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I am thinking of signing up with cloud flare, but since i'm not very familiar with the technical side of things, I wanted to ask here first.

How safe is it to sign up with services, like cloud flare?

Do they ultimately own my domain? Are they able to take away control of my domain?

The way I see it, I transfer ownership of my domain to them, and they will also appear as owners in whois. Is this how it works? I'm confused.

Note, I am not asking how reputable cloud flare is, but rather how it works, and if they are technically able to snatch my domain.

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Just in case it wasn't 100% clear you do not transfer ownership to cloudflare, you can pull it away from them whenever you want –  CodeMonkey Apr 18 '13 at 9:28
    
thank you got it! –  user1721135 Apr 18 '13 at 11:05

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The short answer is that Cloudflare is safe. Cloudflare is essentially nothing more than a content delivery network (CDN). The theory behind it is that they will cache copies of your website to their servers, which are spread across different locations. When a visitor visits your site the server that is closest to them is chosen and the connection has less distance to travel, hence speeding up the load times. It will also attempt to serve a cached copy of your site if it ever goes down for some reason.

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Also, you do have to change your DNS entries to point to the cloudflare servers, but you don't have to change your domain registrar, so you retain actual control over your domain name –  Jonathan May 2 at 19:19

"Do they ultimately own my domain? Are they able to take away control of my domain?"

No, because CloudFlare is not a registrar. The only thing you are changing is the authoritative nameservers for the domain. None of the information changes in whois outside of our nameservers showing.

Including some other helpful tips if you're signing up.

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I don't use CloudFlare, but in general you can answer the question of a service 'taking over' your domain by determining whether you have to transfer your domain from your registrar to the service provider. That is the only way (aside from someone hacking your account) that someone can get your domain. If your domain is locked, then it cannot be transferred to another owner or registrar.

The Wikipedia article on Cloudflare states that they are a CDN and DNS service provider, so it appears that using the service only requires changing the DNS server for your domain, which, technically, could not be used to 'snatch' your domain.

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