How To Use Cloudflare To Manage DNS Records Using RunCloud

We are happy to bring Cloudflare DNS Management to your RunCloud dashboard, using CloudFlare API.

With this feature, you can add a new domain to your Cloudflare account and manage your domains directly from our new “DNS Manager” menu.

You can also add/edit DNS records of your domain directly from the RunCloud dashboard. Currently, we support A, AAAA, CNAME, TXT records.

What Is DNS And How It Works

DNS stands for “Domain Name System”. DNS acts as a glue to connect your domain name with your server IP address.

When you visit a domain in your browser for the first time, a request will be forwarded to a DNS server (root nameserver) to locate the DNS records of this domain.

If the DNS record can be found, it will translate the domain name into the server IP address, and it makes a connection to this server and the content of this domain can be delivered and displayed in your browser.

This DNS record will be saved in your local computer as a local DNS cache. If you visit the same domain again, the DNS lookup process will be skipped because it is found in your local DNS cache.

If the DNS Record can’t be found, you will get “This site can’t be reached” screen.

What Is DNS Management

When you register a domain in any domain registrar, there is always a Nameserver menu/section where you can specify the nameserver(s) from your DNS provider (DNS management service), for example:

ns1.yourdnsprovider
ns2.yourdnsprovider

These are DNS servers that will handle queries regarding the location of your DNS records.

If you come from shared hosting, usually shared hosting has provided the DNS management as part of their service. You only need to add their nameserver to your domain nameserver. Or they will do it automatically when you purchase the domain as part of the shared hosting package.

When using a cloud server or VPS, it is a different story. You have to decide what DNS management service you will use for connecting your domain to your server.

Some domain registrar companies and cloud server providers have their own DNS management service, and some of them are free for their customers, for example DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr.

There is also some external DNS management service. Cloudflare is one of the top recommended choices for your DNS management service.

Why Using Cloudflare DNS

Some of you probably ask this question, why should you use Cloudflare DNS?

Flexibility

You will probably want to switch to using other cloud server providers for your website in the near future. If you use DNS management service from your old server provider, you will have to change the DNS management to your new server provider, and set up all existing DNS records of your domain again.

But when you use Cloudflare as your DNS management service, switching to a different cloud server provider will be easier. You only need to edit DNS record of your domain in Cloudflare, change the IP address from your old server provider to the IP address from your new server provider. Done.

And you can work with Cloudflare DNS for multiple cloud server providers for one domain, for example:

– your main/root domain X use DigitalOcean server
– your subdomain A use Linode server
– your subdomain B use Vultr server

Fast

According to DNSPerf, Cloudflare is the fastest DNS provider in the world, with the fastest speed overall for any DNS provider.

Free

Cloudflare offers free DNS services to their customers in all plans.

Collaboration / Multi-user

With the Cloudflare multi-user account, you can control multiple websites and invite users to manage Cloudflare settings on those websites. A user can access multiple accounts and have different permissions for each account that they can access.

For example, if your client has his own Cloudflare account, he can add your Cloudflare account to his account, and now you can manage his domains from your account, without having to login using his account.

Proxied DNS

DNS records in Cloudflare can be proxied to Cloudflare. It is optional.

For DNS records proxied to Cloudflare, Cloudflare’s IP addresses are returned in DNS queries instead of your original server IP address.

This allows Cloudflare to optimize, cache, and protect all requests for your website.

Get Cloudflare API Key

To allow RunCloud to manage your domains and DNS records in Cloudflare, you will need Cloudflare API Key.

If you have not register for Cloudflare yet, please register for free.

Login to your Cloudflare dashboard, go to “My profile” page, click API Tokens tab.

You can find your Global API Key here, click the View button to get your API Key.

Add Cloudflare API Key to RunCloud

Now you can go to the DNS Manager menu in RunCloud, and click the “Add Key” link on this page to add your API key to RunCloud.

Note: you can also access this page by clicking your profile at top right, click Settings, and go to “3rd Party API Key” menu.

For “Label”, for example you can use “MyCloudflare”, you can change it with your own name.

For “Service”, choose Cloudflare.

For “Username/Email/KeyID”, enter your Cloudflare account email address.

For “Secret”, please enter your Cloudflare API Key.

Click the “Add API Key” button. Done.

Manage Your Domains

After setting your Cloudflare API Key to RunCloud, you can go back to “DNS Manager” menu in RunCloud.

Choose the API Key that you have added, and now you will see all of your domains inside your Cloudflare account.

Add New Domain

After registering a new domain, you can add this domain to Cloudflare from the RunCloud dashboard.

Go to the DNS Manager menu, choose your Cloudflare key, add your domain name, select Account name (if you have multiple accounts), and click the “Add Domain Name” button.

Your domain will be on “pending” status. Click the domain name that you have added to see the new nameservers and instructions to setup your domain nameserver.

If you can’t find the nameserver menu/section in your domain registrar panel, please contact your domain registrar support.

