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How To Enable and Setup Cloudflare for Your Website

What is Cloudflare?

CloudFlare is a free content delivery network service. It stores your static content across multiple servers worldwide. For example, if your website is hosted on one of our Dallas servers, and one of your visitors is from Canada, they will see the content from CloudFlare’s Canadian location. It makes your website’s static content load quickly no matter where your visitors come from.

ChemiCloud has partnered with Cloudflare to offer a CDN service with all of our web hosting plans. Using Cloudflare means that loading a webpage will take less time, and improve website speed and performance.

How to Enable Cloudflare

By using Cloudflare’s full setup, you are changing your Domain’s Nameservers to Cloudflare. This means any DNS changes you need to make, such as adding or removing A or TXT records (for example) will have to take place from Cloudflare’s control panel, NOT your cPanel > DNS > Zone Editor.

Cloudflare offers many different plans for customers, but most users will find their free plan is a great start.

Step 1) To get started, you’ll need to create a free account. Head over to this link to do just that.

 

Step 2) After entering your email and password, Cloudflare will ask you to enter the domain name of your site:

Step 3) Next, you’ll see a list of the Cloudflare plans. To proceed with the free plan, click on Free and Continue.

Cloudflare offers many different plans for customers, but most users will find their free plan is a great start.

Are you tired of slow web hosting? We use LiteSpeed caching to deliver content to your visitors almost instantly. ⚡ Check out our web hosting plans!

Step 4) Cloudflare will scan the existing DNS records of your website based on the domain you previously entered.

After your records are scanned, they will be presented to you. You’ll also have the option to add any records which may have been missed.

Be sure to review your DNS records carefully as Cloudflare’s scanner is not 100% perfect. It is suggested to compare the records you see here with the ones in your cPanel > DNS > Zone Editor to be certain.

On this page, you can also see which DNS record types will be proxied (or placed behind) by Cloudflare and which ones cannot be proxied.

Step 5) After verifying, click Continue to proceed to the last step.

The last step is to change the DNS nameservers for your domain from your web hosts or domain registrar’s DNS to Cloudflare. You will be assigned two random DNS nameservers from the Cloudflare network. In the example below, you can see mine are matteo and walk.

The nameservers must be changed at your domain registrar, not your web hosting company unless you purchased your domain from your web hosting company.

After you have changed the DNS nameservers with your domain registrar, it may take a few minutes to a few hours to update, but you can click the blue “Done, check nameservers” button to proceed.

Cloudflare Quick Start Guide

Next, you will be prompted to complete the Cloudflare Quick Start Guide.

The Cloudflare Quick Start Guide will help you improve security, optimize performance, and get the most from the free plan.

Step one is to improve security by turning on Automatic HTTPS Rewrites. This is for sites that may have mixed content on them, such as a link you inserted where you may have forgotten to link it as https://. You’ll definitely want this feature enabled:

Next is the Always Use HTPS feature. This means if someone types your website in their browser as http://www.yourwebsite.tld, Cloudflare will automatically reroute them to https://www.yourwebsite.tld, the secure version of your site. This feature is toggled off by default. You also want this one enabled, so click the toggle to enable this feature. Then click save.

The next performance feature is to enable Auto Minify for your JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. This is a really handy feature that can speed up delivery of code on your website by removing unnecessary characters, like whitespaces, comments, and more from the code without changing the functionality of the code. Let’s leave these three features are unchecked by default.

The final performance option you can enable is Brotli Compression. Brotli, not to be confused with Broccoli, is a fairly new web standard which uses data compression techniques to compress data as it is requested by the web browser, and can actually outperform gzip in many situations. Brotli is commonly used to compress fonts as they are delivered to the browser, but it’s also important to know, Brotli is being used a a general compression method by Chrome and Firefox, rather than being one just used for fonts. For on the fly, dynamic content compression Brotli may have some performance issues. Cloudflare did some testing and published their findings which is an interesting read if you have some time.

Ensure this option is toggled to on, then click the blue Enable button to continue.

On the summary page, you’ll see a recap of the changes you’ve made, just click the blue Finish to complete the quick start guide.

Complete Cloudflare Setup

After you complete the Quick Start Guide, you’ll be directed to your Cloudflare Dashboard. By now, your Domain Registrar has probably updated their DNS records to reflect your changes to CloudFlare, so it’s a great time to re-check your nameservers using the tool at the bottom of the Cloudflare Dashboard:

After clicking re-check, your request will be placed in the queue for Cloudflare to check in a few hours. It probably won’t take that long though. If you refresh the page a few minutes after clicking “Re-check now”, you’ll likely see this:

Congrats! Your site is now using Cloudflare CDN!

Updated on April 13, 2022

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