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How Do I Take My Website Live from Cloudways?
How Do I Take My Website Live from Cloudways?

On Cloudways but don’t know how to make your site Live? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can do this.

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Written by Cloudways Product
Updated this week

Table of Contents

How Do I Take My Website Live from Cloudways

First of all, please select your platform:

Cloudways Flexible

1. Register Your Domain

If this is your first time building a website, you'll need a domain. You can skip to the next item on the checklist if you already have a domain. A domain name is your website name, e.g., cloudways.icu. It is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website.

How to Buy a Domain?

You can use any domain registrar to register your domain. The popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, NameCheap, and DreamHost.

2. Launch Your Application and Server

Next, you must launch your application and a server at Cloudways Platform if you haven't yet. You can launch an application and host it either on a new server or on an existing server. You can learn which web applications you can host at Cloudways.

Tip

After you launch your application, you can test your site and explore its functionality. Once you're ready to take your site live with your domain, you can go ahead and proceed to the next item.

3. Map Your Domain & Manage DNS Records

Now, it's time to take your site live with your domain. This involves simple steps, such as adding your domain(s) to the Cloudways Platform and pointing those domains to Cloudways using the DNS records.

  1. From the top menu bar, open Servers.

  2. Next, choose the server where your desired application is deployed.

  3. Click www.

  4. Next, choose your application name.

  5. Under Application Management, select Domain Management.

  6. Next, click Add Domain.

  7. Now, add your domain. You can add a root domain, e.g., cloudways.icu or a subdomain, e.g., support.cloudways.icu. Alternatively, you can add a WildCard domain, e.g., *.cloudways.icu, which covers all the subdomains simultaneously instead of adding each domain individually.

    Once done, click Add Domain.

    Tip

    Adding a root domain, e.g., cloudways.icu, will automatically cover the domain with a www alias.

  8. If you have any additional domains associated with the same application, e.g., cloudways.co.uk or app.cloudways.icu, you can add them here by clicking Add Domain. These additional domains will be added as an alias.

  9. Next, you need to make one of your domains a primary domain. Then, all the other domains will be added as an alias. You can learn about the differences between primary and alias domains.

    You navigate to your desired domain and click ⋮ More Options. Next, select Make Primary to make your domain a primary domain.

    Next, click Set as Primary to confirm the selection.

  10. Next, you need to add your DNS records in your DNS registrar panel. We have also created a guide about creating A records to point your domain to your Cloudways server, as this step is crucial to take your website live.

    In this tutorial, we have used Namecheap to add and manage our DNS records. Of course, you can also use any DNS registrar of your choice, but the process should be identical.

    Please note that the domain registrar is the company from where you purchased your domain, while the DNS records can be hosted at the same domain registrar or any third-party service.

Tip

If you are looking for a seamless way to add and manage these DNS records on Cloudways, you can consider the DNS Made Easy add-on, a powerful tool designed to simplify DNS management. With DNS Made Easy, you can easily manage your domain's DNS records directly on the Cloudways Platform.

For detailed steps and information, please take a look at our dedicated article on how to use DNS Made Easy and learn to create A records to point your domain to your Cloudways application.

4. Secure Your Site Using HTTPS

This is an essential step in your journey to build your website; an unsecured website is very vulnerable and risky for your customers and online activity. Learn what SSL/TLS is and why you should use it.

Cloudways Platform offers an out-of-the-box Free Let's Encrypt SSL Certificate for all your applications, so you are secured from day one. Let's Encrypt Certificates are free and get automatically renewed upon expiry. Alternatively, you can also use your Custom SSL certificate, which must be bought from any Certificate Authority (CA) or certificate vendor.

We have created video tutorials on enabling HTTPS on single and multiple domains.

Once your SSL certificate is configured, you must ensure HTTPS redirection is in place. Cloudways Platform will prompt you to do this right after installing the SSL certificate, or you can manually force HTTPS redirection through application settings later.

