If you own a website, you should think of how to add your a website on CloudFlare. When you sign up, your website traffic is routed through their intelligent global network. CloudFlare automatically optimizes the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance.
Almost everyone who signs up for the network has reported a huge decrease in server resources utilization especially bandwidth, decrease in spam and an increase in performance. This is because all threats and abusive bots are automatically blocked from accessing your website. Suspicious IP addresses have to go through a Captcha verification to access your website implicating with CloudFlare you are sure you are receiving only real visitors on your website.
Steps to add a website on CloudFlare
There are two ways you can add a website on CloudFlare: The first way is by signing up directly through your control panel or alternatively singing up directly from CloudFlare’s website. The first alternative is only possible if your web hosting provider is a partner of CloudFlare unlike the second alternative that is available for all websites. Check out CloudFlare Web Hosting partners to see if your web hosting provider is among or alternatively you can look through your control panel dashboard and see if CloudFlare is installed (This is the quickest way).
If CloudFlare is already installed on your control panel dashboard then all you have to do is click on the application and begin configuring it. Please note that you won’t be able to configure CloudFlare if Advanced DNS Zone editor is not enabled on your account. The feature can only be enabled by your web hosting provider. If you try signing up and your asked to enable advanced dns zone editor then try contacting your web hosting provider to enable the feature for you.
Adding Website through hosting partner
Before i begin on this step, if you don’t see any CloudFlare icon among the pre-installed applications on your control panel dashboard then it means your hosting provider is not a partner of CloudFlare and this guide is irrelevant to you. Check for the second guide below that applies to all websites.
1 – Sign in / Sign up to CloudFlare
Click on the CloudFlare application icon on your control panel dashboard. A new page will load and all you have to do is sign up for an account on CloudFlare or Login to your account in case you already have one.
2 – Check your email to claim your password
If you are already registered on CloudFlare then this step is irrelevant to you. A password box usually appears down in case the system verifies your account exists on their server. If you signed up for the first time then you have to check the email address you used for registering and check for a mail from CloudFlare. This mail usually has your username which is the email you registered with and a link you can follow to claim your password.
3 – Enter your new password
The link will direct your to a page on CloudFlare’s website where you can change your password. Enter your new password on the password fields and click on “Reset Password”
4 – Login to your Cloud Flare Account
After resetting your password, a login screen will appear. Simply login to your account and configure CloudFlare settings on your account. These settings will not appear right away because we havent yet added our website to the CloudFlare account. We just created an account on CloudFlare. The last step is the one that does this trick for us.
5 – Enable CloudFlare from your website’s Control Panel dashboard
Remember where we initiated this whole procedure from? You can now go back to your website’s control panel dashboard and click on CloudFlare again and this time round you should be able to see your website below the page. All you have to do is click on the cloud-like CloudFlare logo on the right and it should turn orange in color. If it turns orange it means CloudFlare is enabled on your website.
That’s it for adding a website on CloudFlare through it’s hosting partner. Your web host will do everything for you. The DNS changes should take around 12-24 hours and in most cases your website remains accessible. In some cases your website might not be accessible for a few hours until DNS propagation is done. You can also login to your CloudFlare account on their website and begin making configurations.
Adding Website through CloudFlare’s website
The good thing with this procedure is it applies to all websites and hosting providers. You don’t have to worry whether your hosting provider is a partner of CloudFlare or not, all you have to do is register from their website and change name-servers. See step by step guide below:
1 – Visit CloudFlare’s Website
The fist step is to visit CloudFlare’s Website because that’s where we are going to sign up from and add a website. Visit CloudFlare’s site, click on sign up and fill in your credentials.
2 – Add a website
After signing up you will automatically be logged in. Once logged in, a page that lets you add a website will appear. Enter the URL of your website the way it is. if you use a www extension or a SSL certificate then you have to include it. In fact, it’s always recommended to visit your website and copy the URL directly from the browser’s resource bar and use it for adding a website. That way you will be sure you have entered the correct address for your website.
3 – Scan of DNS Records
The third step is more of automatic. CloudFlare will automatically scan your DNS records and retrieve the data it needs. All you have to do is press continue when the scan is done.
4 – Verify DNS Records
The third step should return all your DNS records. You have to verify that all your DNS records are listed below. Now take a look down and look at the records and you must be seeing some orange clouds and grey clouds on the right of each DNS record respectively. The record with an orange cloud means the traffic to the DNS is routed through CloudFlare and the ones with grey clouds means their traffic is not routed through CloudFlare.
It’s always recommended to only route the traffic that goes to your main website and leave control panel records un-routed. By default, only traffic that routes to your website is routed hence, you don’t need to change much on this step. all you have to do is click on “Continue”.
5 – Select a Plan
CloudFlare has four plans and each plan comes with it’s own benefits. Check out their plans, pricing and features below:
- Free Website: Their Free Website Plan is free but entitles you to Basic Security Protection, Fast Website Performance, SSL (Limited Browsers) and keeps your website Always Online.
- Pro Website: Their PRO Website Plan costs $20 / Month and entitles you to Web Application Firewall (WAF), Image and Mobile Optimization, SSL (All Browsers) and Customizable Error Pages on top of what a free plan offers.
- Business Website: Their Business Website plan costs $200 a months and entitles you to 100% Uptime Guarantee, Advanced DDoS Security, Railgun Web Optimization and SSL Custom Certificates on top of what the Free Website and PRO Website plans offer.
- Enterprise Website: Their most effective Enterprise Website Plan costs $5000+ a month and entitles you to so many features including Raw Log Access, Dedicated Account Manager, 24/7 Phone Support and Multi-User Access on top of what all the other plans offer.
For our case we shall use the free plan. Select the Free Website plan and click on “Continue”.
6 – Update Name Servers
After selecting your plan you will be asked to update name servers to the new CLoudFlare name servers you have been provided with. If your control panel has an option of managing your domain then well and good, all you have to do is change name servers and make sure your domain points to the new name servers CloudFlare has provided you with. If you don’t have access to your domain then you have to contact your web hosting provider with the new name servers and ask them to make the changes.
After finishing the setup, your website status will keep showing a pending notice until CloudFlare detects the name servers have been changed then it will show an active notice. The process is quite simple if done the right way else you will face downtime problems due to poor configurations of DNS settings.