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[New feature] Cloudflare for all

I think a tutorial will be in order, for sure.

This project is just one major milestone on a long performance road. We started implementing it at the beginning of the year, and every step gave us cause to look at our existing network to identify how we could improve it to better serve our customers.

You can see this in the performance metrics from status.bubble.io. On the day we moved our main website to Cloudflare (aka the bubble.io rollout), our own latency was cut in half:

Without getting too technical, having Cloudflare as our edge network will give us the opportunity to make major improvements to our infrastructure transparently to our users.

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Thanks, @peterj! Yes indeed, I feel the need for speed, and that’s my new crede, so your words I will heed without the need to breed, bleed, or smoke weed as I ride my steed…whateva… :crazy_face:

Ok, serious question now…

Just to make sure I’m crystal clear on this. I have registered a domain with a registrar but have NOT yet set it up in Bubble. Is my understanding correct that my registrar does NOT need to support ANAME or ALIAS records in that case?

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@peterj

This is great to hear! We have been waiting for formal Cloudflare support for quite some time as it’s critical for our apps. Can you speak to the process for us folks running on a dedicated instance who are already using Cloudflare? I know it’s a few weeks out but is there anything we can do to be planning for this change? Are there any changes in functionality that we should be aware of?

Thanks!

The big difference between people already running with a custom domain on Bubble and those who haven’t yet is that the former will have existing records, bookmarks, publicity materials, … with their bare domain listed. We don’t want to force our customers to reprint their business cards because our platform changed.

It’s common to use either a bare domain or www (not both) for branding purposes, and have the other redirect to your main address. That way, all links are canonical (for bookmarks, SEO, etc.). When you type “google.com” in your browser, you get redirected to “www.google.com”. By contrast, when you type “www.twitter.com”, you get redirected to “twitter.com”.

In the past, we stripped the www off customer domains, and gave out A records to everyone. So if you chose the domain “mycoolapp.com” and tried to set the domain as “www.mycoolapp.com”, we would redirect that to “mycoolapp.com”.

With this change, it will be easier to use an address of the form “www.example.com” because every DNS provider supports CNAMEs of the type we described. Since you haven’t yet configured your domain with your Bubble app, we recommend you plan to go with www once you’re ready to go live. You’ll still probably want some record for your bare domain, but that can often be redirected to www without using an ALIAS/ANAME at all.

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That’s exactly the behavior I DO want.

That’s exactly what I DON’T want. I want the opposite - i.e. what you apparently USED to do and what I’ve done with all my domains in the past.

So, the question is, can I do it the way I want? You said you “recommend” the other way, but I feel very strongly, for branding and other reasons, about using the bare domain. Is that possible when I’m ready to set up my domain?

(In my mind, “www” is superfluous and just necessitates additional letters and space everywhere it appears. I don’t want it. It’s so…1990’s.)

EDIT: And besides, every time I say the letter “w” three times in a row, I sound like a babbling idiot. :wink:

EDIT 2: I don’t mean to harp on this too much, but it’s important to me that what appears in the address bar does NOT have “www”, so redirecting from the bare domain to “www” is not an option.

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Thanks @peterj for the detailed information, this is a major step and great news, I’ve been following up with bubble team regarding the cloudflare integration since early this year.

I have a question, how this feature will play out for SAAS apps that want to allow their customers to CNAME the app? so when you visit our customer domain will see our app.

See:

@peterj will this feature support any possible European servers bubble might have?

I understand your concerns. When these changes go live, you’ll be free to choose whichever option you prefer, but you may have to move your nameservers to a different DNS provider to find ALIAS/ANAME support.

A major weakness of using A records for websites with a global presence is that A records are fixed in place. If my server example.com is located at 123.456.78.90, which (let’s pretend) is an IP attached to a server in Virginia, no matter where my customers are located they will always be directed to the server in Virginia.

If instead I configure my site to CNAME www.example.com to server.example.com, then when a customer navigates to my website, my DNS servers can intelligently route them to the closest instance of server transparently.

So there are very real advantages to using CNAMEs. ALIAS/ANAME records are mostly a convenience layer over A records, and have most of the same weaknesses as A records.