5. Configure Email Add-ons

Transactional emails refer to automated emails triggered by your application, including shipping confirmation, password reset links, notifications, and updates. These emails require a gateway from where to be sent; else, they will be sent directly from your server, which is not a recommended method and primarily risks being tagged as spam.

If you send emails from your server (1-3000 emails/month), you can use free services like Gmail SMTP; however, if you continuously need to send numerous emails per month, we recommend you use our inexpensive ElasticEmail add-on or other alternate services like Sendgrid, Mailgun, or any Custom SMTP Add-on.

How to Set up a Personal Mailbox

If you need a mailbox for your domain (e.g., [email protected]) to send and receive emails, we have partnered with Rackspace to offer you their reliable mailboxes at great discounts. You can configure your Rackspace Email Add-on using the Cloudways Platform. The best part about the Rackspace mailbox is that you can easily configure it to send and receive emails with your favorite mail clients.

6. Set up Cloudflare Enterprise

Cloudflare Enterprise is for mission-critical applications critical to your business. Integrating the Cloudflare Enterprise with your application allows you to access 200+ unique locations for the Global Content Delivery Network, an intelligent website firewall, and many performance and security features. Whether you are a small, medium, or large-sized business, the Enterprise plan is the right choice.

You can learn more about Cloudflare and why you should use Cloudflare Enterprise.

Cloudways Autonomous

1. Register Your Domain

If this is your first time building a website, you'll need a domain. You can skip to the next item on the checklist if you already have a domain. A domain name is your website name, e.g., cloudways.icu. It is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website.

How to Buy a Domain?

You can use any domain registrar to register your domain. The popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, NameCheap, and DreamHost.

2. Choose Your Plan

Log in to your Cloudways Platform using your email address and password. Choose the platform as Cloudways Autonomous. If this is your first time, you will be asked to subscribe to a plan to kick start.

  1. First, click Get Started.

  2. Next, choose your Plan and click Select Plan.

  3. Finally, click Confirm Plan.

3. Launch Your Application

Next, you must launch your application on the Cloudways Platform. Cloudways Autonomous currently supports WordPress and WooCommerce applications.

  1. First, enter the Name of your application.

  2. Next, select the Region from the given choices. You should choose a region (or a nearby region) where most customers are located to minimize the latency.

  3. Choose your Application.

  4. Finally, click Launch Application.

Your high-speed application will be ready in a few minutes, and you will also get a notification once the application is successfully launched.

Tip

After you launch your application, you can test your site and explore its functionality. Once you're ready to take your site live with your domain, you can go ahead and proceed to the next item.

3. Map Your Domain & Manage DNS Records

Now, it's time to take your site live with your domain. This involves simple steps, such as adding your domain(s) to the Cloudways Platform and pointing those domains to Cloudways using the DNS records. Cloudways Autonomous uses Cloudflare Enterprise, which means the application you launch leverages Cloudflare Enterprise by default and has an enterprise-grade Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Content Delivery Network (CDN) activated by default, along with edge caching.

Do you want to manage your domain's DNS records on Cloudflare (free or paid plan) or not? Please choose from the following options because further instructions vary on your selection:

Important

  • If you are not using Cloudflare (DNS or proxy), it qualifies as a non-Cloudflare domain.

  • If you will be using Cloudflare regardless of an orange proxy cloud in the DNS section, it qualifies as a Cloudflare domain.

Option #1 — Non-Cloudflare Domains

  1. From the side menu bar, open Application.

  2. Next, choose your desired application.

  3. Under Overview, select Domain Management.

  4. Next, add your domain. Cloudflare Enterprise supports root domains and subdomains. You can enter a root domain (example.com) or a subdomain (support.example.com).

    Entering the root domain also covers the wildcard domain (*.example.com), which means all the subdomains, including the www domain, will be automatically supported and protected by Cloudflare Enterprise.

  5. Next, click Add Domain.

  6. Next, you must verify the domain ownership by adding TXT records in your DNS registrar panel. The process of adding DNS records varies across different DNS managers. We are using Namecheap for demonstration purposes.

