What features apply to subdomains on a free account?

When adding an A record in order to create a subdomain under the free plan, what settings from other areas of Cloudflare will be applied to that subdomain?

As far as I can tell from plenty of usage and searching, subdomains are proxied but wouldn’t have the other features applied (e.g. caching).

I understand that subdomain support comes with an Enterprise plan.

My use case here is that I have a staging site which I’ve deployed to a subdomain named ‘staging’ and I’m wondering what are the explicit differences (when the website is freshly cloned) are between production and staging.

I’m not necessarily looking to apply any specific features to my subdomains, as I’m happy with the free plan.

I have removed the risk of my staging site being crawled or viewed by using the Access (Zero Trust) based on email using the OTP feature, which works for me. If I grey cloud the subdomain in order to test my design changes in realtime without any of Cloudflare’s settings being applied, I would still be exposing my origin server IP (based on using WhatsMyDNS to check the A record when grey/orange clouded). For that reason I’m cautiously keeping the subdomain orange clouded (running through Cloudflare) which means it is proxied.

The features I use include: Security, Speed, Caching, Analytics and more.

Do these features apply to just the root domain, and what features (other than a proxy) are applied to other zones such as an A record containing a subdomain?

That is the ability to sign up a sub domain by itself either as fully managed or as a CNAME for zone wide settings to apply to that host (e.g. minimum TSL version).

In general any setting available for a domain can be applied (or bypassed) on a per host basis. Zone wide settings such as TLS version or administrative access are exceptions.

Caching works the same on the root domain as it does on www or foo.


If ‘foo’ is a placeholder for anything entered as a cname value which is mapped to the root domain, then it makes sense to me it would be cached just as www would be.

As for setting an A record as in my case, I’m still wondering if caching applies.

I’ve come to some kind of conclusion that caching applies to subdomains the same as root domains:

I’ve toyed around around caching rules and had a peek at some response headers, but this still doesn’t yet fully confirm that my conclusion is accurate in my use case (ie. free account with subdomains using A records)

I’ve found some informative further reading in the docs:

I understand a zone to be all the entries under a particular domain, and I’ve found a clue that some features do apply to subdomains (or an entire zone) such as Analytics. For example someone asked “Does the analytics traffic include subdomain traffic?

I’m slowly getting closer to understanding the exact differences between staging in production in my particular use case (undelegated, proxied subdomain/A record in free account).

As this query will soon draw to a close, I’d like to conclude by saying that now my staging site has been pushed to production I’ve learnt even more about how Cloudflare works.

As far as using a subdomain goes, it seemed a lot better than using a sub-directory or even a separate domain altogether.

I’m still curious about the exact differences between a proxied subdomain using an A record vs the usual CNAME contenders, but I’m always pleasantly surprised when I manage to squeeze so much use out of so many quality services on a shoestring and now have a mock-up e-commerce site loading in under half a second. I’m happy with that. Happy Halloween: https://vapu.co.uk :jack_o_lantern:

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