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  • 18 Jun 2024

Comprehensive Guide to Domain Forwarding with Cloudflare

Domain forwarding is an essential aspect of managing web traffic, enabling you to redirect visitors from one domain to another seamlessly. Cloudflare, a leading web performance and security company, offers robust domain forwarding features that make it easy to manage and optimize your web traffic. This guide will explore the ins and outs of domain forwarding using Cloudflare, including its benefits, setup process, and best practices.

What is Domain Forwarding?

Domain forwarding, also known as domain redirection, is the process of redirecting traffic from one domain to another. This is useful in various scenarios, such as:

  • Migrating to a new domain.
  • Redirecting traffic from old domains to new ones.
  • Simplifying URLs for marketing campaigns.
  • Managing multiple domains pointing to a single website.

Domain forwarding ensures that visitors and search engines are directed to the correct location, maintaining a seamless user experience and preserving SEO value.

Benefits of Using Cloudflare for Domain Forwarding

Using Cloudflare for domain forwarding offers several advantages:

  • Improved Performance: Cloudflare’s global network ensures fast and reliable redirection, reducing latency.
  • Enhanced Security: Cloudflare provides robust security features, including SSL/TLS encryption and DDoS protection, to secure your redirects.
  • Ease of Management: Cloudflare’s user-friendly dashboard makes it simple to set up and manage domain forwarding rules.
  • SEO Benefits: Properly configured redirects help maintain SEO rankings and avoid broken links.

Setting Up Domain Forwarding with Cloudflare

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up domain forwarding using Cloudflare:

Step 1: Create a Cloudflare Account

If you don’t already have a Cloudflare account, sign up at Cloudflare. Once you’ve created an account, add your domain to Cloudflare by following the prompts to update your domain’s DNS settings.

Step 2: Access the Page Rules Section

After adding your domain to Cloudflare, navigate to the “Page Rules” section in your Cloudflare dashboard. Page Rules allow you to create specific behaviors for your domain, including domain forwarding.

Step 3: Create a New Page Rule

Click on “Create Page Rule” to start setting up your domain forwarding rule. Enter the URL pattern you want to forward in the “If the URL matches” field. For example, if you want to redirect all traffic from olddomain.com to newdomain.com, you would enter http://olddomain.com/*.

Step 4: Configure the Forwarding Rule

In the “Then the settings are” drop-down menu, select “Forwarding URL.” Choose the type of redirect you want to use (301 or 302), and then enter the destination URL. For instance, to redirect to https://newdomain.com, enter this URL in the field provided.

Step 5: Save and Deploy the Rule

Click “Save and Deploy” to activate your domain forwarding rule. Cloudflare will now handle the redirection according to the parameters you set.

Best Practices for Domain Forwarding with Cloudflare

To ensure optimal performance and maintain SEO integrity, follow these best practices:

1. Use the Correct Redirect Type

  • 301 Redirect: Use for permanent domain changes to signal to search engines that the domain has moved permanently. This helps preserve SEO rankings.
  • 302 Redirect: Use for temporary domain changes when you intend to revert to the original domain in the future.

2. Monitor and Test Redirects

Regularly monitor and test your redirects to ensure they are working correctly. Use tools like Google Search Console and SEO auditing tools to check for any issues.

3. Keep Page Rules Organized

Cloudflare allows you to create multiple Page Rules. Keep your rules organized and document the purpose of each rule to avoid conflicts and ensure easy management.

4. Leverage Wildcards for Flexibility

Using wildcards in your URL patterns can simplify your redirection setup. For example, http://olddomain.com/* will redirect all URLs under olddomain.com to the specified new URL.

5. Secure Your Redirects

Ensure your redirects are secure by enabling SSL/TLS encryption on both the source and destination URLs. Cloudflare’s free SSL/TLS certificates make this easy to implement.

6. Avoid redirecting Chains

Redirect chains occur when one URL redirects to another URL, which then redirects to another. This can slow down page loading times and negatively impact SEO. Aim to minimize the number of redirects in a chain.

7. Update Internal Links

After setting up your redirects, update any internal links on your website to point directly to the new URLs. This reduces the reliance on redirects and improves user experience.

8. Utilize Cloudflare’s Analytics

Leverage Cloudflare’s analytics tools to monitor the performance of your redirects. This will help you identify any issues and ensure that your redirections are working as intended.

Common Use Cases for Domain Forwarding

1. Website Migration

When moving your website to a new domain, domain forwarding ensures that visitors and search engines are redirected to the new location. This helps maintain SEO rankings and provides a seamless transition for users.

2. Rebranding

If your business undergoes a rebranding and you change your domain name, domain forwarding can redirect traffic from the old domain to the new one, ensuring that you don’t lose any visitors.

3. Managing Multiple Domains

If you own multiple domains that you want to point to a single website, domain forwarding can consolidate traffic and make management easier.

4. Marketing Campaigns

Domain forwarding can simplify URLs for marketing campaigns, making them easier to remember and share.

5. Regional Redirects

Redirect visitors based on their geographic location to region-specific domains or pages, providing a localized experience.


Domain forwarding is a powerful tool for managing web traffic and ensuring that visitors reach the right content. Cloudflare’s domain forwarding features provide a robust solution for setting up and managing redirects efficiently. By following the steps outlined in this guide and adhering to best practices, you can ensure that your domain forwarding is optimized for performance, security, and SEO benefits.

Whether you are migrating to a new domain, rebranding, or simply managing multiple domains, Cloudflare’s domain forwarding capabilities provide a seamless and effective way to handle your web traffic. Implement these strategies to enhance your website’s performance and ensure a smooth user experience for your visitors.

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