Table of Contents

Application security and performance are Cloudways' top priorities. Therefore, we at Cloudways are constantly innovating, taking new measures, and partnering with industry leaders to improve the performance and security of the platform you trust.

In continuation of delivering excellence to you, we have partnered with Cloudflare to introduce the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on to leverage their cutting-edge technology, robust infrastructure, and advanced-level security — all within Cloudways Platform.

Tip

Learn more about Cloudflare and why you should use the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

In this article, you will learn how to integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on with your websites in a few easy steps.

How to Integrate Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on

You can integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on with existing and new websites. But, let's first understand the difference between both as further steps slightly vary.

Existing Websites vs. New Websites

Existing website means that your website is live from Cloudways and uses your custom domain, e.g., example.com.

On the other hand, a new website means that your website is not currently live from Cloudways. Therefore, you should first follow the take site live checklist and complete steps 1, 2, and 3. Once done, come back to this article and resume reading.

Cloudflare Domain vs. Non-Cloudflare Domain

Do you 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:

  1. I use another DNS manager (Non-Cloudflare domain)

  2. I use Cloudflare as my DNS manager (Cloudflare domain)

Important

  • If your domain does not use Cloudflare (DNS or proxy), it qualifies as a non-Cloudflare domain.

  • If your domain uses Cloudflare regardless of an orange proxy cloud in the DNS section, it qualifies as a Cloudflare domain.

Option #1 — Non-Cloudflare Domains

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

Log in to your Cloudways Platform using your credentials.

  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 Cloudflare.

  6. Enter your domain name. 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 if they are associated with the same application.

  7. Next, click Enable.

  8. Next, you must verify the domain ownership by adding one or two 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 you use a DNS Made Easy add-on, contact Cloudways support to add these DNS TXT records.

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

  9. 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

  10. Go back to 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).

  11. 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.

  12. Switch back to the Cloudways Platform, click Next, and click Finish. You will notice the current status as 'Pending Verification', 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 ⟳ Refresh button.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Once Cloudflare is integrated with your domain, 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.

Log in to your Cloudways Platform using your credentials.

  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 Cloudflare.

  6. Enter your domain name. 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.

  7. Next, click Enable.

  8. Next, you must verify the domain ownership by adding one or two 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 you use a DNS Made Easy add-on, contact Cloudways support to add these DNS TXT records.

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

  9. 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)

    Click Save.

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

  11. Go back to your DNS registrar panel 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.

  12. Switch back to the Cloudways Platform, click Next, and click Finish. You will notice the current status as 'Pending Verification', 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 ⟳ Refresh button.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Once Cloudflare is integrated with your domain, 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.

How to Manage Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on

Cloudflare Enterprise dashboard on the Cloudways Platform features many helpful options to manage the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

Add Additional Domains

You can also add additional domains associated with the same application to protect them with the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

For instance, if you have added example.com previously but you also have additional domains associated with the same application, such as example2.com or mydomain.com, you can add them here.

  1. Under the Domains tab, click Add Domains.

  2. Enter your domain name. 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.

  3. Next, click Enable.

The further process is precisely the same as integrating the first domain. Navigate to How to Integrate Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on for step-by-step instructions.

Transfer Domains

You can transfer the Cloudflare subscription of a domain to another application hosted on the same or a different server within your Cloudways account. The traffic will be routed instantly to the selected application once the subscription is transferred.

  1. Under the Domains tab, navigate to your desired domain. Click ⋮ Menu and select Transfer.

  2. Choose your destination application.

  3. Finally, click Transfer.

Delete Domains

You can delete the Cloudflare subscription of your domain if you no longer require the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on. However, deleting a domain from here only cancels the Cloudflare Enterprise subscription for that particular domain.

Important

Deleting a domain means that the traffic for that domain will not be served using Cloudflare; therefore, you need to update your DNS records and point them to your Cloudways server IP address.

  1. Under the Domains tab, navigate to your desired domain. Click ⋮ Menu and select Delete.

  2. Next, click Delete.

View Records

You can view the DNS records you must point to activate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

  1. Under the Domains tab, navigate to your desired domain. Click ⋮ Menu and select View Records.

  2. Next, you will see all the required DNS records.

Bandwidth Consumption

You can view and monitor the bandwidth consumed in the current month by your applications.

  1. To view the bandwidth consumption of each application. Head over to the Domains tab and view the bandwidth consumption of each application.

