Completrely new to Cloudflare, problems understanding process


#1

Hi guys, new here so please be gentle!
OK my problem, I am moving website from current host to a new one. The current site has SSL and search engines have indexed several pages as https://
My new host does not have SSL set up and getting the information from previous IT manager is impossible but I am able to re-point DNS servers.
My goal is to use Cloudfare as a CDN and want to use Cloudflare to redirect the SEO indexed https:// pages to http:// on my new host. Does this sound feasible and what are the steps ?
I don’t want to do anything to interrupt service!
Thanks in advance
Kerry


#2

You shouldn’t need to do that. You can use flexible SSL with cloudflare and keep SSL - the connection between your users and cloudflare is SSL and then cloudflare to your host isn’t.
Just setup cloudflare and then give me a shout if you get stuck.


#3

I get confused when you say host and redirect.
I’m assuming by “host” you mean a server hosting the website and not a hostname.
And by redirect I assume you mean “reverse proxy the traffic to” and not to “issue are 301 redirect to a new hostname”.


Cloudflare’s flexible ssl mode is what you want. Cloudflare accepts requests over https then forwards the requests to your server over http.


#4

My apologies for confusing you, by host I mean hosting company and their DNS servers. BY redirect I mean if somebody clicks on a https link in Google instead of getting an error they get served an http page form the new server that does not have an SSL certificate. So clicking on https://domain.com/index.html would serve up http://domain.com/index.html with no error from my new hosting company without SSL - I hope I have explained better.

Your comment ‘Cloudflare’s flexible ssl mode is what you want. Cloudflare accepts requests over https then forwards the requests to your server over http.’ sounds EXACTLY what I need!~


#5

This sounds perfect

‘Just setup cloudflare and then give me a shout if you get stuck.’

Exactly how far can I go in setup without affecting the current server. I dont want to change any DNS pointers or anything yet that will disable the exiting site until I have the new server / hosting ready

Thanks so much


#6

You can setup everything to the point where you redirect the name servers on your domain.
Cloudflare will scan your existing DNS settings and add them automatically - typically when I’m adding cloudflare to an existing site there’s zero downtime.

Just play with it until you get to the point where you change name servers and it’ll be fine :slight_smile: At that point just recheck everything!


#7

You can create an account and configure it how you want. It will try to automatically import records from your current DNS zone by scanning some common names.
You don’t actually have to change your nameservers yet though. To test it out first you can query the cloudflare name servers for an IP for your domain then put that IP into your computer’s hosts file.

nslookup example.com matt.ns.cloudflare.com

(or whatever your domain and cloudflare nameserver are)
Then paste that into /etc/hosts (or where ever it is on windows) along with your domain name.
Then when your computer makes requests to your website it will go through cloudflare’s proxy. You would have to set up each subdomain separately in your hosts file and you couldn’t rely on this working for any amount of time because the IP you should be connecting to might change. You can verify that it is going through cloudflare by checking the Server header on the http responses.


#8

OK so next question when I set up my account I was unsure how it worked but I had to set up an account before I could get support. So I entered the domain name thisisatest.com. How can I reset this so my one free domain is the real one.

‘It will try to automatically import records from your current DNS zone by scanning some common names.’ so at this point no DNS pointers are changed - yes?

The other problem I see is when it scans it will be scanning the old hosting company records I will be changing to the new hosting company once I understand exactly how it works

So how can I change the domain name i will be using

Thanks


#9

You can have as many free domains as you want. To remove the domain from your cloudflare account click advanced under the overview tab in the dashboard.

The only pointers that are changing are the ones in cloudflare’s dns servers which don’t go live until you point your NS records to cloudflare.

Whatever it scans doesn’t have to be kept.


#10

OK ill start playing - thanks guys


#11

OK - I think I am getting the hang of it thanks to the help from you guys. So this is my plan, does it seem ok or am I doing it wrong - is there a better or safer way?

1 - I have entered the name of my current (old) website into Cloudflare and it has scanned and imported records from my current DNS zone
2 - Next I will change name to servers to cloudfare so my current site will now run on my current server via Cloudfare ?
3- I have already uploaded my new site to my new hosting company but it is not live yet because I have not set the new name server pointers.
4 - This is where I am unsure what to do next so Clouflare will start to use the new site on the new server. What do I do next or am I doing it all wrong?


#12

Kerry, other than tweeking some setting for preference i think you should be good to go. As long as you have changed the nameservers to cloudflare at your registrar and the cloudflare dns is pointing to your new server shared ip or domain (depending on type of dns record) then you should be ok.


#13

Thanks csdurangodaves - sorry but when you say ‘depending on type of dns record’ what am I looking for - I dont want to get it wrong - I cant afford downtime - can you explain a little more please?


#14

Sorry i had to change my name i didnt like that one.

Anyway so you need to go into the CF dns section and you need to make sure you have the right records pointing correctly.

sorry took me a sec, i had to make you a sample from mine using paint.
see how everything points to either the shared ip or the domain name

Its here and its very basic.


#15

If you want you can actually test it before changing your NS records.
If I were moving my production website over to cloudflare I would query the nameservers cloudflare wants me to use for the IP address it will give my website.

$ dig @matt.ns.cloudflare.com. sixcorners.app +short
104.18.38.208
104.18.39.208

Then I would put one of the IPs in my /etc/hosts file:

$ cat /etc/hosts
127.0.0.1	localhost
104.18.38.208	sixcorners.app

Then I would see if it works locally.

You could do the same kind of thing with the IP for the server at your new hosting company.

Edit: on windows I guess those boxes would look like

> nslookup sixcorners.app matt.ns.cloudflare.com.
Server:		matt.ns.cloudflare.com.
Address:	173.245.59.131#53

Name:	sixcorners.app
Address: 104.18.39.208
Name:	sixcorners.app
Address: 104.18.38.208
Name:	sixcorners.app
Address: 2400:cb00:2048:1::6812:26d0
Name:	sixcorners.app
Address: 2400:cb00:2048:1::6812:27d0

and

> type c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts
104.18.38.208	sixcorners.app

#16

Sorry sixcorners - completely lost me there :slight_smile: above my experience level :slight_smile:


#17

Hi all, considering how new I am to CloudFlare and that at the moment you are all strangers, based on the excellent and helpful responses - I have decided to trust you :slight_smile: I have registered my first site with Cloudflare and changed my NS to Cloudflares. Site is still live as promised, just waiting to see how it propogates.

What is the simplest most reliable way to check when propagation is complete - whois ?

Cheers all
Kerry


#18

Did it work?
I’m not really sure how long DNS propagation takes… I think it depends on what the Time To Live (TTL) of the records you change are… The best way to make these kinds of changes is to make sure that the setting before the change and the setting after the change both work so things can gradually move over on their own time (until you think the TTL has elapsed).


#19

Hi - yes this first stage worked fine. I now have Cloudflare pointing at my test website. The actual DNS propogation was really fast - a few minutes! But https was not working even though it showed certificate as active. I tried some suggestions I found in Cloudflare community and messed around with some settings but it seems all I had to do was wait. Https not working when I went home but working next day - I just needed to be patient! Thanks for all your help - very impressed so far. Getting ready for stage 2 which is upload new site to new server and repeat the process :slight_smile:


#20

Cool, that’s good. Glad it’s working.