Getting Started With Cloudflare: A Quick Guide For Clients

March 1, 2024 by Aaron Day in Business, Web Development

This article is meant to be a reference for our clients on the benefits of Cloudflare for their website, what we need to set it up, and what info they'll need to manage it.

First off, what is Cloudflare? Cloudflare is a third party service that sits between the internet and your website. We recommend it since it provides an extra layer of security, caching, and speed optimization. You can read more on their website at but a lot of what’s written on their site is for IT professionals. So let me further explain why we recommend it, and how it impacts your online presence.

Why Choose Cloudflare?

Here's a summary of the benefits for using Cloudflare:

  • Protection against DDoS attacks so if some malicious yahoos try to bring your site down with a ton of traffic, it’ll detect and stop them.
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF) where rules can be added to block IP addresses, user agents, even whole countries from either accessing your site, or where they have to answer a challenge first. The free version gives you 3 rules, the paid plans more.
  • Automatic bot filtering to block or challenge known malicious bots. Some provided with the free account, more with the paid plans.
  • Automatic caching of HTML, JavaScript, and images so your site content loads faster.
  • CDN so your media files (e.g. images, video, files) can be loaded from Cloudflare servers closer to their location - depending on your website’s server location and your site visitor, this can provide much faster loading.
  • Domain name services (DNS). You can manage your DNS records more easily through Cloudflare, and the changes will propagate much faster than many domain registrars (Network Solutions, I’m talking about you!). Note that with Cloudflare, the DNS records must be managed through them since all your website traffic is routed through Cloudflare.
  • Website Speed optimizations - Cloudflare has a suite of additional features that further speed up your site, including automatic image optimizations. Note this is limited with the free version.
  • Page Rules to further direct traffic, provide optimizations, or limit access to parts of your website. You get a few rules with the free plan and more with the paid plan.

You get a TON of value with just the free plan but you can get more with their $20/month plan (something to think about).

Moving DNS to Cloudflare

To set up Cloudflare for you, we have to point the nameservers from your current domain name registrar to Cloudflare.

What this means and the ramifications:

  • Instead of managing the DNS records at GoDaddy, Network Solutions, or some other registrar, you’ll manage them through Cloudflare. If you have an internal network or email service, your IT team will probably need access too so they can make updates.
  • You still need your domain registrar. Your domain name (ex. is still provided by your registrar but will be managed by Cloudflare. In other words, Cloudflare will be routing the traffic instead of your registrar.
  • If you need to make a DNS change, you’ll just need to log into Cloudflare or give access to an IT professional to make changes.

What You'll Need to Manage

For the most part, you’ll want to leave the administration to us or some other IT professional but there are a few things that you should know about, as an owner or manager.

User Management

  1. In the left menu, click on Members. You’ll now see all the members and their privileges.
  2. To add a new person, click on Invite.
  3. For scope, select either all the sites or just a single domain. For the roles, select Super Administrator if it’s someone you absolutely trust. Or, you can grant just DNS rights (generally the better option).

Screenshot of cloudflare, user management.
Screenshot of cloudflare, how to add a member.

I’m Under Attack!

On the dashboard, toggle on the “Under Attack Mode” option. This will add a manual challenge to every page on your site so only humans interacting with your site can get to your pages. This will slow down automated bot attacks and prevent them from reaching your website.

Screenshot of cloudflare, under attack and how to clear cache.

Clearing the Cache

If you just uploaded a new version of an image to your site and aren’t seeing that new image, it’s probably getting cached. Click Purge Cache and then click on the Purge Everything button. There’s other options but this this is the easiest option.

If things are still caching for you, clear the cache within your CMS (WordPress?) and your browser.

Updating the DNS Records

  1. From either the dashboard, or in the left Admin menu, click on DNS.
  2. On this screen, you can manage your DNS records and toggle whether the domain or subdomain is proxied.
Note: Proxied means that Cloudflare is providing its extra optimizations. For subdomains like mail or other services, you’ll want to turn this off so it’ll say DNS only. For the most part, leave the proxy status to your IT professional.

Screenshot of cloudflare, proxied.

Anything Else?

If you have any other questions, consult the Cloudflare site or ask us.