Cloudflare is fully compatible with all Flywheel sites. If you’d like to take advantage of Cloudflare’s features, you can do so quickly and easily, thanks to their simple setup.
Cloudflare is a third-party service that acts as a go-between from your site’s server to your users. Cloudflare adds various features related to speed, security, and performance along the way. Free and paid plans are available, but some features are restricted to paid tiers.
To use Cloudflare, you enable your domain to use their nameservers, making Cloudflare the source for your domain’s DNS records and details. This means traffic will pass through Cloudflare on its way to your site’s server. You’ll set up your DNS records in Cloudflare’s dashboard rather than through your registrar, as we otherwise recommend.
There are a few reasons you might want to use Cloudflare. Perhaps your registrar doesn’t provide nameservers for you to use, or you’re interested in an increased level of caching and/or security.
If you are running a Pro or Business CloudFlare account for your site and wish to utilize the Polish feature, please reach out to Flywheel Support to update our configuration to enable the Image Optimization service to work correctly.
Cloudflare caches content pretty aggressively, which can cause delays in new content showing, so we recommend enabling their Development Mode setting when making changes to your site. It may also be helpful to install the Cloudflare plugin to manage Cloudflare’s caching of your site.
Cloudflare acts as a reverse proxy. As a result, when a domain uses Cloudflare, DNS detection tools such as whatsmydns.net or dnscheck.app won’t provide accurate results.
Getting set up with Cloudflare on Flywheel is quick and easy! Most of the setup is done directly through Cloudflare’s dashboard, and Flywheel doesn’t require any special configurations to get going.
If you haven’t yet, you’ll start by creating a Cloudflare account, which is free. You can sign up for Cloudflare at www.cloudflare.com.
Once you’ve got an account set up and you’re signed in, click the + Add Site button.
On the next page, enter your site’s domain in the text field beneath the “Accelerate and protect your site with Cloudflare” header and click “Add site”.
At this point, you’ll be prompted to select a Cloudflare plan. You can use Cloudflare for free and get many of the benefits, but they do offer additional services at higher plan tiers. Click here for a list of pricing and benefits for each tier.
Once you’ve chosen a plan, Cloudflare will begin scanning the domain to import any DNS records. The scan will take a minute or so, after which Cloudflare will automatically detect any existing DNS records already in place for your domain, including where the domain is currently pointed, and any email settings.
You’ll see a list of your domain’s existing DNS records once Cloudflare detects them. If you need to change any of these settings or add new DNS records, you can do so at this point, but you can most likely just leave these settings alone.
If your domain is already pointed to Flywheel, you probably don’t want to change anything here. Otherwise, you can update now, or you can do that through your Cloudflare dashboard any time after you’ve completed this setup process. (Here’s how to point your DNS records to Flywheel.)
Note that not all records will show the Cloudflare icon in the status column; only records that control actual web traffic, which usually means A records or CNAMEs that redirect to A records. The gray cloud (or none at all) will likely show in the Status for other DNS records. That’s normal. Those will still work; they just won’t be proxied by Cloudflare.
By default, Cloudflare’s auto settings set the Time to Live (TTL) to 300 seconds, so you should see your changes go live within that timeframe.
You’ll be prompted to change your name servers to values provided by Cloudflare. The current nameservers will display up top, with the replacement nameservers listed below.
For this step, you’ll need to log into your domain registrar account, locate the nameserver values, and change them to the values provided by Cloudflare.
The specific details of this process will vary depending on your registrar. It may be necessary to check your registrar’s help documentation or reach out to your registrar’s support for assistance changing the nameserver values.
Here’s a screenshot of what changing name server values looks like with Hover, just for reference:
Once you’ve saved the proper Cloudflare name server values in your registrar control panel, click the “Done, check nameservers” button in the Cloudflare dashboard. Most of the time, this doesn’t take more than a few minutes, but changes affecting DNS can sometimes take up to 24 hours. In any case, there won’t be any downtime during the transfer. You can always check the progress manually by clicking “Re-check now”.
Once that’s complete, you’ll get a message confirming Cloudflare has activated.
When managing DNS records using a service with a proxy, like Cloudflare or Sucuri, the Flywheel DNS checker will not be able to confirm that DNS is pointed to Flywheel, and will always display a Check DNS button on the site’s Domains card.
This is because all requests for the IP address of your domain will return a proxied value, e.g. a Cloudflare IP instead of a Flywheel one. This is the case for all DNS checking tools as well.
In short, this means DNS checkers are not a reliable source for determining propagation status for sites using Cloudflare. If your site isn’t pointing to Flywheel but it should be, make sure to double-check your DNS record values first.
Now that you’re set up with Cloudflare, you can now manage your domain’s DNS settings through your Cloudflare dashboard. If you’re new to Cloudflare, be sure to check out their guide with Top Tips for New Cloudflare Users.
Domains managed by Cloudflare can take advantage of Flywheel’s partnership with Domain Connect, which allows Flywheel to set up DNS records with Cloudflare on your behalf.
From the site’s Overview tab, click the (+) icon in the Domains list to add the domain you’d like to point to Flywheel.
Fill out the domain information:
• Enter the URL in the Domain field
• Check the box to set the domain to Primary (if this will be your site’s main URL)
• By default, the
www version of the domain will be added (uncheck the box to skip this step)
• Select Yes for “Have you purchased this domain?”
• Click Next
Click the Log in to Cloudflare button, which will take you to your Cloudflare dashboard to sign in.
Once you’re signed in, click Authorize to allow Flywheel to make DNS changes.
www version of your domain was added as well, click Point www at Cloudflare to authorize changes for this subdomain.
Once DNS is updated at Cloudflare, you’ll be taken back to the Flywheel dashboard. Click Back to Site to return to the Overview page.
Repeat the steps above (leaving Primary unchecked) to add any secondary domains.
Cloudflare acts as a reverse proxy, so DNS detection tools such as whatsmydns.net or dnscheck.app are not able to provide accurate results. As a result, the Check DNS button will never switch to ✅Pointed status.
But don’t worry, your site will still resolve to Flywheel, usually after an hour or so. The best way to confirm this is to load up the domain in your browser.
If you run into any snags, it’s a good idea to double-check the following first:
Most likely, you just need to wait a few minutes, as there is a delay between the time DNS changes are made and when they go into effect. This is known as propagation time.
DNS changes by nature can take 24-48 hours to fully update across the entire internet, though it’s generally much quicker. By default, GoDaddy sets the Time to Live (TTL) setting for each record to 1 hour, so you should see your changes go live within that timeframe. By default, Cloudflare’s auto settings set the Time to Live (TTL) to 300 seconds, so you should see your changes go live within that timeframe.
When troubleshooting an issue, a good first step is to disable any proxy services, such as Cloudflare, to ensure the service is not contributing to the problem. Below, we’ll outline the three ways to accomplish this.
This method allows you to disable the proxy at the domain name level.
This will disable Cloudflare for all domains on a site at once.
If you’re not sure what this does, we’d suggest using one of the other methods to disable Cloudflare.
If you have any questions our Happiness Engineers are here to help!
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