Using SSL with Cloudflare
This article discusses various options for using SSL on a Cloudflare-enabled account.
Using Cloudflare with an SSL certificate
To provide secure connections for your users, you must install an SSL certificate on your site. When you have an SSL certificate installed and Cloudflare enabled on your site, the entire connection is encrypted, from the browser to Cloudflare to your web server.
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority, and is recognized by most modern browsers. Let's Encrypt is supported for all new A2 Hosting accounts, and certificates may even be generated automatically for immediate use. Let's Encrypt certificates may be used for all configurations described below.
SSL-enabled root domains
If you have SSL enabled for your root domain (for example, example.com), you must upgrade to Cloudflare Pro to use SSL and Cloudflare simultaneously.
Cloudflare provides two options for SSL-enabled sites:
- Full SSL: For this option, you need at least a self-signed SSL certificate. For information about how to generate and install a self-signed certificate, please see this article.
- Full SSL (strict): For this option, you need a valid SSL certificate signed by a Certificate Authority. This is the preferred method, because even if you disable Cloudflare for your site, it is still completely protected by the SSL certificate.
If you have SSL enabled for a subdomain, you can continue using the free version of Cloudflare on your root domain. However, you must make sure that the SSL-enabled subdomain is disabled (has the gray cloud icon next to it) in your Cloudflare settings. For more information about how to configure Cloudflare for your account, please see this article.
If you want to use Cloudflare with an SSL-enabled subdomain, you must upgrade to Cloudflare Pro.
Using Cloudflare without an SSL certificate
If your site does not currently have an SSL certificate, you can use Cloudflare Universal SSL. This feature is free, and encrypts connections between users' web browsers and Cloudflare. Connections between Cloudflare and your web site, however, are not encrypted. To secure the entire connection, you must install an SSL certificate on your server.
For more information about Cloudflare Universal SSL, please visit http://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-universal-ssl.
- Universal SSL is only available if you sign up for Cloudflare directly at their site. You currently cannot use Universal SSL if you configure Cloudflare through cPanel.
- The Universal SSL option only works in modern browsers that support Server Name Indication (SNI). Approximately 80% of browsers currently in use support SNI. For information about which browsers support Cloudflare Universal SSL, please visit https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/204151138-Understanding-Universal-SSL
- You should not use Universal SSL if your website processes any sensitive information, such as payment data or personally identifiable information (PII). While Universal SSL is better than nothing, to really secure your site and protect your users, you must install an SSL certificate.
- What is Cloudflare?
Learn about Cloudflare’s content delivery network (CDN) and how it can help improve your site’s performance and security.
- Activating Cloudflare
Learn how to activate Cloudflare for your web site with just a few easy steps.
- Configuring Cloudflare
After you activate Cloudflare, you can configure it for your web site using cPanel. Learn how here.
These articles show you how to set up SSL and help enhance your site’s security.