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How to set up your custom domain in CloudFlare

*These are our specific instructions for setting up a custom domain in CloudFlare. If you're looking for more general information on what a custom domain is, please see this article*



We've recently noticed several folks successfully using CloudFlare with their custom domain and Thinkific account. However, doing this properly requires some extra configuration, plus letting us know that you use CloudFlare. 



1. Set up CloudFlare according to the usual procedure provided by CloudFlare.


This is the easy part, and you may have already done it. Just follow whatever steps are normally used to set up CloudFlare for your domain:




Make sure your CNAME is set correctly in CloudFlare:



2. For your Thinkific site custom domain to work properly, you'll want to ensure that you have the CNAME record set to "DNS only". You can do this by clicking on the orange cloud icon beside the new CNAME record you've just created and switching it to the "DNS only" setting.

Thinkific custom domain in cloudflare as dns only


3. Add your custom domain to your Thinkific site by going to your Settings > Site > Site URL, then click Add a Custom URL:



The sign that you've had success is seeing the Thinkific 404 page at your custom domain. (This is one of the few times you want to see a 404.)




Once you see that Thinkific 404 page at your custom domain, you can email customers@thinkific.com and let us know that you're ready to activate your custom domain. Then, as soon as we are able to make the change at the our end, you'll see your Thinkific site at your custom domain.


Please note:

If you try to search for your CNAME record using a tool like CNAME lookup and this does not populate a result, it is because when a CNAME record is orange clouded, CloudFlare basically treats it like an A record, obfuscates the origin and just return the IP address. As a result, if you do a DNS query for CNAME with an orange clouded record you won’t see it (but an A record query will return the destination IP). 


So, when you search for the A record (https://www.whatsmydns.net/) you will see two IP addresses. This may be due to the CNAME 'flattening behind the scenes'. CNAME Flattening is very useful and important if you’re using cloud-based services and you do not want to have a “www” subdomain. To summarize, you can now safely use a CNAME record, as opposed to an A record that points to a fixed IP address, as your root record in CloudFlare DNS without triggering a number of edge case error conditions because you’re violating the DNS specifications.


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