CloudFlare is a free CDN service that includes a feature that completely masks your real host, making it perfect for PBN’s. It allows you to put unlimited sites on a single host without anyone knowing they are on the same host – except for you.
I’ve been using it for over 6 months without any issues. And recently, I’ve been getting questions from friends about how they can use it and whether or not it is safe.
The main two questions I receive are…
Does it leave a footprint?
Every website will have nameservers and an IP address that is owned by CloudFlare. But this is good thing. More than 2 million websites use CloudFlare, so while this gives you footprints, you are hiding behind the numbers.
Unlike SEO hosting, Google can’t just hit every single customer because they are all used for PBN’s. Most websites using CloudFlare are using it for the increased loading times their CDN/caching services provide, or maybe even the DDoS protection it offers. We are just a tiny subset of users.
Now there is still one footprint you can leave that will allow anyone to find out every single website you own, but we will cover how to cover this later in the article.
How does it work?
CloudFlare has a reverse proxy feature that hides your web-host/server behind an IP address that they own. If you do it right, nobody will be able to figure out which host you actually use.
The basics of this are, CloudFlare own thousands of IP addresses that will visit your website, download all the content, and display it on their servers. This will mess with your Analytics, but that shouldn’t be an issue for your PBN sites, if it is, there is a way of setting it up still.
To do this, you will have to point your domain at their servers by setting the nameservers, and you need to give them the IP address of where they can find the actual website.
To understand the footprints and how it works, your best bet is to follow the process of setting it up…
How to Setup CloudFlare
Registration is very simple, enter an email address relevant to the domain you want to setup. Don’t worry about the email actually being setup, you do not need to verify it. The username has to be unique for your account but isn’t important for logging in. I usually just use whatever the domain is, for example ‘lionzeal’.
Next you add the website you want to add, again very simple:
Then this video comes up that you cannot skip. Pause it and wait for the countdown to finish below the video. When it does, click the continue button:
Now you will see a list of DNS records. These will vary for every website depending on how you have it setup, or which registrar you use. Here is what I see for this site:
The only ones that matter here are ‘lionzeal.com’ or whatever domain you are setting up, and ‘www’. Everything else should be removed to eliminate footprints, otherwise anyone could still see which service or server you use for your email still.
Click the little cogs and hit delete to remove any of the records:
And now you need to get the IP address of the new server you plan on using. If you use a cPanel host, login to the panel and have a look down the sidebar for ‘Shared IP Address’ as shown below:
Now, you can click the cog as before, for the remaining two records (domain & www) and replace the IP address in the ‘Value’ column to the one you just copied.
I’m not going to be actually setting this up, but if I were, it would look like this:
All you need to do now is click the “I’ve added all missing records, continue” button to save these settings. Ignore the red warning box about email, we don’t need this setup as these are only PBN sites.
Select the ‘Free’ plan, absolutely no need to pay for anything here. And when you click the Continue button, you’ll be given your nameservers to use:
You’ll need to set those nameservers up with your registrar as soon as you want it to work. You can either do that straight away, or just keep a note of the nameservers then click the “I’ve updated my nameservers, continue” button.
The footprint of using CloudFlare will always be there. This is not risky because over 2 million other websites also use it, I would suggest not over-using it though. Presuming there are a billion websites in the world, CloudFlare is only used by about 0.2% of them. You will want to at least take this into consideration when hosting your entire network.
If you only have 10 sites, it’s not likely that them all using the same host would be an issue, but for larger networks, if 50% of the websites linking to you are on a hosting service that only 0.2% of the websites on the internet use, you can see that as being a bit of a footprint.
With that said, I personally use CloudFlare on about 25% of my network alongside a number of various web hosts. It’s unlikely this will ever be an issue as only a small number of PBN sites are used for linking to any particular website.
Every account is given unique combination of nameservers when they register. This is in the form of names, so the example above we got:
Each time you register, you are automatically assigned a random name out of a list for each one. Other websites are using cleo.ns.cloudflare.com as a nameserver. And many websites are using marge.ns.cloudflare.com as a nameserver. But not many will be using the exact same combination.
You can see this here: https://who.is/nameserver/cleo.ns.cloudflare.com/
There are a lot of websites using this same nameserver, but if we look at a whois lookup of some of those sites e.g. https://who.is/whois/havocgamers.net/, you’ll see their secondary nameserver is kiki.ns.cloudflare.com. If you check a few of these, you will see every website has unique combinations.
It is really easy to get a unique combination for each of your websites. All you need to do is create a new account for every domain you want to setup. This is why we use an email address relevant to the domain on registration.
Non-Protected DNS Records
This was already covered in the setup process, but make sure to remove any DNS records that are not the domain or WWW, these will leave footprints.
Another thing to make sure is that the records you leave are using CloudFlare, this is shown with an orange cloud under the ‘Active’ tab. If you see a grey cloud, make sure to click it to activate it.
Example of what to look for below:
Train Your VA’s to do it for you
Who has time to do all this? I did it a couple times for 1 or 2 sites, but when you buy 50+ domains in bulk, it is way too much work.
Instead, I created this little worksheet for my VA’s to work from:
Works very simple, you give them the IP address to use and they signup and take note of the registration information. I personally do not give them access to my registrar accounts, meaning I need to change the nameservers manually, but this only takes a few minutes.
To train your VA’s how to do this, you can send them to this post, copy the important parts into a PDF document, or record a video of yourself doing it. I personally do the latter, but that’s because it is quicker, the step-by-step part is already done for you in this post.
That’s about all there is, it’s very simple to outsource. You can download the worksheet free, to save yourself re-creating it, by entering your email address below:
Download the CloudFlare Worksheet
Should you use CloudFlare?
It is free to use, takes minutes to setup, and allows you to make things easy for yourself by hosting several websites on a single web host. You should definitely be using it for a portion of your network, just don’t over do it. For hosting the rest, I recommend reading the PBN hosting guide.
What do you guys think? If you have any additional questions I have missed out, go ahead and leave a comment below.