Did you come across Wildcard SSL certificate while looking for an SSL certificate? Not sure what it means and what it does? Well, if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place at the right time.
In this blog post, we’ll dive into Wildcard SSL certificates to give you a clear idea of what they’re, what they do and how they work. What are we waiting for? Let’s get under the hood of Wildcard SSL certificates.
What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?
A Wildcard SSL certificate is a digital certificate that secures both a primary website domain and all of its first-level subdomains. A subdomain is an extension of the main domain, such as blog.yourdomainname.com or store.yourdomainname.com. However, it wouldn’t secure other FQDNs (fully qualified domain names) such as yourdomainame.net and yourdomainname.store.
Wildcard SSL certificates are issued to a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), including the main domain and its subdomains. The main domain and its subdomains are covered under a single certificate, meaning you can secure all your websites with just one certificate.
Why Choose a Wildcard SSL Certificate?
As we saw in the previous section, a Wildcard SSL certificate encrypts and authenticates multiple sub-domains along with the main domain. This is the characteristic that separates it from single-domain certificates.
Thanks to this uniqueness, Wildcard SSL certificates bring three major advantages that make it a great choice for a website with multiple sub-domains. Here are they:
- Ease of Management: Unfortunately, SSL certificates aren’t ‘set it and forget it’ kind of security technology. They involve sensitive files such as certificate file, intermediate certificate and private key. You’re likely to need them in future even if you’ve installed them on your server.
If there was a world without a Wildcard SSL certificate, you’d need to manage one certificate for each of the sub-domain you have. Imagine managing a website with hundreds of sub-domains, what a nightmare!
With Wildcard SSL certificates, you only manage one certificate. Thus, you won’t need to manage their storage or assign them to many people.
- Less Security Exposure: An SSL certificate encrypts the data between the users and web servers using its private key. This means a cyber perpetrator can intercept and alter the information if they get their hands on the private key. There have been many incidents where sensitive data got leaked due to a compromise in the private keys.
With a Wildcard SSL certificate, you will need to manage only one private key. Although you’ll need to store it securely on your server, it is much less of a risk than having hundreds of private keys.
- Saves Money: The most obvious benefit of a Wildcard SSL certificate is the amount of money it helps you save. As you’re only purchasing one SSL certificate, the certificate authority (CA) only has to conduct the verification process once. This reduces the cost massively as compared to purchasing multiple single-domain certificates.
- Secures Unlimited Sub-Domains: A Wildcard SSL certificate can secure an unlimited number of sub-domains. Even if you don’t have many sub-domains on your site currently, you can add them later with your current Wildcard SSL certificate.
What are the Types of Wildcard SSL Certificates?
Generally, SSL certificates are categorized into three main types: domain validation (DV) certificates, organization validation (OV) certificates and extended validation (EV) certificates. However, as far as Wildcard SSL certificates are concerned, we have only two types: DV and OV.
In order to issue a DV Wildcard SSL certificate, you will need to prove your domain ownership to the certificate authority. This is an entirely automated process and can be completed within a few minutes.
OV SSL certificates, on the other hand, involve a deeper vetting process. The certificate authority (CA) will verify the legitimacy of your organization to ensure that it’s not issued to any fraudulent entity.
How does Wildcard SSL work?
The process to issue a Wildcard SSL certificate is the same as issuing a single-domain SSL certificate. However, the key difference lies in the certificate signing request (CSR) process. Let’s see this process step-by-step.
Step 1: Purchase a Wildcard SSL Certificate
The first step is to purchase a Wildcard SSL certificate from a reputed certificate authority (CA).
Step 2: Generate a CSR (certificate signing request)
After making the purchase, the next step is to generate a CSR that will give CA the information about your domain and organization. As this is a Wildcard SSL certificate, you will need to put an asterisk before your domain name (*.yourdomain. com).
Step 3: Complete the Verification
Once the CA has received your CSR, it will initiate the vetting process. It will depend on the type of Wildcard SSL certificate you want to issue – DV or OV. The former will get over within minutes while the latter will take 1-3 days.
Step 4: Download the SSL Certificate
Once your domain or organizational information is successfully vetted, the CA will send you your certificate via email. You will need to download the certificate files before you move on to the installation part.
Step 5: Install the SSL Certificate
The final step to get your website SSL encrypted is to install it on your server. The installation process will depend on the server you’re using.
Wildcard SSL Certificates: An Obvious Solution for Multiple Sub-Domains
Many people have great deal of misconceptions when it comes to Wildcard SSL certificates. We hope we’ve cleared up some of them (if you had any). If you have a website with multiple sub-domains, then Wildcard SSL certificate could be an ideal solution for you. We provide cheap wildcard ssl. So, what are you waiting for? Find a Wildcard SSL certificate and secure your website today! If you need other kinds of certificates then we also provide various cheap ssl.