Hard time with Cloudflare - www vs naked domain issues

Hello guys,

I’m not able to find any option for support here, so hope you guys can help me to understand some things with Cloudflare.

So, I have Cloudflare enabled from my hosting side which is Siteground.
Actually enabled this just two days ago and since then the problems are endless.
I have noticed that the caching is so aggressive that it works even if switched off.

The way I have this configured is Cloudflare is enabled at hosting and in WP Rocket plugin on my website. Last night I was trying to turn off every caching possible and Cloudflare seams to be impossible to just switch off like that. So, I have totally deactivated it from Siteground then log in to Cloudflare directly to see if the domain is gone (success no domain hooked up to my account) then deactivated WP Rocket at WordPress backend and guess what. Caching was still working! I purged every cache possible (on WP Rocket, at Siteground, at Cloudflare) and the website was still not updating any changes I made at the backend so Cloudflare was still enabled somehow.
I can’t figure it out, how to properly use it without all this mess.

But this is not the main problem.
The problem I also have is that Cloudflare forced my domain to be ‘www’ now.
So, when you enter the domain without www it should redirect users to www.domain.com URL and this is not happening. User is still browsing the web on the naked domain.
At WordPress backend www is added to the settings, database in _options table also have it correctly but redirect are not happening.

Also I have noticed that the layout is affected. Some pages are not displaying with images and settings they should. Just plain text and default buttons which is so annoying.
My website have many buttons where links are added manually as a naked domain, do they need to be updated to www as well? If yes then another problem will occur, which is, what if I will switch the Cloudflare off completely? WP Rocket will automatically change all the links in WodrPress to non www again, and those changed by hands would need to be updated again.

And finally what when comes to bigger changes when you will need to put the web in the maintenance mode and make some major changes. How to proceed with Cloudflare to stop caching my web and showing it to the users.
At Cloudflare there are some settings in “Caching/Configuration/Always online (beta)” this option was ON by default so, I guess this might be the case I have turned this off, as I don’t want my website to be displayed even if I have some server issues. Why? Because when I’m changing something on the website adding some additional code I need to see the changed immediately and also I’m checking all the changes in Incognito mode, so this way Cloudflare still showing me the website from cache which is super annoying and this might be the case of the first mentioned problem.

I was hesitating from using the Cloudflare for a long time as I was aware that this won’t be so easy and painless process, and maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m doing everything wrong, so I want you guys to explain all those things to me if possible accordingly to your experience.
Maybe someone from Cloudflare will help to understand this too?

Thanks so much and sorry for super long post…
Best Regards

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Cloudflare does not force any domain to be ‘www’. That is a restriction because you’re using Siteground’s CNAME integration. It’s almost always better to configure a site directly at Cloudflare.

As for caching, Cloudflare does not cache pages by default. Siteground may do things differently.

As you’re using a Siteground configuration of Cloudflare, they’re the best source of information on how their setup works.

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Hi, thanks for a speedy replay!

Ok so Cloudflare can work with naked domains too?

Also because I’m not a fan of Siteground anymore and their new fancy “Site Tools” which they are forcing us to use instead Cpanel, then I will prefer to set the Cloudflare manually.
So, do I need any plugin for Wordpress for cloudflare? To be also exclude WP rocket from handling this?

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Oh, definitely. I don’t use ‘www’ for my sites (personal preference).

It helps. The plugin will purge the Cloudflare Cache of css, js, etc. if you’re customizing your site from wp-admin. I don’t know if WP-Rocket does the same.

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Yes I don’t love www URL’s either but felt forced by Cloudflare and turns out actually by Siteground.
Do you know why I might have layout issues? I noticed that I have hamburger menu button hand coded which works perfectly when user is on non www URL and totally wired way when through www.
This must be Cloudflare as this never happened before.
Thanks for your time…

Are you still using the Siteground setup?

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Haha, no. I have changed everything all goes directly through Cloudflare now.
non www URL’s is finally back!
Thanks to you!

