This article goes over a few details as to how SSL certificates are implemented with Cloudflare.
If any of the following limitations are not acceptable to you, then the only option is to disable Cloudflare on the domain.
How long will it take to set up?
When setting up SSL or Secure Hosting, you may need to wait some time for DNS changes to propagate.
- This can sometimes take up to several hours.
- Additionally, you may need to wait up to 24 hours for Cloudflare to set up your certificate.
Until the setup completes, you may be unable to connect to your site over https, or you may receive invalid certificate warnings.
What certificate will visitors to my site see?
Visitors to your site will only ever see the certificate that Cloudflare creates.
The certificate you set up in the DreamHost panel will NOT be visible to your site visitors if the site is using Cloudflare. Cloudflare always uses a "professional" certificate, but you will not have any control over this certificate.
Visitors will see a certificate that looks like this if they check the info on your site's certificate (regardless of what kind of certificate you have set up in the DreamHost panel). The images below show the certificate will appear in Chrome and Firefox.
How long will it take for the certificate to set up?
It may take up to 24 hours for the certificate to be fully set up.
Until Cloudflare finishes setting up the certificate for your site, you will see SSL warnings when visiting your site using HTTPS. Once the certificate is set up (which should be within 24 hours), the warnings should go away.
What about second-level subdomains and SSL warnings?
Second level subdomains do not work with the FREE option.
This means that if you try to set up SSL and Cloudflare for
www.myblog.example.com, you may see warnings like this when visiting the page:
This warning won't appear on first level subdomains like
What happens if I don't enable Cloudflare on the main domain?
You will receive warnings if Cloudflare is not enabled on the main domain.
If you want SSL to work on any of your subdomains with Cloudflare, you will need to have your main domain also enabled on Cloudflare. This is a limitation imposed by the SSL Certificate provider; without the main domain being on Cloudflare, the certificate will not be valid for the subdomains.
For example, if you want to have SSL enabled on
blog.example.com and use Cloudflare, then you must also enable Cloudflare on
After Cloudflare is enabled on the main domain (example.com) and subdomain (blog.example.com), both will show a valid SSL secure lock.
Make sure to enable Cloudflare in the DreamHost panel on both the main domain and subdomain.
Can I use Cloudflare’s Universal SSL option?
Yes. All new domains that choose to use Cloudflare's basic plan will have Universal SSL available. Please note that this is NOT recommended since the Universal SSL certificate does not fully protect your site traffic. View Cloudflare's blog post for further details.
It is also now possible to use a TLS/SSL certificate, such as Let's Encrypt, with the basic Cloudflare plan.
If you currently have the Plus option for SSL support and no longer want it, you can switch to Basic by canceling the Plus option and then switching to the free option instead. In order to facilitate the switch to the Basic option, you must enable the 'Add WWW' option in the DreamHost panel in order to complete the process. For more information about adding 'www' to your domain, please visit the following article:
For further information, please visit Cloudflare’s support page:
After enabling SSL and Cloudflare and visiting the HTTPS version of your site, you may notice a 526 Cloudflare error. It will say this:
Website is offline. Error 526. Invalid SSL certificate
Assuming you correctly set up Cloudflare in your DreamHost panel, this is an issue you must correct within your Cloudflare account.
View the following article:
In that article, scroll down to the section titled SSL options in the Cloudflare panel. Follow those directions to log into your Cloudflare panel. You must then set the SSL option to FLEXIBLE.
After changing this option in Cloudflare, your site should immediately resolve using HTTPS.