Missing options?


#1

The most important options seem to be missing. Like

  • Renew or add years to domain names manually
  • Switching name servers
  • Registering your own name server
  • Transferring domain out from Cloudflare
  • Locking or unlocking domains for transfer

and many more. Are there any plans to add these features?


#2

So, let me go in order.

  1. Will be added, it’s currently set to auto renew (and can be disabled in the zone overview page) each year automatically.
  2. It’s not supported at the moment, you can use only Cloudflare’s NS, they specifically state so at registration as well. It won’t even work if those NS aren’t set properly and the zone is not active.
  3. This follows CF’s plan levels, so Business and up can use custom NS, Free and Pro can’t and will automatically use CF’s assigned NS.
  4. It is hidden (can see a reason to show it nonetheless and then grey it out) because for the first 60 days of transfer you can’t do it due to ICANN regulations.
  5. Same thing as 4 I presume, why unlock it if it can be transferred?

As the many you write I suppose they are on the list (like editing the contact details), but they are first solving the transfer errors they are seeing.


#3

I predict this is where Cloudflare will run up against the brick wall of reality, in the same way that Uber or Airbnb can only bend the rules so far in certain cities.

While, personally, I understand what I am getting into and am happy to use Cloudflare for everything, all it takes is one customer not understanding or suddenly needing to point to other name servers for a specific service or whatever.

Especially if that domain cannot be transferred elsewhere for 60 days, it is quite likely that such a customer will lodge a complaint with the regulator. As corrupt and inefficient as ICANN may be, they are surprisingly responsive to consumer complaints. For instance, they come down like a ton of bricks on shady registrars who place artificial barriers to discourage customers from transferring out.

There is no provision in the ICANN definition of a registrar that allows them to NOT enable domain owners to specify whatever name servers they want, and ICANN will not care that the Cloudflare registrar’s business model depends on not allowing that.

Again, this is precisely the same as Uber and Airbnb skirting the existing regulations, except that most cities are not as tough as ICANN. Cloudflare will be fined and forced to either allow it or lose their permission to be a registrar.

It would be wise for Cloudflare to reduce the chances of that happening by working out the technical details now to allow them to specify different name servers when, inevitably, someone asks for that. Keep it as a hidden, upon-request option to head off potential ICANN complaints.


#4

I believe they have stated multiple times that it will come as a feature later down the road (in particular I presume when they enable direct purchase instead of transfer), but at the moment it’s as it is. They don’t allow you to transfer over if the NS aren’t already Cloudflare’s and the zone is not active, so I doubt people will transfer and then discover that their NS don’t work,


#5

Really? I am surprised because there are obviously making a slight loss on each domain, I presumed the business justification for that was that it would increase the number of sites using Cloudflare and potentially later buying paid services.

Sure. The danger is not that someone will discover it doesn’t work but, rather, that after transferring a user will decide, at some point in their first 60 days, that they want to use a service that works best if you use their name servers (such as Netlify or hundreds of other popular services). This will certainly happen at some point, users change their minds all the time, and how that initial incident is handled will be consequential.


#6

As far as I understand they are not losing not earning anything. They pass all costs to users without markup. They don’t do it to increase the users using all other services, but do it to help their users save money.

Oh yeah yeah, but most services work without changing NS, they can still use CF only as DNS for 60 days or less I presume which is still the fastest available and then transfer out. Note also that the Registrar is in somewhat of a beta now.


#7

No, they are definitely losing money on each domain, each year.

What they charge covers only the base price of the domain and the additional ICANN fee. Don’t forget that they also have to cover the cost of the card transaction which, no matter how good a deal they get from their payment processor, has to include some sort of % and interchange fee. On $8.03, a normal business using Stripe would pay around 54 cents (2.9% + 30c), my guess is that Cloudflare is losing around 40 cents (1.9% + 25c) per domain per year.

Charging only for the “cost” of the domain, but not the transaction fee, is sheer marketing genius because it creates a powerful marketing message and, by building in a small loss, it makes it pretty much impossible for any of the existing registrars to compete on price.

It only makes sense for Cloudflare to eat that loss because they do actually have a range of useful paid services that a relatively high percentage of users are likely to buy at some point. The existing registrars simply do not have services to upsell that are attractive enough, exclusive enough or profitable enough to justify the same per-domain loss.

Yes, most of the hundreds of thousands of services out there do not require users to change their NS. I am talking about the mere hundreds that DO require that, usually because, like Cloudflare, they are doing some fancy network stuff. An example I gave was Netlify.

Sure, but I am talking about the behavior of users, not rational human beings. I am saying that it only takes ONE user to become upset and spend 3 minutes submitting an online complaint to ICANN to throw the entire model into jeopardy.


#8

That is not the case.


#9

All of those are on the roadmap. Registrar is still in Early Access and the feature set is pretty limited as you’ve discovered. As we continue to add new waves and address issues encountered with the current transfer pipeline we are also working to negotiate agreements to support more TLDs and building in support for additional features and functionality.


#10

Good to hear official confirmation that Cloudflare Registrar will be allowing other name servers. There had been a general presumption in the main domaining forums that this would not happen.

A feature I would love to see would be the option to initiate the transfer of a valid domain with a valid AUTH code, and somehow bypassing all the API stuff that has caused hundreds of my transfer attempts to fail, with only 11 successful transfers.

A really ideal implementation would be a simple bulk transfer form that allows you to enter multiple domains and their AUTH codes at once, without having to select them from a list limited to no more than 250 domains. This would be more useful and encouraging than any number of new TLDs.


#11

Wondering what options there are for changing the WHOIS contact information or unhiding it? Currently it shows WHOIS contact info and the contact name in the dashboard, however there is no options to update it.


#12

As I said above it was confirmed to me multiple times by the PM that it’s one of the most important things they are going to do. Since it’s early access and they are having some issues with domain transfers they will solve those and then fix the UI issues. U hiding them I don’t know though.