What is the problem with Freenom (.tk .ml .ga ...)?

Each time users ask why they cannot add their Freenom domains to CloudFlare, the typical answer is “the Freenom WHOIS servers do not work, why don’t you try buying a domain instead?”. But this is incorrect: the WHOIS servers for these TLDs are working and anyone can check that by using the good old “whois” command in a terminal:

$ whois -h whois.dot.ml sasplace.ml
Summary
   Domain name:
      SASPLACE.ML

   Organisation:
      Mali Dili B.V.
      Point ML administrator
      P.O. Box 11774
      1001 GT  Amsterdam
      Netherlands
      Phone: +31 20 5315725
      Fax: +31 20 5315721
      E-mail: abuse: [email protected], copyright infringement: [email protected]
(...)
$ whois -h whois.freenom.com sasplace.ml
Summary
   Domain name:
      SASPLACE.ML

   Organisation:
      Mali Dili B.V.
      Point ML administrator
      P.O. Box 11774
      1001 GT  Amsterdam
      Netherlands
      Phone: +31 20 5315725
      Fax: +31 20 5315721
      E-mail: abuse: [email protected], copyright infringement: [email protected]
(...)

What is not working correctly is the WHOIS website for these domains (https://whois.freenom.com), but the WHOIS protocol has nothing to do with HTTP, so scripts should not rely on it and use the WHOIS servers instead (tcp port 43). I’m sure CloudFlare devs know that already, so I don’t think this is the problem.

Their DNS servers are also working correctly, even though it is often required to change them before adding the domain names to CloudFlare because it doesn’t like them for “reasons”.

So what exactly is the problem with Freenom domains? Is it really a technical issues (which one?) or did CloudFlare decide to stop supporting these free domains because they are often use by cybercriminals?
Can we get an official statement about that please?

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I do not even think .tk, .ml, and .ga domains are supported but feel free to correct me. The problem is that Freenom gives those domains for free and are heavily abused by attackers/spammers/phishers. I prefer not to support those type of domains.

Using search function on forum:

These domains were still supported a few month ago, and the WHOIS service issues claim is not true as shown in my original message.

Cloudflare methods that connects to WHOIS probably haven’t worked for a while.

So the issue would be on the CloudFlare side then, not the registrar side? If so, people should stop blaming the latter when they answer about Freenom domains not working on CloudFlare.

There are lots of users complaining about that in this board (almost 1 user per day), so CloudFlare is very aware of the issue. If they do not fix it, it would be on purpose then, which leads to my second hypothesis: CloudFlare do not want to support these free domains anymore. That could be okay to me, but an official statement about that would make it more clear though.

Why doesn’t it work? It could very well be that it doesn’t work for the same reason Cloudflare’s verification process doesn’t work. I can certainly see Cloudflare not wanting to put much effort into a workaround to let people add domains from Spamhaus’ Top 10 Most Abused TLDs list to Cloudflare.

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Please, Cloudflare fix the issue with whois Freenom domains, the whois server is working !!

But not this one. Ask Freenom to fix this. It could very likely help Cloudflare with adding Freenom domains.

2 Likes

Well, it looks like they decided to implement that workaround in the end, as registering Freenom domains works again now (while Freenom WHOIS website is still unreliable). Dunno if it is because of my post or something else, but as long as it works, I can only be grateful :sunglasses:

So, what’s the “workaround”, and may I please have it?

WHOIS is currently working for me but Cloudflare is still not able to lookup my domain from Freenom

Our advice still stands: Get a reputable TLD from a reliable registrar.

I occasionally add Freenom domains for experimental purposes.
For example, I want to test Workers match patterns, without messing up my real websites.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a domain for these.

That’s fine. It’s no big loss if that domain stops working or can’t be added to Cloudflare. It’s not going to hold you up. I have at least two test domains on hand (a .xyz and a .me) for experimentation and demo purposes. Totally worth the $9 or so per year each. I also often add a ‘test’ subdomain to existing domains as well.

It’s great that you got it working! Unfortunately, I’m not so lucky. Both the WHOIS command in my terminal and the whois.freenom.com viewer seem to work for me, yet I’m still getting the error Failed to lookup registrar and hosting information of XYZ.tk at this time. Please contact Cloudflare Support or try again later..
If it works for us, what is Cloudflare doing differently?

They probably don’t use the Freenom whois.freenom.com. The official Whois for .cf is whois.dot.cf, and I have being getting timeouts for all requests there for many weeks.

2 Likes

Best to open a ticket for that.

Cloudflare no longer protects my .tk domain

everything was ok
and suddenly cloudflare no longer protects