Ditching Cloudflare for Njalla

· 667 words · 4 minutes

Registrar

Njalla's Registrar Dashboard

After spending a year or so using Cloudflare for DNS only - no proxying or applications - I spent the last few months using Cloudflare Tunnels and Cloudflare Access to protect my self-hosted websites and applications via their proxy traffic model.

However, I have never liked using Cloudflare due to their increasingly large share of control over web traffic, as well as their business model of being a MITM for all of your traffic.

So, as of today, I have switched over to Njalla as my registrar and DNS manager. I was able to easily transfer my domains over rapidly, with only one domain taking more than 15-30 minutes to propagate.

I do still have two domains sitting at Cloudflare for the moment while I decide if they're worth the higher rates (one domain is 30€ and the other is 45€).

Update (2022.06.03): I ended up transferring my final two domains over to Njalla, clearing my Cloudflare account of personal data, and deleting the Cloudflare account entirely. I actually feel relieved to have moved on to a provider I trust.

DNS

Njalla's DNS Settings

As noted above, I'm using Njalla exclusively for DNS configurations on my domains.

However, the transfer process was not ideal. As soon as the domains transferred over, I switched the nameservers from Cloudflare to Njalla and lost most of the associated DNS records. So, the majority of the time spent during the migration was simply re-typing all of the DNS records back in one-by-one.

This would be much simpler if I were able to edit the plain-text format of the DNS configuration. I was able to do that at a past registrar (perhaps it was Gandi.net?) and it made life a lot easier.

Dynamic DNS Updates

I have built an easy Python script to run (or set-up in cron to run automatically) that will check my server's IPv4 and IPv6, compare it to Njalla, and update the DNS records if they don't match. You can see the full script and process in my other post: Updating Dynamic DNS with Njalla API.

I haven't used this other method, but I do know that you can create Dynamic DNS records with Njalla that work for updating dynamic subdomains.

Njalla's DNS Tool

One neat upside to Njalla is that they have a DNS lookup tool that provides a lot of great information for those of you (AKA: me) who hate using the dig command.

This was very useful for monitoring a couple of my transferred domains to see when the changes in nameservers, records, and DNSSEC went into effect.

Njalla's DNS Tool

Tunnel

Cloudflare Tunnel is a service that acts as a reverse-proxy (hosted on Cloudflare's servers) and allowed me to mask the private IP address of the server hosting my various websites and apps.

However, as I was moving away from Cloudflare, I was not able to find a suitable replacement that was both inexpensive and simple. So, I simply went back to hosting my own reverse proxy with Nginx. With the recent additions of Unifi hardware in my server/network rack, I am much more protected against spam and malicious attacks at the network edge than I was before I switched to Cloudflare.

Access

Cloudflare Access, another app I used in combination with Cloudflare Tunnel, provided an authentication screen that required you to enter valid credentials before Cloudflare would forward you to the actual website or app (if the website/app has their own authentication, you'd then have to authenticate a second time).

I did not replace this service with anything since I only host a handful of non-sensitive apps that don't require duplicate authentication.