CloudFlare is a third-party service that can provide increased security and performance to your website.
Once your website is using CloudFlare, its web traffic is routed through their intelligent global network. CloudFlare automatically optimises the delivery of your web pages so visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance.
CloudFlare also blocks threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.
The core CloudFlare service is free, with extra features like real time reporting or SSL available as a paid addon.
As a CloudFlare Certified Partner, Mammoth Cloud customers can create and configure CloudFlare protected websites directly from our VPS management panel.
Login to mPanel and click Domains on the top menu. You will see this screen:
Click Create CloudFlare Account to begin the integration process:
Enter the email address you want to use for your CloudFlare account, and click Create Account. (If you already have a CloudFlare account that you have used with another provider, you can use that as well - just click "Create Account" and you will be prompted for your CloudFlare password)
CloudFlare Domain Requirements
Now that you have a CloudFlare account, its time to activate CloudFlare for your website. CloudFlare works on individual domains such as yourcompany.com.au ; to activate CloudFlare for a domain entails updating the nameservers to use CloudFlare.
In other words, CloudFlare replaces your existing DNS Hosting provider (be that Mammoth Cloud, another provider, or self-hosted). During activation, two things need to happen:
- CloudFlare needs to be given a copy of all the DNS entries (the "zone records") from your existing DNS provider
- You must ask your domain registrar to update your domain to use the CloudFlare nameservers
The exact steps to take during activation will depend on who your domain registrar is and who provides your DNS Hosting. Your situation will be one of the following scenarios:
- Mammoth Cloud is either your domain registrar (you purchased your domain from Mammoth or transferred it to us); OR your DNS Hosting provider (you use mPanel to manage your DNS records).
- The domain is registered with another provider; AND your DNS is either self-hosted or with another provider (ie. you are purely using our VPS service)
If you fall into category 2 (both domain registration and DNS are third-party) please follow through Appendix A to add the domain to mPanel and then return here to activate CloudFlare.
Having created your CloudFlare account, mPanel's Domains section will now show a grey CloudFlare Status icon next to your domain:
To activate CloudFlare, click the grey cloud icon and wait about 30 seconds while mPanel configures your CloudFlare account.
Once your domain is added to CloudFlare, you will be presented with your DNS records:
The status of your CloudFlare domain is shown at the top-right. This can have a few different values:
- pending: CloudFlare is waiting for your domain's nameservers to be updated to the values shown in the blue information box. (Note that this is not a "real-time" check and it can take five minutes to update)
- active: Your domain's nameservers have been updated correctly and CloudFlare is now activated.
Each individual DNS entry (zone record) has a cloud icon representing how CloudFlare will treat that record. There are two available options:
- Orange cloud: Traffic for this record is being handled by CloudFlare
- Grey cloud: Traffic for this record is not handled by CloudFlare
By default, the root and "www." records are handled by CloudFlare (orange cloud) while other records are not.
To change how CloudFlare treats a record, click the icon to toggle from orange to grey, and back again.
CloudFlare can be configured to handle "A", "AAAA", and "CNAME" records.
Once you are satisfied with the configuration, click Save all Records at the bottom of the page to send the updates to CloudFlare.
Each CloudFlare domain has a number of settings associated with it which affect how CloudFlare processes your HTTP requests. To configure these settings go to mPanel's Domains section, click the domain's Manage button and finally select the CloudFlare Settings tab.
Some of the most useful settings include:
- Paused: If you are ever concerned that something on your site is broken because of CloudFlare, rather than deactivating the domain entirely you can "pause" CloudFlare's processing
- IPv6: CloudFlare can future-proof your website by providing an IPv6 endpoint, even when your website is not setup for IPv6
Click Save and Apply at the bottom to update CloudFlare with your changes.
CloudFlare has even more functionality than is presented here; particularly if you choose to purchase one of their paid plans. Visit the CloudFlare portal and login with the account you created earlier to use the full range of services of CloudFlare offers.
In this section we outline how to handle CloudFlare integration if your domain is registered with another provider or your DNS hosting is with a third-party.
In this scenario, you will need to temporarily setup Mammoth Cloud as your DNS Hosting provider before ultimately giving that responsibility to CloudFlare.
From mPanel's Domains section, click "Add DNS Hosting".
Enter your domain name and click Create. On the next screen, you will be prompted to supply your domain's DNS entries (its zone records). Obtain the list from your existing DNS provider, and add corresponding entries in mPanel. Finally click Save All Records.
Appendix B: DNS Hosting is with Mammoth Cloud, domain is registered with another provider
After activating your CloudFlare domain, a blue message box is displayed with the two nameserver records CloudFlare requires you to use.
Access your domain registrar's management portal, and update your nameservers to the values shown. After five minutes, refresh mPanel's DNS Hosting screen and you should find the domain has changed from "pending" to "active".
Appendix C: Domain is registered with Mammoth Cloud, DNS Hosting is with another provider
After activating your CloudFlare domain, the DNS Hosting screen will be populated with some of the records from your existing provider. However because there is no standard mechanism to import/export DNS records, if your domain has any extra records than they are likely to be missing.
Access your existing DNS Hosting provider's management portal to obtain a list of your current DNS entries. Use this list to update the DNS Hosting screen so that it has an identical entry for each record shown at your existing provider.