefariously, be linked to another Shopify store, meaning your theme license could become invalid and you’d need to purchase a new license.
  • You won’t be able to use the free or paid Shopify theme updater app plans without a valid registration.
  • When contacting Out of the Sandbox for support, our team may not be able to answer your requests, as outlined in our support policy, if your registration cannot be located. In addition, registering your theme gives our support team valuable background details about you and your store that can make it faster and more efficient to get help.
  • You may miss important announcements, feature releases and special offers from Out of the Sandbox.

Your online shop may be flagged as one without a valid paid license for the theme and therefore potentially in violation of copyright laws; this could lead to investigation and even a Shopify DMCA takedown notice.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.

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