How to Point Domain to Cloudways

Pointing domain to Cloudways can be a challenging process for beginners with no prior experience with such activities. Here we share a simple and easy guide to point your domain to Cloudways and also to acquire an SSL certificate for your domain.

You may ask, the difference between pointing Name Servers to Cloudways vs pointing to other hostings. The answer is simple. In other hostings, you will point your domain to their hosting name servers. In the case of Cloudways/ dedicated servers, we point domain DNS records to server IP. The process may look complicated. We make you understand the process in a simplistic way.

If you are using Cloudflare (not through your existing hosting panel), it is extremely easy and the process will hardly take 5 minutes in total. If you have absolutely NO prior experience, dealing with Cloudflare, do not worry. Each and every step is discussed in detail.

Now assuming you own a domain, purchased through any domain registrar like GoDaddy, NameCheap, Google, etc. So, you must have access to their panel, without which we cannot continue.

We strongly suggest you point your name servers to Cloudflare in order to make this process easy and safe during migrations. Cloudflare can protect your domain and its contents during the process of migration as directory listing will be enabled.

If your domain is already pointing to Cloudflare, you can skip to the next heading.

Point Domain to Cloudflare Manually

If your site hasn’t been added to Cloudflare, first, create an account at Cloudflare by providing your personal email (like Gmail, don’t provide domain-based email id).

When you add your site with a 0$ plan, Cloudflare will provide you with two name servers. Go to your Domain Registrar panel and update the newly provided Name Servers. If the site is already hosted, Cloudflare will automatically fetch the old hosting records for you.

For a detailed guide, follow this article on Three ways to Point your Domain to Cloudflare.

Once the domain is pointed to Cloudflare, kindly test the NS (Name Servers) using any DNS checker service like dnschecker.org. This is very important. The name servers take some time to propagate. Once fully propagated, the NS records should show the ones provided by Cloudflare.

FYI, Cloudflare just acts as a mediator providing security. If you don’t wish to have Cloudflare protection on your site, visit the domain registrar and change/ add the records mentioned below. The process is the same for both Cloudflare and the domain registrars.

Point Domain to Cloudways

The moment you create a server on Cloudways, you will receive a Dedicated IP for your server. Make sure you have that ready. Whether you add an Application or not, it doesn’t matter at this point.

In order to point your domain to Cloudways, we have to change some of our DNS records in the domain registrar panel OR in the Cloudflare panel. We will add two records. A record pointing to IP and a CNAME record pointing to the domain name as mentioned below.

Cloudways Cloudflare A Record

A record will always point to IP Address. If you have already added your site to Cloudflare previously, just change the IP. Remove other records and keep only the ones necessary.

Cloudways Cloudflare CNAME Record

CNAME record will have always the name as ‘www‘ and will point to the host itself.

Note: There is no use in checking your A record using dnschecker.org once pointed through Cloudflare. For security reasons Cloudflare will hide your IP from the Public. A record always displays Cloudflare IPs.

The moment you point A record on Cloudflare to Cloudways IP, the domain will be instantly pointed to Cloudways.

We hope you understood the process of pointing the domain to Cloudways. Now let us know the process to generate SSL for your domain. It is very important to have this basic knowledge or else, beginners may face troubles/ longer downtimes. Any problems faced during this process, beginners will have a hard time resolving them.

SSL for Domain

If your domain is already inside of Cloudflare protection, you already have a free Cloudflare SSL certificate by default. This is a type of complimentary SSL certificate and not a fully pledged certificate.

Until and unless you have a fully pledged SSL certificate (Either purchased or a free one from Let’s Encrypt, etc), you will set the protection level to ‘Flexible‘ and NOT Strict‘. If you set it to ‘strict‘ without a custom certificate, your website will have problems loading. If you are getting any SSL errors, shift the protection level to ‘Flexible‘.

We recommend instead of messing up the protection level, you follow the steps we mentioned below.

An SSL can ONLY be obtained from SSL providers (like Let’s Encrypt) if the domain and name servers are FULLY pointing to the hosting provider. In our case, Cloudways is our host.

Don’t worry!. Cloudways will do this for you. You just need to provide your Email and Domain name. Cloudways will get a certificate for your domain from Let’s Encrypt. It will also Auto-Renew the certificate for you.

To make it more simple, we have mentioned all the steps involved in the process of hosting your site on Cloudways through Cloudflare.

Steps Involved

  1. Point NS to Cloudflare from Domain Providers panel.
  2. Point the DNS A Record to Cloudways IP.
  3. Install WordPress Application.*
  4. Add your Domain to Cloudways Panel.
  5. Obtain SSL for that Domain.
  6. Restore Backup.

*- You must add one WP application. Later you can delete that. Or, you can migrate/ restore your backup.

To avoid all types of conflicts, we strongly suggest you go through our article on How to Create WordPress Application in Cloudways with SSL.

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