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We know the steps that will need to happen for dedicated support, and dedicated will be easier in some ways and harder in others.

We will need to register your domain with Cloudflare in advance, and arrange for what is called “domain validation” using a different mechanism than we’re using for non-dedicated customers. As each domain is safely validated, you will be able to update your domain records and the traffic should start running through the Cloudflare network seamlessly.

If you’re running multiple apps (each with a custom domain) on a dedicated instance, we should have no issues switching them over one at a time. Everything else that your instance needs to function should just work, as well. (For instance, login, API workflows, …)

There are other network upgrades that we plan to tend to in time, but these will happen independent of the Cloudflare upgrade.

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This upgrade is a necessary step in the roadmap towards geographically distributed servers. I can’t speak to that timeline, unfortunately.

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We’re aware of the demand for better whitelabel support, and this feature will help make that possible, but there are other changes we will have to make to get whitelabeling to a place that is satisfying for everybody.

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If my app needs to scale and I decide to upgrade the plan to dedicated (from personal or professional), will that process be seamless? A big part of the appeal of the Bubble platform for me is not having to worry about the technical details associated with “scaling”. Will this be a simple option in my app or account settings?

So you’re saying that using “www” on the Bubble platform will have advantages as the app grows?

Short answer, yes. You’ll get the most out of Cloudflare + Bubble, both initially and as your app scales by using CNAMEs (whether that is via bare domain CNAME flattening using Cloudflare as your DNS provider or via www) than by using a ALIAS/ANAME setup.

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@peterj So you are forced now to use www. for the best performance? I don’t get it, twitter does not use www. and certainly has global servers with good performance.

bubble.io does not even seem to use www. so what’s up with that?

Also, would this update interfere with this implementation for “pretty” dynamic URL’s?

And would it allow support for “pretty” dynamic URLs natively?

Thanks for answering questions here.

I’m going to split this response into two parts, technical and practical:

Technical

Twitter runs their own network backbone that superficially resembles Cloudflare’s. They use a technology called “AnyCast” that allows an A record (like 104.244.42.1) to resolve to whatever server is closest to the user. A European user’s computer will think this address is located in Europe, while a US user will think it’s in the US.

Bubble’s not big enough for this… yet. So we use Cloudflare. :slight_smile:

When deciding between www.bubble.io and bubble.io, we had to take many factors into consideration. Since Cloudflare supports AnyCast and bare domain CNAME records, it was technically easier for us to keep the domain as close as possible to our internal servers and our customers were using already.

If you’re familiar with regular expressions, the simplified version of this transition has been little more than changing this

if (/^bubble\.is$/.test(url)) {...}

to this

if (/^bubble\.i[so]$/.test(url)) {...}
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On one of my apps - it is now saying I haven’t configured my DNS correctly for my custom domain but I haven’t changed anything. Is this supposed to require us to change all our apps?

If so this is a breaking change?

Thanks
Simon

Something screwy going on here

Practical

This whole conversation has been very helpful, because it’s got me thinking about what we can do to make this transition a net positive for everyone. Faster loads, easier configurations, less time waiting for help with your configuration, etc.

In particular, since most registrars support bare-domain to www redirects (the equivalent of writing a very short .htaccess rule), most users across bubble won’t even need to concern themselves with ALIAS record types. The challenge here is, how do we most effectively communicate this to the Bubble community?

We also knew there would be demand for bare domain records of the type you desire, which is why we have come up with the options we have to support users like you and @sudsy. But since ALIAS and ANAME records are so uncommon, and bare domains only support A records for reasons that go back to the dawn of time, the question we need to answer here is how can we effectively serve your needs, too?

The best solution I have right now for you is, when the time comes, move your DNS to Cloudflare’s free tier. They have the best user interface for these things I’ve seen, and they have hacked DNS in a way that works how most internet users expect.

Is there any chance you can provide a quick 5 minute video walkthrough? Or step by step guide?

I’d also like the bare name domain. So what I’m understanding is that I have to transfer DNS to Cloudflare?

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