Can we run SlickStack without using Cloudflare?
Yes you can. As of December 2019 we now support Let’s Encrypt (Certbot), as a backup SSL option instead of self-signed OpenSSL (which must be paired with Cloudflare to load properly).
However the idea here is that Let’s Encrypt is a “backup” SSL option, to ensure that SlickStack does not fully rely on a third party service for survival. The idea is that if you need to briefly disable Cloudflare for testing purposes, etc then you can use Let’s Encrypt instead for a short while.
We understand that some people might appreciate the Cloudflare features but simply don’t trust them for political or privacy reasons, etc… but frankly the benefits are so great right now in terms of DNS performance (#1 DNS speed in the world, and largest DNS network in the world) that it makes more sense to use Cloudflare than not use them. They are a US based company meaning security and ethics are very high, and enforceable in the various court systems in the US.
If you want to use a different CDN provider like AWS Cloudfront or StackPath etc you can still actually do that even with Cloudflare activated. So there are very few reasons not to use Cloudflare these days, esp. with the free DDOS and brute force firewall protection, free CDN service for static files etc… if you have specific technical suggestions, please open an Issue on our GitHub repo or start a topic thread in our free Spectrum chat room with your opinions and suggestions.