    Tip

    If handling DNS records at your domain registrar seems like a hassle, and you'd prefer centralizing everything on Cloudways, using the DNS Made Easy add-on is your solution. This robust tool simplifies DNS management, allowing you to handle your domain's DNS records directly on the Cloudways Platform.

    For step-by-step guidance and more details, you can check out our dedicated article on how to use DNS Made Easy.

    First, copy the TXT Record 1 (Name/Host and Value).

  7. Visit your DNS registrar panel, select your domain, and add the first TXT record in the DNS management section.

    Type: TXT

    Name/Host: _cf-custom-hostname (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    If your DNS provider accepts only fully qualified domains in the host or name field, add your hostname and root domain. For example, use "_cf-custom-hostname.example.com" instead of "_cf-custom-hostname".

    Hostname/Value/Target: UUID value (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    TTL: Automatic/Default or select of your choice

  8. Go back to the Cloudways Platform. If a second TXT record is also available, add the second TXT record in the same manner. Copy the TXT Record 2 (Name/Host and Value).

  9. Go back to your DNS registrar panel and add the second TXT record.

    Type: TXT

    Name/Host: @ (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    If your domain registrar does not accept @ as name/host, use the root domain or leave it blank. In the case of the subdomain, specify that subdomain as name/host.

    Hostname/Value/Target: UUID value (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    TTL: Automatic/Default or select of your choice

    Once you have added the DNS records, it may take up to 24 hours for your DNS changes to propagate and be effective. Therefore, Cloudways will periodically check to verify if the required DNS records are added or not so domain ownership can be verified.

  10. Switch to the Cloudways Platform, and click I Have Copied These Records. You will notice the current status as 'Pending Validation', which means Cloudways is still verifying the ownership of your domain.

    The time required to verify ownership is dependent on the DNS propagation. We will notify you via email once the domain ownership is verified, and the status will also change to 'Domain Not Live'. If the status doesn't change after receiving the email, you can click the ⟳ Verify Again button.

  11. Once the domain ownership is verified, you need to point your domain to a new IP address using two A Records. Click View A Records to view more information.

  12. First, copy the A Record (Name/Host and Value) with both IP addresses.

  13. Revisit your DNS registrar panel and add the two A records. Learn how to point A Records.

    Important

    Before adding the A records, remove any existing A and CNAME records for your domain pointing to your Cloudways server IP address to avoid conflicts.

    A Record #1:

    Type: A

    Name/Host: @ (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    If your domain registrar does not accept @ as name/host, use the root domain or leave it blank. In the case of the subdomain, specify that subdomain as name/host.

    Hostname/Value/Target: First IP address (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    TTL: Automatic/Default or select of your choice

    A Record #2:

    Type: A

    Name/Host: @ (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    If your domain registrar does not accept @ as name/host, use the root domain or leave it blank. In the case of the subdomain, specify that subdomain as name/host.

    Hostname/Value/Target: Second IP address (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    TTL: Automatic/Default or select of your choice

    After configuring A records for your root domain, we recommend pointing the www version of your website to Cloudflare Enterprise Network. To do so, simply add or edit a CNAME record for your www domain pointing to your root domain.

    Type: CNAME

    Name/Host: www

    Hostname/Value/Target: example.com

    TTL: Automatic/Default or select of your choice

    Be sure to replace example.com with your domain name.

    Once you have added the DNS records, it may take up to 24 hours for your DNS changes to propagate and be effective. Therefore, Cloudways will periodically check to verify if the required DNS records are added or not for Cloudflare integration.

  14. Switch back to the Cloudways Platform and click Done; you will notice the current status as 'Domain not live', which means Cloudways is still verifying the DNS records.

    The time required to complete Cloudflare integration is dependent on the DNS propagation. We will notify you via email once the Cloudflare integration is successful, and the status will also change to 'Active'. If the status doesn't change after receiving the email, you can click the ⟳ Refresh button.