Once you have changed the nameserver, it will take time for Cloudflare to change the status from “pending” to “active”. Once it is active, your domain is ready to use.

Add/Modify DNS Records

A DNS Record is basically a single entry that will be used to handle any given request based on types.

There are many types of DNS Record, for example:

  • A Records (IPv4)
  • AAAA Records (IPv6)
  • CNAME Records
  • MX Records
  • TXT Records
  • SPF Records

Currently, RunCloud support adding/editing A, AAAA, CNAME, TXT records in our DNS Manager menu.

A Record

A Record is a basic DNS record that you can use to point a domain/subdomain to an IP address (IPv4)

For example, we will add A record for your main/root domain.

For “Hostname”, please enter @ or your domain name

For “Content”, please select your RunCloud server or enter the IP Address of your server.

CNAME Record

CNAME Record is another DNS record that you can use to point a domain/subdomain to another hostname (alias).

For example, you want to enable “www” access to your domain, you can use CNAME Record for this purpose.

For “Hostname”, enter www

For “Is an alias of”, enter @ or your domain name

Note: if you want to add the www version to your domain, do not forget to go to the Domain Name menu under your Web Application in RunCloud, add both non-www and www version of your domain.

TXT Record

TXT Record is another DNS record that contains text-based information. Common use of TXT Record is for domain ownership verification.

For example, when adding your domain to Google Search Console (GSC), you need to verify your domain ownership. Google provides many ways to verify your domain, TXT record is the best way to use.

For “Hostname”, enter @ or your domain name

For “Content” enter verification code from GSC.

Tips – A Record for a subdomain

If you are still new with DNS Record and want to create a subdomain, you can create A record and enter your subdomain name on the “Hostname” field.

Tips – A Record for wildcard subdomain

For example, you want to build a SaaS (Software as a Service) or WaaS (WordPress as a Service), and you want to provide subdomain for all users, it is not best practice if you have to add A record manually when you have a new user.

You can use wildcard subdomain for this case. You only need to create A record and enter * on the “Hostname” field, and now all subdomains will be available for all of your SaaS / WaaS users.

DNS Only vs Proxied

We have explained about Proxied DNS in Cloudflare earlier.

And when you add/edit DNS Record, there is a DNS Only (default) or Proxied option.

What is the difference between DNS Only and Proxied?

DNS Only

1) Cloudflare will return your original server IP address for any DNS queries of this record.

2) SSL/TLS (https) will be served from your own server. You have to enable Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS for this domain/subdomain to secure with HTTPS.

3) You can’t use other Cloudflare features because Cloudflare is used for DNS only for this A record. For example, if you check the Statistics page for your domain in Cloudflare account, it will be empty.

Proxied

1) Cloudflare will return Cloudflare’s IP address for any DNS queries of this record. It means your original server IP address will be hidden.

2) SSL/TLS (https) will be served from Cloudflare. You can check the SSL/TLS menu for your domain in Cloudflare dashboard for more options.

When using “Flexible” Cloudflare SSL Option, Cloudflare will connect to your server using HTTP. It means SSL/TLS is not required in your server.

Source: Cloudflare

When using “Full” Cloudflare SSL Options, Cloudflare will connect to your server using HTTPS. It means, you still have to enable Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS for this domain/subdomain in your server.

Source: Cloudflare

3) Because Cloudflare’s IP addresses are returned in DNS queries, it allows Cloudflare to optimize, cache, and protect all requests for your website.

You can explore all features in Cloudflare that are probably useful for your website.

Which one is better?

You can always start with the DNS Only option. It is safer for you because you will only use Cloudflare for your DNS Management service.

Once you are familiar with DNS, and want to explore other Cloudflare features, you can try editing your DNS record and use the Proxied option.

It can be changed from anytime, but please understand it will take some times to reflect the changes in your website.

Bonus – Add Domain When Creating Web App

This is a bonus feature for our Business plan users only.

You can add a domain to your Cloudflare account directly when creating a web application in RunCloud.

If you add a domain, we take care of adding the domain and setup A record for you automatically to your Cloudflare account. If it is a new domain, you will still need to update this domain nameserver in your domain registrar.

If you add a subdomain, we take care of adding the A record for you automatically to your Cloudflare account.

Summary

At RunCloud, we are all about making your dev life easier, delivering a fast service, and ensuring your server is managed properly.

With this feature, you can add a new domain to your Cloudflare account and manage your domains directly from our new “DNS Manager” menu.

You can also add/edit DNS records of your domain directly from the RunCloud dashboard. Currently, we support A, AAAA, CNAME, TXT records.

All paid plan users (Basic, Pro, Business) can enjoy the full functionality of this feature.

For bonus feature, adding a domain to your Cloudflare account directly when creating a web application, it is available for Business plan users only.

This feature has been a requested feature that we knew would be useful to you. Never ever hesitate to suggest new features that you want to see, and we will make it happen.

Categories: Features, Server Management, Tutorials

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