Migrating Name Servers to Cloudflare

Adding Cloudflare in front of your website is a no-brainer as it instantly gives you a lot of tools for optimizing the speed and security of your site. Cloudflare provides its services by integrating to your domain by changing your domain’s name servers to Cloudflare’s.

Time needed: 1 day

Migrating to Cloudflare involves the following steps:

  1. Create a Cloudflare account

    Contact support and let us know which type of Cloudflare account you would like to use, for which site you’d like to use it and which email address should be used for your Cloudflare account. Our Servebolt Support Team will create your account based on the information you’ve provided.

    You will receive an email with a link to invite you to your Cloudflare account. The account is yours, but it’s provisioned by Servebolt, which means we control and manage it for you.

  2. Double check imported DNS records in Cloudflare

    When the Servebolt Support Team has created your Cloudflare account and you’ve managed to log into your account, you need to check the DNS settings first. Cloudflare tries to import all DNS records it can find from your domain provider, but it may sometimes miss a few. Therefore, you need to compare and double check Cloudflare’s DNS records against your registrar’s.

    Optional: having the orange cloud turned off in the Cloudflare DNS settings will make it a straightforward name server move. If the orange cloud is on, Cloudflare will have to issue certificates – which does not always happen automatically within the minute.

  3. Configuring Cloudflare

    Meanwhile, our Servebolt Support Team will configure your Cloudflare account for optimal speed and security. You will need to double check these configurations once your site has been migrated to Cloudflare.

  4. Turn off DNSSEC

    When you’re ready to move your site to Cloudflare by changing your name servers at your domain registrar, you’ll need to turn off DNSSEC first. You can read more about this in our How to Migrate Name Servers for DNS Zones with DNSSEC active article.

    Don’t start with the next step unless you’ve received confirmation by your domain registrar the DNSSEC has been turned off. We advise you to wait for 24 hours before you proceed to the next step.

  5. Changing name servers

    If you’ve completed all previous steps, you’ll be ready for the big step: changing name servers at your domain registrar. In your Cloudflare account, on the main Dashboard view per domain, you’ll find the Cloudflare name servers information you need to use. You can find that information in the Cloudflare configuration confirmation message from our Support Team as well.

    How to change the name servers is highly depended on your domain registrar and in some cases you may need to contact your domain registrar’s help desk to make it happen.

    First, remove all your current name servers. After that, add Cloudflare’s two name servers and save these new settings.

  6. And Now We Wait

    The next step is both an easy and difficult one. DNS settings, name servers included, are cached on the internet, in your browser and on your computer as well. This means that after saving the name servers settings, it takes a little while before those changes have cleared the cache at your domain registrar. Once that has been done, the wait for clearing all the caches on the internet, your browser and computer starts. This can take a while, in some cases even hours.

    During this process, you may see SSL certificate warnings indicating insecure connections or SSL connections just not working. This means you’re looking at a migration that is not complete yet. Cloudflare will start autodetecting whether the name servers have been changed to them. As soon as they can confirm it, they can start issuing their internal SSL certificates. This means that even when Cloudflare has confirmed the domain is being served by them, there still can be invalid SSL certificates. All you can do here is wait. This too can take up to a few hours.

  7. Double check Cloudflare’s configuration

    After the wait, which of course always takes too long, your site is now using Cloudflare’s optimization. Some of these optimizations concern the behaviour of HTML and CSS on your site. It’s possible that this yields undesired results for your site, so you should double check all your site’s functionality.

And there you have it. You are now enjoying Cloudflare’s optimizations and your site is being served from the Cloudflare edge. And if you’re using the Cloudflare Pro or Cloudflare Business plan, a complete layer of security as well.