How to Set Up a CNAME Record in CloudFlare
1. Log in to your CloudFlare account
2. Select the domain that you would like to use for your Thinkific site
3. In the top menu, select DNS
4. Under DNS Records, you will see an option to add a record. Fill out the following:
- First dropdown menu: Select CNAME
- Name: This will be your desired subdomain. A subdomain precedes your main domain name. For example in www.yoursite.com, www is the subdomain. What you enter here will affect which URL your Thinkific site will be available at. www, learn, or courses are popular subdomain choices.
- Domain name: This will be your Thinkific URL. You will want to copy the exact URL of your Thinkific site, which will be formatted as: yoursite.thinkific.com.
- Automatic TTL: You can leave this as the default. TTL stands for Time to Live and simply indicates how long it will take this change to propagate.
- Cloud icon: Click this until you see a grey cloud icon. This will ensure it is set to DNS only, which means traffic will not go through CloudFlare. Advanced set up is required in CloudFlare if your record is orange clouded.
5. Select Add Record
6. You should now see a record that looks something like this:
Once you have created your CNAME record, refer to the following for testing out your changes and setting your custom domain as the primary domain for your site!
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 returns the IP address. As a result, if you do a DNS query for CNAME with an orange clouded record, you won’t see it. However, 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 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.
More About Custom Domains