I started this thread by asking the question:
Are all DreamHost customers who have a free CloudFlare subscription being blocked from adding free SSL signed certificates from Let’s Encrypt to their account?
After much research on DreamHost’s and CloudFlares’s websites I have come to the conclusion that the answer to my questions is:
YES if they signed up for CloudFlare’s services through the DreamHost control panel.
CloudFlare claims they put a lot of effort into working individually with many web hosting companies to add the option of signing up for CloudFlare services through the web hosting company’s customer control panel. For many but not all of those web hosting companies there is now some sort of technical glitch or conflict that prevents customers from having both a free CloudFlare account and a signed SSL certificate. DreamHost is one of the web hosting companies affected by the problem.
Advice on the CloudFlare website support pages seems to range from “be patient, we are trying to fix the problem” to “it is impossible, this problem will never be fixed”.
The solution for DreamHost customers is to cancel your free CloudFlare service in the DreamHost control panel (remove the checkmark from the little box). Then sign up for the free CloudFlare service directly on the CloudFlare website.
You will need to use a different email account on the CloudFlare website to create your new login and password. The whole process of signing up on the CloudFlare website and then changing your whois nameservers on the DreamHost website will be scary because of all of the warnings you will see.
Both DreamHost and CloudFlare offer free SSL certificates from other companies. From what I read on the CloudFlare website the best choice is to sign up for the free signed SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt in the DreamHost control panel. Any certificate offered by DreamHost will encrypt the full communication path from DreamHost’s servers to CloudFlare’s servers to the computer of the visitor to your website. The Universal SSL certificates offered by CloudFlare do not encrypt the link between DreamHost and CloudFlare. They only encrypt the link from CloudFlare’s servers to the computer of the visitor to your website.
In post #3 of this thread I mentioned that I submitted a ticket to DreamHost support. I waited a full day after I started this forum thread before submitting the support ticket. I received an initial reply from DreamHost support saying that my request for assistance was being forwarded to the best qualified person for this issue. Well I guess the best qualified DreamHost staff member does not exist, is on vacation, or too busy. I never received any further communications from DreamHost support.
On the DreamHost control panel under the topic of support was my ticket with a digital clock and a little checkbox. I watched the digital clock count up to 5 days and at least 5 hours before I finally clicked the little checkbox to withdraw my request for assistance. I was expecting the digital clock would probably stop or disappear and the status of my support ticket request would change from waiting (or pending) to cancelled (or withdrawn). Instead I was caught totally by surprise when my support ticket was purged from the system. It completely disappeared! There was no evidence left anywhere that I had requested assistance from DreamHost support.
I am currently waiting out the 72 hours recommended by CloudFlare. I do not know if I did everything right but hopefully this thread might help other DreamHost customers.
minus40.info ~ My main website for which I have tried implementing the above changes.
packsack.info ~ A new website I just started applying the above suggestions.