Google has big ambitions with their new .APP domain extension — notably, their hope to make it one of the most secure namespaces on the web. .APP domain names have just become available to the public, and if you’re interested in building your website on one, you should know that Google requires your website to have an SSL certificate to ensure that information passing between you and your visitors is safely encrypted.
If all that sounds too difficult or expensive to bother with, rest easy. Services like Cloudflare offer free SSL, and even better, it’s much easier to set up than you may expect. We’ll show you how to set up an SSL Certificate through Cloudflare for your snappy-looking .APP website quickly, easily, and most importantly, at no cost to you.
Yes, this setup works for any domain name — not just .APP. And it will let you forward your domain name to your website while keeping your SSL certificate intact.
What Is an SSL Certificate?
The information you send on the Internet — such as usernames and passwords, or credit card details you enter when making a purchase— is passed from computer to computer before reaching a website’s destination server. In its normal state, this information is unencrypted, meaning anyone who manages to intercept it will be able to see it. This is a huge security risk.
But when a website uses an SSL certificate, this information is encrypted as it passes from computer to computer, making it unreadable to everything except the server you’re passing information to. Encrypting in this way ensures that your precious information is safe from identity thieves and other internet lowlifes.
When you visit a website with an SSL certificate, many browsers display a green lock icon or the certificate owner’s name in the address bar, next to the URL. The URL itself should also begin with https:// instead of http://.
How to Get a FREE SSL Certificate with Cloudflare
1. Go to https://www.cloudflare.com/a/sign-up
Enter your email address to sign up for your free Cloudflare account.
2. Type in your .app domain name.
Cloudflare will take a moment to check your domain’s DNS records (the instructions dictating how your domain handles web traffic, email traffic and more). This will allow them to automatically add these records to your domain once you change your name servers. This will save you from having to do it yourself. Hooray for less work!
3. Select the “Free” Plan
4. Check the DNS records Cloudflare found against the records in your UD account
Cloudflare will show you all the DNS records they found for your domain name and ask that you check them for accuracy. Basically, they just want to make sure they haven’t missed any.
The best place to check this is in your United Domains account, so open a new browser tab and head over to UnitedDomains.com.
Once logged in, locate your domain name and click DNS under Settings. From there, scroll down to the section labeled “Custom Resource Records”.
Take a quick look at your DNS records. You don’t need to go over every single record with a fine-toothed comb; just make sure that every record in your account shows up in Cloudflare’s report. CloudFlare may pick up some extra records that don’t show up in your United Domains account, but you can ignore these.
If Cloudflare missed any records, just go over to their results and click “Add Record”. Then copy and paste the missing info from your domain’s records.
Remain logged in to your United Domains account. You’ll need to be for the next step.
5. Update Your Domain With Cloudflare’s Nameservers
Back in your United Domains account, still on the DNS page, scroll up to the Nameservers section at the top of the page and select Other Nameservers. Then just copy/paste each server address into one of the provided spaces as shown, and click Save.
All done! 🎉
Congratulations, you just configured your domain to work with Cloudflare! It may take up to 24 hours after your site becomes active on Cloudflare for your SSL certificate to be activated, so don’t fret if you don’t see it in the meantime.