I was on the chat with siteground over an hour today investigating what is going on and I found that everyone outside of my local network see the website actually correctly.
Only I see some wired stuff.
I have all cache purged at browsers level at the website level at cloudflare, even dns flushed on windows and still see wired things.
Siteground suggested that my ISP must have some sort of caching.

When Cloudflare was configured through the Siteground I was seeing correctly working website on non www URL, and bad design changes when browsing on www URL which guy from Siteground was not able to see. For him the website was all fine.
Ehh… I felt like an idiot and I still feel this way:(
Never seen something like this before.
I will call my ISP tomorrow to see if this is possible.

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Now I’ve totally removed my domain from Cloudflare, before I did this I flushed my cache at:

  • Cloudflare
  • Siteground
  • Browsers
  • at Windows by cmd → ipconfig/flushdns

And I still see that Cloudflare is working!
This is so frustrating.
How I know? Because my LightHouse Page Speed for this website was always below 40, and when Cloudflare was enabled the core was 70. The score is still 70 so the Cloudflare still have the copy of my website on their servers.

Also I see totally different website when checking in normal browser mode and totally different layout (with issues - some code is not loading properly) when browsing in incognito mode.
The one in incognito mode comes from Cloudflare for sure or like siteground guys said from my ISP cache (I will check this later on)

Recently I have also changed PHP version to 8.1.0 for the test purposes and when this version is enabled my site is blank. Yoast plugin causing some sitemap issues and webpage is not displaying, just the blank screen and guess what :slight_smile: The site is still working in incognito mode hahha.
But only the home page. All other pages are blank. Same on mobile phones.

Same thing when comes to maintenance mode. When enabled home page is still working. Maintenance is on all other pages but homepage is live as a ghost! So so wired!

There is no support for the free users so no one really to ask to delete the data for me.
I was planning to get the subscription, but I’m not sure if I like the way it works.

I want Cloudflare to stop working immediately after I pause the site on my account which is not possible because the site is still visible to the users. I tried everything already. So removed the site to see if this will help but NO.

Pausing your site on Cloudflare essentially stops propagating Cloudflare’s IP addresses to the DNS servers and instead propagate your real origin IP address. Due to the nature of DNS, DNS change usually does not immediately take effect because some DNS servers are very slow in getting the latest DNS record update.

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Alright so before any major works on site we should always pause Cloudflare 24-48h before? :smiley:
If this is works by DNS changes this would be the case.

Pausing Cloudflare should take effect in 5 minutes.

If you need any specific suggestions, please post your actual domain name.

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Pausing Cloudflare should take effect in 5 minutes.

The sad true is, that this is all theory only.
The fact is that:

  • Cloudflare DEVELOPMENT MODE doesn’t work at all
  • Pausing the site? After 6h of waiting finally working!
  • Even removing my site from Cloudflare has done literally nothing!

But after 6h of waiting my site is loading correctly now on every device, everywhere!

So, as @erictung said this needs some time to stop propagate their DNS’s.
So, why in the world is the development mode for, if it only last for 3h and there is actually over 6h of waiting to stop Cloudflare from displaying my website to the users.
It wouldn’t be a problem if Cloudflare was displaying my page correctly but is not!
And for dev’s who maintain many websites? The Cloudflare must be a nightmare unless they are know how to configure it correctly. Maybe we need to pay for it in order to get their support and secret settings.

And she was facing similar problems, even worst I guess.
So, I guess this must be something with Elementor because when the page was displayed by Cloudflare there was a missing code in certain areas. Code was there of course (on the server), but Cloudflare decided not to load it.
So, in this article she is advising to exclude Divi or Elementor page builders from caching because those builders need to load in every single page and this must be the case I think.
But how to exclude it? Let’s get the pro plan and as the specialists!

Real proven rock solid fact is that there was noting wrong from my side.
All I was experiencing was Cloudflare hallucinations and I will buy the pro plan and I will squeeze their support to maximum to solve this terrible behaviour which should not to happen if they really taking care about any new customers.
I’m discouraged already, but wasted two days to get here already so…

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