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How do I set up Cloudflare on Flywheel?

Updated on August 26th, 2021

Getting set up with Cloudflare on Flywheel is quick and easy! Most of the set up is done directly through Cloudflare’s dashboard, and Flywheel doesn’t require any special configurations to get going.

If you’d like to know a little more about what Cloudflare is and what services they provide, have a look at Cloudflare’s pricing page.


Table of Contents:

1. Create a Cloudflare account
2. Add your site to Cloudflare
3. Choose a Cloudflare plan
4. Import and verify your domain’s DNS records
5. Copy Cloudflare’s nameserver values and put them in place with your domain registrar
6. Allow time for propagation
7. A note about DNS proxies and Flywheel’s DNS Checker
8. Managing Cloudflare settings


Create a Cloudflare account

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.


Add your site to Cloudflare

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”.


Choose a Cloudflare plan

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.


Import and verify your domain’s DNS records

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.

Note

If you have email through your domain, make sure the MX records are in place correctly with Cloudflare! Cloudflare should detect the current settings and carry them over safely, but if not, email may become undeliverable until the MX records are properly updated.

Copy Cloudflare’s nameserver values and put them in place with your domain registrar

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:

The process of changing name server values will differ between registrars


Allow time for propagation

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.


A note about DNS proxies and Flywheel’s DNS Checker

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.


Managing Cloudflare settings

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.

Note

Some Cloudflare settings can cause issues on Flywheel in certain cases. See this help article for more details.

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