The site was hosted with GoDaddy but we’ve had a few interruptions during the summer with their upgrades, and the fees have gone up as well, so we wanted to move to a different service. So we moved the hosting to Dreamhost, where I could’ve gotten the domain registered just as easily, but I found with GoDaddy that having the host & domain registration held by the same place had no advantage. I was very happy with how Cloudflare worked and thought that if they held the domain registration here, that would be better than having Dreamhost handle it.
So I did that and pointed Cloudflare to the new Dreamhost-hosted site by updating the A record to the new IP (that should be all I need to do, right?). But it wasn’t working, after 4+ hours the site would not load and gave me Cloudflare 1016 errors. Put the old (GoDaddy) IP back in, boom it loaded.
I then temporarily disabled Cloudflare to make sure the site loaded on Dreamhost without Cloudflare in the mix – but it turns out you really can’t, because Cloudlfare has set the nameservers to their own, and Dreamhost gave me error messages to that effect.
So I figured I would start over with a new Cloudflare profile. Nowhere did I see any warnings or any indication that the domain registered nameservers were forever and always tied to the original account. It’s counterintuitive to how the rest of the internet operates, and does not make any sense. Needless to say, the new Cloudflare config did not work. So I deleted that and tried going with the Dreamhost / Cloudflare integration, figuring maybe that would work out better. But, no, Cloudlfare’s policy that the nameservers MUST NEVER CHANGE is still full in effect, so no advantage there either. So I figured I missed something, and disabled the integration and started over (now the 4th time in 3 days) with Cloudflare. Again, I get error 1016 that my nameservers are deb and tate, but Cloudflare needs them set to something new, and gives me directions to go change them with my domain registrar…which they don’t realize, is them.
I think Cloudflare’s approach and how they are handling nameservers is not very well thought out. Half-baked you might say. I can understand not allowing people to change the nameserver on their own by direct edit, but if I want to move my site to another provider, what is that to Cloudlfare? If their policy is to automatically change the nameservers, but nameservers cannot be changed, them I’m stuck forever with the same host – unless I transfer the domain away and back again (and who in his right mind would transfer it back again?).
This restriction is effectively preventing people from moving from one host to another. I’m an IT guy and I’m used to seeing stupid restrictions that “encourage” users to lock in or prevent them from moving on, but this arrangement has pushed me away from using Cloudflare and I would move the domain registration away today if I could, and never look back.
I will now probably have to create a new domain with Dreamhost and temporarily host the site with that domain until I can move this one out. All because Cloudflare can’t process a change that it (and only it) has required, for reasons only Cloudflare knows. The process probably works great if you don’t change hosting services, but that’s kind of pointless…I would never have moved the domain registration to Cloudflare if I knew it would limit those kind of options. They either need to fix this scenario or make it clear to people when they sign up that they have now married their current host for life.
Also, you get no support from Cloudflare using the free account, even if you purchase the domain registration through them. That makes no sense either. Half-baked. Again. I would rather have them charge a little extra and include some technical support with it. After all…what’s the purpose of a domain that doesn’t work right? And if you’re blocking people from making changes, there’s a big potential for misconfiguration that someone cannot possibly fix on their own. That necessitates the need for Support.