How to Activate Cloudflare on a Hosted Domain

Cloudflare can be activated on any of the domains hosted on your hosting account.

Activating Cloudflare on a domain is free and offers the following benefits:

  • Increased speeds due to the website’s assets such as images being automatically populated onto multiple servers worldwide.

  • Enhanced security due to the inclusion of an additional layer of web application firewall provided by Cloudflare.

Use the following step-by-step guide to activate Cloudflare on a hosted domain in your HostM hosting account.

  1. When you first added your domain name to your HostM hosting account, you were asked to ensure that the correct nameservers were assigned to your domain:

    • ns1.hostm.net
    • ns2.hostm.net
    • ns3.hostm.net

    Ensure that your domain is still using the above correct nameservers, since activating Cloudflare will involve some updates to your domain’s DNS records on the above nameservers.

    Please do not use any other nameservers (such as your domain registration provider’s nameservers, or even Cloudflare’s nameservers if you’re requested to do so), because doing so would:

    • cause possible complications and completely unnecessary downtime when some types of system and security updates occur on our end; and

    • prevent SSL from being installed and renewed for that domain on your HostM hosting account.

  2. If you’ve had to correct your domain’s nameservers per the above step, and that domain is already hosted on your HostM hosting account:

    • Make a note of any Email Forwarders that you may have set up for this domain, then remove the domain from the Addon Domains page in cPanel, then re-add the domain, and also recreate the Email Forwarders (if any). This should cause SSL to be automatically installed for that domain within 2-3 minutes.

      Note: Removing and re-adding the domain in the above manner does not cause your Email Accounts and hosted website for that domain to be reset, but it does cause Email Forwarders to be reset, hence the need to recreate them.

    • If you had previously set up any custom DNS records (such as CNAME, A, and other records) via the third-party nameservers, visit the Zone Editor section in your hosting account’s cPanel to set them up. Otherwise, please do not make any changes via the Zone Editor.

    • Before proceeding any further with this guide, wait 24 hours for ISPs worldwide to recognize the nameserver change.

  3. If your domain had previously been using Cloudflare’s nameservers, sign in to your account on Cloudflare’s website and remove your domain from the list.

  4. If you have not already done so, ensure that your website is set up to be accessible via HTTPS. This allows for full end-to-end SSL when Cloudflare is activated.

  5. For the root domain (e.g. example.com), Cloudflare works on the www. version of the web address (www.example.com), so be sure to set up a redirection from the non-www. to the www. version of the web address. You will have already done this whilst performing the previous step, but if not, please be sure to do so.

    Subdomains (e.g. sub.example.com) work on Cloudflare both with or without the www., but you would normally redirect from www. to non-www. instead (the opposite of what you do with the root domain). This, too, will have been addressed in the previous step.

  6. Sign in to your hosting account’s cPanel.

    To do so, sign in to the Client Lounge and click Login next to the hosting account in the list.

  7. Under the Software heading, click the Cloudflare icon.

  8. If you see a Create Your Free Account button in the middle of the page:

    • If you already have a Cloudflare account, click the sign in link below the Create Your Free Account button to sign in.

    • If you don’t yet have a Cloudflare account, click Create Your Free Account and follow the on-screen instructions, but please do not add a site while on Cloudflare’s website if requested to do so. Instead, return to the Cloudflare section in cPanel and sign in to your newly created account, then proceed with the remaining steps in this article.

  9. Select the domain for which you’d like Cloudflare to be activated from the drop-down menu in the top left (next to the Cloudflare logo).

  10. Click the Domains icon at the top of the page.

  11. The domain should now be listed in the table in the middle of the page.

  12. If it says ‘inactive’ in the ‘Use Cloudflare’ column, click the Provision Domain with CNAME Setup button below the table. Otherwise, skip to the next step.

  13. You should see a table full of entries with On/Off switches to the right.

    Ensure that the both the example.com and www.example.com entries (replace example.com with your actual domain) have their switches set to On.

    All other entries (including those set up by the system itself) should be left untouched, with their switches set to Off.

    If you wish to also activate Cloudflare on one or more subdomains, please do not activate them using that page at this time. Instead, please open a Client Care ticket via the Client Lounge to let us know which subdomains you’d like to activate Cloudflare on.

  14. Click the Settings icon at the top of the page.

  15. Under SSL, select Full Strict if it is not already selected.

  16. Visit Cloudflare’s website at cloudflare.com and sign in to your account there.

  17. At the Cloudflare dashboard, click your newly-added domain.

  18. At the top of the page, click the Caching icon.

  19. At the top of the page, below the row of icons, click the Configuration tab.

  20. Ensure that the Browser Cache TTL setting is set to ‘Respect Existing Headers’ if it isn’t already.

  21. Congratulations, Cloudflare is now activated on your hosted domain! Please note that it typically takes about 5 minutes (in rare cases it could be several hours depending on the ISP) for your internet connection provider to recognize the update.


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