  2. To view the collective bandwidth usage by all applications, visit the Overview tab and check the Bandwidth section.

Caching

The static content (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images files) is cached in Cloudflare's Global Content Delivery Network (CDN). By default, caching will be enabled to accelerate your website performance.

You can disable caching from here. In that case, Cloudflare will continue proxying traffic to your server, but all the content requests will be served by your server, which can produce a significant load on your webserver and negatively impact your application's performance.

Purge Cache

Instead of waiting for CDN's predetermined cache expiry time, you can purge cache on-demand. Purging cache helps remove existing cached content of your website from Cloudflare CDN and cache the latest version of your website so that updated content can be served to the visitors. Please note that purging the cache slows down your website temporarily until the cache is recreated.

If you have recently updated your website, purging cache would be helpful as it prevents the older version of your website assets from being delivered to the visitors.

Full Page Cache (Coming Soon)

Cloudflare Enterprise add-on currently offers static content caching (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images files). However, we are working on dynamic page caching by leveraging Cloudflare Edge Computing technology to cache WordPress and WooCommerce dynamic pages (e.g., checkout and cart) in multiple locations worldwide. With dynamic page caching, the dynamic content of your website will be served quicker to boost website performance.

Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on Pricing

The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on pricing structure is straightforward and offers volume discounts for professionals and agencies. Visit the pricing page to get more information.

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.

FAQs

General

What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a popular cloud-based service that delivers services like Content Delivery Network (CDN), DNS, SSL, website protection, page caching, and acceleration. Learn more about Cloudflare.

How does Cloudflare work?

Cloudflare sits between your website visitors and the server, acting as a proxy. As a result, your website visitors don't communicate with the server anymore; instead, it communicates with the Cloudflare network.

As a result, Cloudflare reduces the number of requests to your server while allowing many visitors to access your website. At the same time, all the data passing through the Cloudflare servers is monitored to proactively block malicious traffic, filter out bad actors (like bots), and keep your website safe from any potential attacks. Learn more about how Cloudflare works.

What does Cloudflare Enterprise add-on offer?

By integrating the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on with your application, you access 200+ unique locations for the Global Content Delivery Network (CDN), an intelligent website firewall, and many performances and security features. Whether you are a small, medium, or large-sized business, the Enterprise plan is the right choice. Learn more about all the features of the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

I already have the free Cloudflare CDN. So why should I opt for Cloudflare Enterprise?

The free version of Cloudflare CDN is also good but offers limited features; therefore, if you have a mission-critical website where website performance, security, and availability are top priorities, the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on is the right choice.

Enterprise CDN caches your content as close as possible to your visitors, optimizes it on the fly, and serves it on a priority basis over all other Cloudflare traffic. The Enterprise plan also offers security features that the free version does not, such as Web Application Firewall (WAF) advanced rules that block hackers and mitigate attacks before you even notice. Additionally, it offers priority DDoS protection, PCI DSS compliance, Wildcard SSL, and much more. Learn more about all the features of the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

I have a small website, so should I use the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on?

The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on is for websites of all sizes. Cloudflare Enterprise caches your website content to accelerate your website performance, positively impacting your website's SEO. It also optimizes images, compresses files, and improves image performance for users on a mobile connection.

Cloudflare also offers excellent security with an intelligent firewall that updates itself to deal with the latest threats and includes rulesets specifically for WordPress and Magento. DDoS attacks are mitigated within 3 seconds, so your website will always be available. Learn more about how Cloudflare works and the features of the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

Will Cloudways have access to my personal Cloudflare account?

No, Cloudways will not have access to your personal Cloudflare account.

I don't see the Cloudflare Enterprise option for my application?

If the Cloudflare section is not available for applications, it could be because:

Will Cloudflare Affect My Site's SEO?

Cloudflare will positively impact your website's SEO as Cloudflare's firewall and DDoS protection will secure it. Without firewall and DDoS protection in place, an attack on your site can lead to your server being inaccessible to search engine crawlers. With Cloudflare's DDoS protection, attacks on your site will be stopped before they cause any issues for search engine crawlers.

What is Full Page Cache (coming soon)?

Cloudflare Enterprise add-on currently offers static content caching (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images files). However, we are working on dynamic page caching by leveraging Cloudflare Edge Computing technology to cache WordPress and WooCommerce dynamic pages (e.g., checkout and cart) in multiple locations worldwide. With dynamic page caching, the dynamic content of your website will be served quicker to boost website performance.

