Three ways to Point your Domain to Cloudflare

You can point any domain to Cloudflare either manually or directly within the Cloudflare Dashboard. We generally use the manual way by pointing only the ‘A’ record and ‘CNAME’ record to the corresponding Hosting IP. You also have to point to other DNS records if you use those services. If you use the Email Service of your hosting provider, you also need to add ‘MX’ records to your Cloudflare DNS list which can also be done later.

Here we have explained all the three ways you can add your domain to Cloudflare and secure your web hosting for free!.

Hosting Method

The easiest single-click way to add Cloudflare protection to your site is through your hosting control panel. Most of the hosting control panels are partnered with Cloudflare services. Find the section of ‘Cloudflare’ inside the dashboard and follow the steps mentioned.

If you use this method, you can control some of the things directly through the hosting control panel instead of logging into the Cloudflare dashboard.

The problem with this method is, in case you move to another hosting provider, you will lose the Cloudflare protection on your site. In the meantime, your site will be vulnerable to attacks. Hence we don’t recommend this method.

The beauty of Cloudflare is that, once a domain is added to it, even if it is removed, Cloudflare still remembers its settings and all the ‘Rules’ which you have added previously will be intact. Just remember to Login with the same email ID.

Direct Method

Assume that you don’t have access to Cloudflare on your Hosting Control Panel and maybe it is a premium service there. This method is the best method to add your domain to Cloudflare if you don’t have any previous experience.

The process is very simple. Create/ Login to Cloudflare account. Then add a new site. Enter the domain name and select the 0$ plan. Cloudflare will start scanning the site for any existing DNS records.

Always create an account at Cloudflare by proving your personal email (like Gmail, don’t provide domain-based email id). If you do provide a business email, make sure that it isn’t the one related to the domain in question.

If the domain is parked, it will show records of the Domain Registrar. If your site is already hosted, it will show all the records. Click on continue. It will then provide you will unique two ‘Name Servers’ (NS) which will be always the same for all the websites you add to the same Cloudflare account.

Once you have your NS ready, Login to the Domain Provider account. It can be GoDaddy, NameCheap, Google Domain, or any other Domain Registrar. Once logged in, select the domain which needs to be pointed to Cloudflare.

Go to the ‘Manage DNS’ settings of the domain and then change the Name Servers to the New Ones (Provided by Cloudflare). Once done, refresh the page to confirm. Now within 5-10 minutes (24 hours according to provider), your domain will start pointing itself to the new Name Servers. You can track its progress by using any online DNS Checker Tool.

After about half an hour, your domain will be pointed to Cloudflare. You can confirm this in the Cloudflare dashboard.

Manual Method

This method generally holds true for sites that aren’t been added to Cloudflare. You will first point your domain to Cloudflare on the ‘domain provider’s panel’. Once the propagation is completed, you can point it to any hosting service, just by knowing the IP address of the hosting.

You have to follow this method if you use any Cloud Hosting service like ‘Cloudways’. or VPS. Cloud Hosting provides you with a dedicated IP address. You just need to point Cloudflare to their IP. Below are the records which you need to add.

To be minimal, only two records are enough, i.e. A and CNAME records. FTP has also been added to protect FTP connections as well. Not mandatory though.

Pointing Domain to Cloudflare by IP address

You will point A record to the IP address with Host Name ‘@’, nothing but the domain name.

CNAME record must be pointed to Domain name with host ‘www’.

You can then later add any other records once the domain is pointed. Before pointing, make sure that the Name Servers have been propagated completely.

Both the Direct and Manual methods are technically the same. In the direct method, all records will be added. In the manual method, only required ones will be added. It is always a good idea to use either of these. When you move to a different hosting, just change the necessary records. In order to point the domain to any hosting, A record and CNAME record must point to the new hosting’s IP. You can then change your MX records later.

Note: You may ask the difference between the Direct Method and the Manual method. here is your answer. In the direct method, all your DNS records are automatically imported. In the manual method, you manually have to add your DNS records if necessary. However, if you have added the domain to Cloudflare using the direct method when you shift hosting providers, you manually have to change/ delete old hosting records. The same applies to the manual method as well.

In reality, you need only two DNS records. A record and a CNAME record. Rest records can be added if necessary. For any questions, please comment.

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