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Cannot configure a custom external domain because domain setup defaults to Netlify DNS

I’m trying to add a custom domain for my app at myersmusiclessons.netlify.app and, while configuring DNS for custom name servers, have run into a couple problems:

  • The domain, myersmusiclessons.com, is registered with Cloudflare, which doesn’t allow custom name servers on the free tier. The business tier, which does, is $200/mo, which is outside the scope of this site’s operation.

  • I have followed the steps outlined in the Netlify documentation for configuring external DNS and now my DNS records on Cloudflare are saved as:

    A myersmusiclessons.com
    CNAME www myersmusiclessons.netlify.app

At this stage, there is conflicting information being served on my Netlify dashboard and the domain itself:

  • DNS verification has continued to fail after about 4 hours, with the error message, myersmusiclessons.com doesn't appear to be served by Netlify.

  • The apex/primary domain and www redirect now listed under custom domains show the warning Check DNS configuration with further information indicating that Netlify’s hostnames (in this case, dns1.p02.nsone.net, dns2..., etc.) are not configured with my domain provider’s DNS records.

  • Oddly, the site’s most current build is being served at myersmusiclessons.com.

So, with those last two points, you might say there is no real issue, but I’d like some clarification as to why the Netlify dashboard is still not able to verify the DNS records. I assumed this might be because I initially setup the domain with the intention to use Netlify’s DNS, and so chose that option. However, since that isn’t possible and I’ve now made the changes to the records to facilitate serving a domain using external DNS, do I need to indicate somewhere else that I no longer wish to use Netlify’s DNS?

If so, how?

Thanks for any help.

Hi @kylewb94 :wave:

Hi there! Welcome to the Netlify Forums!

I just want to check and make sure you have seen this guide. We’ve created this DNS Quickstart guide for this very purpose - to get you up and running as quickly as possible. It is different than the doc that you linked above.

Please take a look - we have many resources listed at the bottom, too. And, there are tons of DNS questions you can access through our search! If your problem still persists after reading through all relevant guides, please post again and we will troubleshoot with you.

Let us know if this helps!

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Hi @hillary,

Thanks for your reply. Per @laura’s response to Can I host my site on Netlify but keep my DNS at my domain registrar?, I’ve determined that I need to remove the DNS zone created for my domain when I first added it.

Having done that, it’s still throwing an error when attempting to verify DNS. For the moment, this may be because I only just made the change. I will check back in after a while to confirm if this was successful.


Hi there, @kylewb94 :netlisparkles:

You’re right, sometimes it can take a bit. I will keep my eyes peeled for a response to see if this ends up being successful!

@kylewb94 When using Cloudflare, you must turn off Cloudflare protections. That is, click on the orange cloud to turn it into a gray cloud.

Your DNS entries may be correct, but your server still shows as Cloudflare.

|===================== curl check for server ====================
| ---------------------- should be Netlify ----------------------
| -------------------- myersmusiclessons.com --------------------
< Server: cloudflare
| ------------------ www.myersmusiclessons.com ------------------
< Server: cloudflare

Interesting @gregraven, Netlify was able to verify DNS by removing Cloudflare’s proxy status, but the site is no longer showing as secure. That is, the SSL I have served through Cloudflare to this domain for many years now isn’t being served.

Am I meant to install my Cloudflare SSL manually? This would mean I would have to reenter this information year after year, as described in the Netlify documentation.

Thanks for your reply.

Edit: Solved.

I created a Origin CA certificate through cloudflare that lasts for 15 years and updated Netlify accordingly. The site is running securely now. Thank you @gregraven and @hillary :+1:

Excellent. Thanks for the update. You might also have been able to provision a free SSL through the Netlify dashboard for the domain settings fo that site.

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Hi @gregraven,

Upon shifting some things around this morning, I’m seeing that myersmusiclessons.com is no longer being served securely, despite adding a custom Origin CA certificate through Cloudflare.

Per a solution posted to Cloudflare’s community forums, I’ve determined that disabling Cloudflare’s proxy status also disables its ability to serve an SSL.

Is there no way to utilize Cloudflare’s external DNS without disabling its proxy status, so that I can then also serve a Cloudflare SSL?

Side note: I suppose at this point, I should just embrace Let’s Encrypt. I’ve never liked that Cloudflare doesn’t fully encrypt to the server in its free tier and I use Let’s Encrypt for just about everything else. This is the only domain I have registered through/tranferred to Cloudflare and the one-stop-shop approach was enticing. Oh well.

Cloudflare is still great for traditional hosting, but Netlify in a way is disrupting traditional hosting, which sometimes obviates the need for Cloudflare protections. I have Cloudflare protecting each of my WordPress and PHP-driven sites, for example.

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