Does the add-on support Automatic Platform Optimization (APO)?

APO is a Cloudflare product for WordPress websites to achieve Full Page Caching over Cloudflare's Global Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve static HTML pages to users. We are not currently offering Full Page Caching with our integration, but it will be launched in the future.

Which static files are cached by Cloudflare?

Cloudflare only caches based on the file extension and not by MIME type. The Cloudflare CDN does not cache HTML by default. The following content is cached by default. Additionally, Cloudflare caches a website's robots.txt.

7z

dmg

jpeg

png

webm

avi

ejs

js

ppt

webp

avif

eot

mid

pptx

woff

apk

eps

midi

ps

woff2

bin

exe

mkv

rar

xls

bmp

flac

mp3

svg

xlsx

bz2

gif

mp4

svgz

zip

class

gz

ogg

swf

zst

css

ico

otf

tar

csv

iso

pdf

tif

doc

jar

pict

tiff

docx

jpg

pls

ttf

Can I change firewall/Page rules settings?

Since it's a fully managed firewall, you will not be able to see or customize any firewall setting or page rules. Instead, the Cloudflare Enterprise will automatically take care of the security and speed of your site.

Is Cloudflare Enterprise Integration Using Cloudflare's WAF?

Yes, it does. The Cloudflare Enterprise is powered by three WAF Managed Rulesets that are pre-configured to provide immediate protection against:

  • Zero-day vulnerabilities

  • Top-10 attack techniques

  • Use of stolen/exposed credentials

  • Extraction of sensitive data

Reference: https://developers.cloudflare.com/waf/managed-rulesets/

Compatability-related

Can I integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on if I don't have a Cloudflare account?

Cloudflare Enterprise add-on does not require you to create a Cloudflare account. Instead, you can start today by integrating Cloudflare Enterprise with your application.

I already have a Cloudflare plan (free or paid); how can I integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on?

The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on is separate from your personal Cloudflare account; you can continue using your personal Cloudflare plan or integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on by Cloudways.

I am already using CloudwaysCDN (Stackpath). What should I do?

CloudwaysCDN is deprecated as of March 22nd, 2022, because a new and better-performing alternate is available called Cloudflare Enterprise. As a result, new CloudwaysCDN subscriptions will no longer be available and supported. However, existing subscriptions will continue to work for the time being. The end-of-life for CloudwaysCDN is expected to fall towards the end of Q2, 2022.

You can switch to the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on today to avoid any disruption. First of all, remove the CloudwaysCDN subscription and integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

Can I use a different CDN other than Cloudflare Enterprise?

Cloudways gives you complete freedom to choose your CDN provider, requiring manual work. Cloudflare Enterprise is an optional add-on that you can activate from the Cloudways Platform whenever you are ready with a few clicks.

Can I use my custom SSL Certificate with Cloudflare?

Unfortunately, we don't support custom SSL certificates currently with Cloudflare.

Are my plugins compatible with Cloudflare?

WordPress plugins compatible with Cloudways' existing cache configuration will remain compatible with the Cloudflare Enterprise.

Once Cloudflare is activated, do you need to disable Bot Protection by Cloudways (MalCare Security) plugin?

There is no need to disable Bot Protection or any other security plugins on your site. There should be no issues with those plugins after integrating Cloudflare.

Can I still manage my DNS records with my current DNS provider?

Yes, you can. Enabling Cloudflare doesn't require any change to your nameservers; therefore, you can still manage your DNS records at your current DNS provider.

Once Cloudflare is activated, do I need to disable the cache plugin like Breeze/WP-Rocket?

No, you don't need to disable any cache plugins. However, please note that the Content Delivery Network (CDN) cache functionality is limited to static content. In contrast, Breeze is a page cache plugin that helps with the dynamic page caching.

Integration-related

Do I need to remove the existing A Records pointed to my Cloudways server while pointing domain using new A records?

To avoid conflicts, you need to remove any existing A and CNAME records for your domain pointing to your Cloudways server IP address.

Should I add both A records or one while pointing the domain to Cloudflare Enterprise Network?

You can use any one A record while integrating it. However, we highly recommend adding both A records to ensure you can take full advantage of the Cloudflare load network balancing setup.

Do I need to do anything extra if I use WordPress multisite application?

If you use WordPress Multisite application, you don't require any additional steps to integrate the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

Did this answer your question?