Cloudflare with SSL overview

Cloudflare offers several options to enable SSL within the panel. This article is an overview of how to enable SSL for a Cloudflare-enabled domain.

When setting up Secure Hosting with your Cloudflare account, you’ll notice a few different available options. The following sections detail these options. View the following article from Cloudflare for more information:

Selecting a Cloudflare plan

  • The first step to setting up SSL on your domain using Cloudflare is to add a Cloudflare plan to the domain. Both FREE and Plus plans work with an SSL certificate.
  • It’s also currently not possible to add Cloudflare to a dreamhosters.com subdomain.

View the following article to add a Cloudflare plan to your domain.

SSL options in the Cloudflare panel

Once you create a Cloudflare plan, use your newly-created login credentials to log in to the Cloudflare panel:

  1. Go to https://dash.cloudflare.com and log in.
    On the overview page, your domains are listed along with what type of plan you're using:
    CloudFlare panel overview.png
  2. Click your domain to alter its settings.
  3. Click the Crypto button at the top to adjust the security settings.
    If you've enabled the paid Cloudflare plan in the DreamHost panel, 'Flexible SSL' is selected by default:
    05 CloudFlare with SSL CF panel options.fw.png
  4. Select an SSL option from the dropdown to the right of the SSL section:
    • Off
    • Flexible SSL
    • Full SSL
    • Full SSL (Strict)

The only option you should use is 'Full SSL (Strict)' with a professionally-signed or 'Let's Encrypt' certificate.

Any other choice is not fully secure.

An explanation of the plans is mentioned below, but you can also view further information by visiting the Cloudflare support page.

Flexible SSL — (only if you do not have an SSL certificate)

  • DO NOT use this option if you have added an SSL certificate to your domain.
  • The connection between the user and Cloudflare is secure, but the connection between DreamHost and Cloudflare is not encrypted.
  • This is the default setting for your domain when you add a FREE Cloudflare plan to your domain without an SSL certificate.
  • This setting is NOT recommended if you have any sensitive information on your website.
  • View Cloudflare's blog post about this Universal SSL option.
  • This setting does not require you to purchase an SSL certificate, therefore it is a last resort option.

It's possible you may see an infinite redirect loop on your site when enabling 'Flexible SSL'. View the following page for details on what may be the cause of this error:

Full SSL — (only for self-signed certificates)

  • ONLY use this option if you have a self-signed certificate.
  • The connection between the user and Cloudflare is secure. The connection between Cloudflare and DreamHost is secure, but not authenticated.
  • Your visitors will see HTTPS and a secure padlock in their browser.
  • You must have at least a self-signed certificate installed.
  • Cloudflare does not verify the authenticity of the certificate you installed.

Full SSL (Strict) — (for valid SSL certificates)

Only a professionally-signed or 'Let's Encrypt' certificate will work with Cloudflare’s Full SSL (Strict) setup. 

See also

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Article last updated PST.