How to transfer domain to Cloudflare but keep existing web host

I would like to transfer my domain - let’s just call it…x dot com, to Cloudflare but keep my current webhost.
This domain hosts a couple of key subdomains, say…x dot com, holes dot x dot com, cars dot x dot com, and space dot x dot com.
I would like to understand the migration process fully before I commit to migrating to Cloudflare and potentially breaking something.

  • My understanding is that to initiate the process I add a zone for the root domain (x dot com), which I have already done with my account. This appears to get the data for the root site only.
  • With the information that has been gathered, would my web sites hosted by my current host/registrar work automatically upon the nameserver update to Cloudflare’s ns1 site or would additional work be necessary? If the latter, what do I need to do?
  • Same question but for e-mail.
  • Is there a way to gather the same information for subdomains or is that all a manual process?
  • space dot x dot com and x dot com point to different directories on my webhost. Do I need to do any reconfiguration on the webhost side to keep this working?
  • If I wanted a subdomain to point to a dynamic IP address (e.g. one that is connected to an ISP IP address that doesn’t always stay the same) is that possible?
  • My current registration is up soon (<15 days, hence this discussion). Do I need to renew my domain via the current registrar? The documentation seems to imply this.

After adding your zone to Cloudflare, you should make sure that all the DNS entries that exist on your current nameserver are copied to Cloudflare.
You should not trust the automatic import to find all entries, be it for a subdomain or the apex.

Whether this is a manual process or can be done automatically depends on your current host. If the host gives you the option to export your DNS entries as a zone file, you can just import that file into Cloudflare. Otherwise, copy all entries manually.

Probably not, but maybe. Your server needs to be configured for your domain, and who knows if the host deletes the current configuration when you transfer the domain. That’s something you’d have to ask your host.
But I wouldn’t except any problems with this usually.

You’ll have to update that IP whenever it changes. Have a look here for an overview of some options. Make sure to keep the TTL for that entry very low if you want to avoid downtime after the changes.

The documentation doesn’t only imply this, it is actually very explicit:


What do I need to do to reconfigure mail on the domains? Just add the MX records? Do I need to update anything on my mail host end?

Some of the subdomains have mail hosts as well, are those configured differently?

I’d give the Tutorial link above a click and look for this email tutorial,

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