When to Use a Wildcard SSL Certificate

Everyone with a website knows (or should know) that installing an SSL certificate is essential. Not only will it encrypt the connection between your users’ browsers and your site so that any information they share will be protected, but you’ll also look better in Google’s eyes, too.

Not only is having an SSL an SEO ranking factor, but web browsers, such as Google Chrome, will flash a “not secure” warning to users if they try to visit a website that doesn’t have an SSL, meaning that less people will end up visiting such a site. If ever there was an incentive to get an SSL, it’s that.

But which kind of SSL should you get? There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the different types of SSLs, wildcard SSLs in particular. In this post, we’ll briefly explore the different kinds of SSLs on offer, and when you should choose Wildcard SSL.

The different types of SSL

SSL types can be split into two categories: number of domains and/or subdomains you wish to secure, and the level of validation a Certificate Authority carries out on the person or organization behind a website. The latter is split into three validation levels: domain validation (DV), organization validation (OV), and enterprise validation (EV). However, today, we’ll be focusing on the former types.

When it comes to the number of domains you wish to secure, there are three types of SSL you can choose from:

  • Single-domain SSLs: These are the most appropriate if you just have one domain to secure.
  • Multi-domain SSLs: Choose this when you have more than one domain to secure.
  • Wildcard SSLs: This type of SSL is ideal if you have one main domain and multiple subdomains.

Today we’ll be focusing on number 3: Wildcard SSLs.

The benefits of a Wildcard Certificate

If you have one domain with multiple subdomains linked to it, or if you plan to create one or more subdomains over time, a Wildcard is the perfect option for securing your sites. Whether you use subdomains for hosting a blog, an e-commerce store, email, or if you use it for web development, you can secure it all under one Wildcard SSL.

Wildcard SSLs are particularly handy because you don’t even have to have all your subdomains set up when you activate it. Any subdomains for the site you create later will automatically be secured. The icing on the cake? The number of subdomains you can have is unlimited.

Wildcard SSLs are also beneficial when it comes to cost efficiency and certificate management. If you decide to go down the route of securing the domain and each subdomain with separate single-domain SSLs, not only will it be expensive, but it will be difficult to keep track of expiration dates. With a Wildcard SSL you only pay once, and you only have one SSL certificate to keep track of.

If you have one main domain with multiple subdomains that you need to secure, a Wildcard SSL certificate is the perfect option for you.