  15. Once the website is live, the status will change to 'Active'. Next, visit How to Manage Cloudflare to learn more about adding additional domains to it and viewing the statistics and performance of your application.

Option #2 — Cloudflare Domains

To integrate Cloudflare with Cloudflare domains, you need to verify the ownership of your domain and point it to the Cloudflare Enterprise Network using CNAME records.

  1. From the side menu bar, open Application.

  2. Next, choose your desired application.

  3. Under Overview, select Domain Management.

  4. Next, add your domain. Cloudflare Enterprise supports root domains and subdomains. You can enter a root domain (example.com) or a subdomain (support.example.com).

    Entering the root domain also covers the wildcard domain (*.example.com), which means all the subdomains, including the www domain, will be automatically supported and protected by Cloudflare Enterprise.

  5. Next, click Add Domain.

  6. Next, you must verify the domain ownership by adding TXT records in your DNS registrar panel.

    First, copy the TXT Record 1 (Name/Host and Value).

  7. Visit your Cloudflare Dashboard, select your domain, navigate to the DNS tab, and add the TXT record by clicking Add Record.

    Type: TXT

    Name: _cf-custom-hostname (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    TTL: Auto

    Content: UUID value (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

  8. Go back to the Cloudways Platform. Add the second TXT record in the same manner. Copy the TXT Record 2 (Name/Host and Value).

  9. Go back to Cloudflare and add the second TXT record.

    Type: TXT

    Name: @ (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    In the case of the subdomain, specify that subdomain as name/host.

    TTL: Auto

    Content: UUID value (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    Click Save.

    Once you have added the DNS records, it may take up to 24 hours for your DNS changes to propagate and be effective. Therefore, Cloudways will periodically check to verify if the required DNS records are added or not so domain ownership can be verified.

  10. Switch to the Cloudways Platform, and click I Have Copied These Records. You will notice the current status as 'Pending Validation', which means Cloudways is still verifying the ownership of your domain.

    The time required to verify ownership is dependent on the DNS propagation. We will notify you via email once the domain ownership is verified, and the status will also change to 'Domain Not Live'. If the status doesn't change after receiving the email, you can click the ⟳ Verify Again button.

  11. Once the domain ownership is verified, you need to point your domain to your site's CNAME record. Click View CNAME Record to view more information.

  12. First, copy the CNAME Record (Name/Host and Hostname).

  13. Revisit your Cloudflare Dashboard and add the CNAME record.

    Important

    Before adding the CNAME record, remove any existing CNAME and A records for your domain pointing to your Cloudways server IP address to avoid conflicts.

    Type: CNAME

    Name: @ (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    In the case of the subdomain, specify that subdomain as name/host.

    Target: secure.cloudways.cloud (as shown on the Cloudways Platform)

    Proxy Status: Off (Gray cloud)

    TTL: Auto

    Click Save.

    After configuring CNAME records for your root domain, we recommend pointing the www version of your website to Cloudflare Enterprise Network. To do so, simply add or edit a CNAME record for your www domain pointing to your root domain.

    Type: CNAME

    Name: www

    Target: secure.cloudways.cloud

    Proxy Status: Off (Gray cloud)

    TTL: Auto

    Once you have added the DNS records, it may take up to 24 hours for your DNS changes to propagate and be effective. Therefore, Cloudways will periodically check to verify if the required DNS records are added or not for Cloudflare integration.

  14. Switch back to the Cloudways Platform and click Done; you will notice the current status as 'Domain not live', which means Cloudways is still verifying the DNS records.

    The time required to complete Cloudflare integration is dependent on the DNS propagation. We will notify you via email once the Cloudflare integration is successful, and the status will also change to 'Active'. If the status doesn't change after receiving the email, you can click the ⟳ Refresh button.

  15. Once Cloudflare is integrated with your domain, the status will change to 'Active'.

That's it! We hope this article was helpful. If you need any help, then feel free to search your query on Cloudways Support Center or contact us via chat (Need a Hand > Send us a Message). Alternatively, you can also create a support ticket.


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