Using Cloudflare with GridPane

5 min read

Most PaaS Cloud VPS providers include DNS management as part of their platform, the same is usually true for your domain registrar.

While these solutions may be adequate in most situations, there is a lot to be said for using a specialist DNS provider. As with every aspect of your technology stack it is generally considered best practice to separate concerns and use different specialist services for each component. This will provide greater resilience, is more secure, and when using service APIs is often more convenient.

GridPane has built in integration with Cloudflare, which provides an excellent DNS solution free of charge.

Step 1: Add your domain to your Cloudflare account

If you’re new to Cloudflare you can check out their video on how to get started here:

Adding a new domain to Cloudflare

Step 2: Configure your domain name’s nameservers to point to Cloudflare

Once you’ve added your domain to your Cloudflare account, Cloudflare will give you a set of nameservers. They will look something like this:

one.ns.cloudflare.com
two.ns.cloudflare.com

These nameservers need to be entered inside your domain registrar account.

There are too many domain registrars to provide details on how to achieve this for every single company, however please find below links to the relevant support articles for many of the most popular domain registrars.

Links to articles for some of the most popular domain registrars:

Once you’ve entered your nameservers they may take a few hours to take affect. Cloudflare will send you an email to let you know when this domain is active in your account.

Step 3: Copy your Cloudflare API Credentials

Now that you’ve setup your domain in your Cloudflare account we need to copy your API key.

Click through to your account page by clicking the user icon in the top right hand corner and selecting “My Profile” from the dropdown. This will bring to the page shown below. Here you need to click on “API Tokens” to open up the tab. Once open click on the Global API Key button.

This will open up a modal window asking for your password and to confirm you’re not a robot.

Once entered it will reveal your API key. Copy this and head on over to your GridPane account.

Step 4: Add your API key to GridPane

Click on your name in the top right hand corner of your account and select “Your Settings” from the dropdown. This will bring you to your account page. Select “DNS Providers” in the left hand menu as shown below.

Enter your API key and the email address you use for your Cloudflare account and click “Create“. You’ve now integrated Cloudflare with your GridPane account.

Your Cloudflare API Credentials will be saved and displayed in the Cloudflare Account Tokens panel as shown below.

If you wish to update your credentials with fresh keys at a later date you can do this by clicking on the blue pencil icon button.

If you wish to delete your credentials entirely, you may do this by clicking on the X button.

Challenge Domains & Nameserver Domains

Challenge domains are a way for you to generate an SSL for a client using a DNS API Proxy Challenge before you migrate them over if, for some reason, you can’t add their domain to your Cloudflare account. You can learn more about this here: Provisioning an SSL for a domain using DNS API Domain verification by Proxy Challenge

Nameserver domains are for if you’re using vanity nameservers e.g. ns1.yourdomain.com instead of one.ns.cloudflare.com etc. You’ll need to enter your vanity nameserver here if you’re using one.

Step 5: Provision a GridPane site using Cloudflare to Update DNS

Next provision your GridPane WordPress site. We have an easy to follow guide that takes you step by step through the process here.

In the DNS API Integration section of the Add New Site panel, make sure you select Cloudflare from the dropdown before you click “Add Site”.

If you’re using a Challenge domain or Nameserver domain, these will also display in the drop down (not pictured), be sure to select the correct one.

Your site will provision as normal. When it is complete it will appear in the Active Sites panel.

You can confirm the Cloudflare integration by clicking on the name of your website to open up the configuration modal, and clicking through to the domains tab. The Cloudflare option you’ve selected will be displayed in green underneath “API Integration”.

[Bonus] Step 6: Manage your DNS records inside of your GridPane account

Now that your website is setup with the Cloudflare API integration you can edit your DNS records directly inside your GridPane account.

First open up the configuration modal and navigate to the domains tab, and then click on the server icon:

This will bring up the DNS record selection. You can manage your A records, CNAME records, TXT records, and NS. Please see the following articles to learn about setting your DNS records and managing your clients DNS:

Settings DNS Records

DNS Management and CNAMEs

NOTE: We sometimes see non-standard CNAMEs or no CNAMEs at all. These are important for your “www” records, and be incredibly useful for ongoing client management. If you’re new to DNS please check the articles above as they will be a big part of your hosting setup/business.

Click on the type of record you’d like to edit, and here you can either add a new record or edit an existing record:

Edit your record and hit save: