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Taking Your Website Live: Configuring Cloudflare for Your Website Using HTTPS/SSL for a Secure Site
Taking Your Website Live: Configuring Cloudflare for Your Website Using HTTPS/SSL for a Secure Site
Brian Ostrovsky avatar
Written by Brian Ostrovsky
Updated over a week ago

When you're ready to take your site live there are just a couple of steps that you'll need to complete. If you need help with anything, let us know. We realize most people have no idea about this stuff... here are instructions for the access we'll need.

Note: Not all domain registrars or DNS management companies provide the same options.

Start with Cloudflare... a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs help improve site performance and while we use a CDN with our software you can add another layer. We recommend Cloudflare - they have a free service level which is quite useful and allows you to secure your site while speeding it up.

In addition to the performance benefits, they also have very good domain management capabilities so if your domain is managed by a provider with limited options this could be an additional value.

Start by creating your Cloudflare account 

Visit, they'll walk you through a process and import in your current domain settings (it's like magic and takes about 1 minute).

Nothing will actually happen, however, until you change your name servers to point to Cloudflare (they provide you with 2 nameservers to use, use both). We recommend you do this right away, site visitors won't see any change at this point but it will give you more control.

To start making changes, click the DNS option and create (or edit) a CNAME for www to point to - see below.

You will need to delete the CNAME for www (if it exists). The A record for @ can be edited or replaced, simply point it to "".

Note, if anything says "Points to @" you'll want to edit it to point to the IP address in the @ Value i.e instead of pointing at @ it'll point directly to the IP address - see below.

Now that the CNAME is added, we need to add a forward so if someone types in they actually end up at

To do this, first click Page Rules in the options at the top:

Then click Create Page Rule, you need 1 rule as follows (notice we're using as an example).

In the first box type* - using your real domain. Then click the drop-down box and select Forwarding URL, you want to use a 301 Permanent Redirect.

In the box type,$1 - the www and trailing $1 are important. Then save.

IMPORTANT - Ensure your other services remain active

Check to make sure that if there are other CNAMEs for anything else like "mail" that you delete the CNAME and create an A record for "mail" that points to the IP address being used by the @ A record.

Next, we need to make sure your email will still work by updating your MX records. In most cases, MX records are shown where A record and CNAMEs are however it's possible depending on the provider that you use that MX records may be somewhere else like in the example below.

Once editing the MX record you'll need to make sure that the existing records don't point to your main domain ( as that domain is no longer going to be in the same place. Instead, you'll need to update the record and prepend to This assumes you had or created an A record for "mail" that points to the IP address that your old website is on.

Recommended settings:

  1. Enable Bot Fight Mode in the Security > Bots section

  2. Enable Auto Minify check boxes, Brotli, and Rocket Loader in the Speed > Optimization section

  3. Enable Crawler Hints in the Caching > Configuration section and enable Tiered Caching in Caching > Tiered Caching

When you're ready to go live

  1. Add your custom domain to your account: Click Your Website > Domain Settings then add your domain (with the "www") and make it Primary then Save

  2. Manage your domain and add or update the CNAME for www to point to

If you visit the old temporary staging domain it will redirect to the new Primary.

Now, you need to update your Name Servers

Wherever your domain is registered (often GoDaddy, Name Cheap or Enom though we strongly recommend Google Domains) you need to change your name servers to use the two provided in your Cloudflare account.

Once this update is made, the update could take minutes to hours to be reflected but your new site is now live.

One last task for good measure, let's make the site secure!

Click on SSL/TLS in the options at the top then Edge Certificates and then turn on Always Use HTTPS

You'll specifically want to select the Full option in the SSL section and then turn on the always use HTTPS option

NOTE: You must have your SSL set to Full and not Flexible encryption when using e-commerce on your website, otherwise checkout out won't be possible for security reasons.

Check your site by visiting (notice https not http), assuming it's resolving to our servers you'll see one of two options (if it's not resolving you just need to wait).

If you don't get the green Secure view above it means something on your site is trying to load an image or content using http:// - the fastest option is to just ask us to look and we can make a quick fix.


One more option with Cloudflare, you can speed up your site a smidge by clicking the Speed page then check the Auto Minify options. Paid accounts give you a few more options to speed things up a little.

All done!

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