How to Install a Wildcard SSL Certificate on NGINX Server?

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How to Install a Wildcard SSL certificate on NGINX

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install Wildcard SSL Certificate on Nginx Server

A Wildcard SSL certificate is subdomain SSL wherein you receive paramount security for your subdomains. It is a single certificate that comes with a Wildcard (*) character. Thus, it safeguards your chief domain and its subdomains against a variety of cybercrimes from time to time. 

Wildcard SSL certificates can offer a variety of benefits to its users. Providing specific security saves not only ample time but also energy. In fact, you also need not invest extra money on diverse chief domains as it covers all of the subdomains under a single roof. 

In this article, we will learn that how to install Wildcard SSL certificate on Nginx server. And, also we will cover a couple of perquisites that you need to follow while implementing wildcard certificate.

Steps To Generate a CSR and Private Key from the Nginx server 

In order to obtain the Wildcard SSL certificate, it becomes prudent to obtain a Certificate Signing Request (CSR.) This is one of the primary steps to acquiring a certificate. So, if you are installing SSL certificate on your Nginx server, make sure you generate the CSR on the same server. 

The CSR generally contains essential confidential information that may range from location to an organization to a country and more. The CA generates your certificate using these significant confidential details so that the Nginx Wildcard certificate is specifically curated for your leverage and domain safety. 

Similarly, a Private key is one that helps make the encryption and decryption of data possible between two adjacent parties. It is a solitary file that the server creates when they generate a CSR. 

To generate the CSR with Nginx using OpenSSL, here’s what to do- 

Step 1: Login to the server using SSH client (Putty).

Step 2: Run below openSSL command.

openssl req –new –newkey rsa:2048 –nodes –keyout (server).key –out (server).csr

Note: Modify the “server” text in the above command line using your own server name.

Step 3: Next, you will have to submit a Common name. For this purpose, type the

Step 4: name of that qualified domain that you are hoping to secure. 

Step 5: Now, provide your organizational details. 

Step 6: At this point, tap into your SSL/TLS certificate and receive your files (Here, you will receive both CSR and Private-key files).

Step 7: Save the Private key on the same server where you want to install SSL certificate. 

Step 8: Use Certificate Signing Request (CSR) file and generate the certificate by submitting to CA via SSL vendor or directly to Certificate Authority.

Installing a Wildcard SSL Certificate on Nginx Server

Step 1- Purchase your Wildcard SSL certificate 

At this point, to go forward on how to install the Wildcard SSL certificate Nginx, it becomes essential for you to Purchase Wildcard SSL from the best SSL providers at the most nominal prices. Do not forget to make sure that the certificate you purchase fits your criteria properly. Evaluate the features and benefits it has to offer. Also, do not forget to consider the encryption strength and CSR key signature it can offer to your subdomains. 

Step 2- Download the Certificate Files To Your Server

By now, you must have received your CA bundle files on the successful completion of validation. Check your email for CA bundle file, where your certificates will be provided to you. In this CA bundle zip file, you will receive both your intermediate certificate and primary certificate.

Step 3- Configure the Nginx server with the new certificate

In the second step, we have helped you understand how to receive both your primary and intermediary certificates properly. Now, using smart software like FTP or SSH, log in to your server and install both of these certificates on the path “/etc/ssl” on Nginx server.

You must also copy the private key that was generated during the procurement of the CSR process. After this, you need to concatenate both certificates. So, you need to run the command accordingly. 

Step 4 – Merge both intermediate and primary certificate

To complete the merge process, you need to run the openSSL command.

cat your_domain_name.crt intermediate.crt >> bundle.crt

Step 5: Modify your the Nginx Virtual Hosts file

Now, edit the virtual host files of Nginx server. So, open the host file and paste the code in the original one.

server {
listen 443;
ssl on;
ssl_certificate /etc/ssl/your_domain_name.pem; (or bundle.crt)
ssl_certificate_key /etc/ssl/your_domain_name.key;
access_log /var/log/nginx/nginx.vhost.access.log;
error_log /var/log/nginx/nginx.vhost.error.log;
location / {
root /home/www/public_html/;
index index.html;

Note: Make sure you adjust the file names so they can match the certificate files.

Step 6 – Test The Installation For Success 

It is important to restart Nginx and check if the certificate was installed properly.

Tips To Consider 

1. Use Nginx Latest Version 

When you wish to install Wildcard SSL certificate Nginx, you need to ensure that you are using the most recent version. This is important to not miss out on any updates that help enhance the compatibility of the browser. As such, your certificate is likely to work better and help protect your subdomains more vividly. 

2. Update Your SSL Certificates 

It is significant to update your SSL certificate to make sure you stay updated with the HTTPS encryption without any compromises. For this purpose, you need to keep renewing your SSL certificate regularly. 

3.Consider using a Certificate Management Service.

Installation of your certificate is generally a simple process. But to simplify it further and maintain it without any risk factors involved, it is best to leverage a Certificate Management service. So, find out about the most reputed CMS to have a seamless experience. 

Winding Up!

Nginx certificate Wildcard SSL is a speedy way to receive a potential SSL Wildcard certificate for your subdomains. It is available at the most nominal price and ensures full protection at every stage of your subdomain use. But to make it work, it is essential to focus on the right steps to install the certificate on your server. 

For this purpose, start by generating a CSR and private key. Then, get your Wildcard SSL certificate and download the files to your server. After this, make sure you configure the Nginx server efficiently with the latest certificates and test the installation for minimal hindrances. And Voila! Your certificate is ready to operate. 

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a Cyber-Security Enthusiast who constantly updates herself with new advancements in the Web/Cyber Security niche. Along with theoretical knowledge, she also implements her practical expertise in day-to-day tasks and helps others to protect themselves from threats.

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