You might have had this issue before; you move from a Cloudflare SaaS provider such as GoDaddy or Siteground to another provider and want to utilize Cloudflare for your DNS service. You add your domain name to Cloudflare and update your nameservers, but your website doesn’t seem to be pointed to your new provider. Instead, it’s still pointing to your old provider. You double-check the name servers and even check the DNS records, which all point to Cloudflare. What gives?
Cloudflare SaaS and Custom Hostnames
Cloudflare has a service for SaaS companies that allows them to take over a domain name on Cloudflare and adjust DNS, security and other settings. As a client of the SaaS company, they just need to update their DNS records, they don’t need to change your nameservers at all. Once their DNS is updated, a zone is created at Cloudflare and the SaaS company can manage all the settings for the domain.
Moving Away from the SaaS Company
When the client wants to move away from the SaaS company, the SaaS company has to go through a process to release the domain. Most of the time, clients will move ahead of cancelling with the SaaS company so as not to interrupt their website. Unfortunately, if you move to a free or paid Cloudflare account, your domain is still under the SaaS company’s control.
How to identify a Cloudflare SaaS Domain
There is no easy way to identify a domain name that has been added to a Cloudflare SaaS account. Cloudflare doesn’t even tell you of this fact at all when you create a new account. You can, however test to see if your domain name is connected to a Cloudflare SaaS provider. Enable a page rule to redirect all traffic to another website; if the rule doesn’t work, then your domain is under a Cloudflare SaaS provider.
Releasing a Domain Name from a Cloudflare SaaS Provider
There are two ways to release a domain name from a Cloudflare SaaS provider.
- You can contact the Cloudflare SaaS provider and ask them to release your domain name.
- If the above fails, you can reach out to Cloudflare support. If you have a free account, this isn’t available. If you have a pro account, expect to wait some time.
- If all else fails, you can use this website to release the domain https://liberate-the-hostname.pages.dev/
The following forum post on the Cloudflare community forum covers the whole situation and the above fixes.