What is a SAN SSL Certificate and How Does It Protect Multiple Domains

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what is san ssl certificate

A Comprehensive Guide of SAN SSL Certificate: Secure multiple domains or websites under one SAN certificate.

SAN SSL certificate is an ideal solution to small, medium, and enterprise businesses who wants to protect multiple websites with a single SSL certificate. SAN certificate covers more than 200 FQDN domains or websites on multiple web servers with unlimited FREE reissuances.

The average annual price of an SSL certificate keeps on varying depending upon the type and validation level. Similarly, if you have ten websites, you will pay a hefty amount yearly. That’s too much on the maintenance of a website. Though it is necessary, what if there was a better way? Are you interested to know?

Fortunately, there is a way, and it is the SAN SSL certificate. Now, what is it, and what does it do? How can you get one? All these key queries will be answered in this article! Let’s move ahead and find out!

What is a SAN SSL Certificate?

Let’s answer the most expensive question! What is a SAN certificate?

A SAN certificate, expanded as Subject Alternate Name, is a digital security certificate that allows you to protect multiple domains under one certificate. That means that if you have multiple sites, you won’t have to get different SSL certificates for each of them.

You can just get one SAN SSL certificate, and you are done. You can list all your domains under it to ensure optimum security of all of them. Here are some chief features of SAN certificates!

  1. SAN SSL certificates allow you to secure multiple sites and domains with a single dedicated IP.
  2. A SAN certificate can be used and installed on an unlimited number of servers.
  3. It can be easily reissued if a change in the domain is required. This can be done at no extra fee.
  4. The SAN can be used on an infinite number of IP addresses with multiple private keys.

How does a SAN SSL Certificate work?

Well, if we go deep, the SAN certificate is a type of the SSL/TLS certificate that allows you to add the domains and respective subdomains under a single certificate that will protect them.

The domains are not just confined to a particular niche. They can be of various types like blogging, technology, food, eCommerce, and more.

Subject Alternative Name (SAN) Examples

Here are some examples of the domains that can be secured under one SAN SSL certificate!

  1. yourdomainname.com
  2. yourdomainname.net
  3. yourdomainname.org
  4. yourdomainname.info

All of these domains and many others can be protected under one certificate.

List of Platforms where SAN Certificate is Compatible

  • Apache
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Nginx
  • AWS
  • Ubuntu
  • CentOS, etc.

Note: It is advisable to check the specific requirements and compatibility of your web server platform and operating system before buying a SAN SSL certificate from a trusted provider.

Can SAN SSL Certificate Secure Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office Communications Server environments?

The answer to this query is “Yes.” SAN SSL certificates are also called Unified Communications Certificates or UCC certificates. UCC certificates were invented to secure Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office Communications Server environments or services, such as:

  • ActiveSync
  • Autodiscover
  • Outlook Anywhere
  • OWA (Outlook Web Access)
  • POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3)
  • IMAP4 (Internet Message Access Protocol version 4)

Hence, a SAN or UCC certificate can protect Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office Communications Server environments or services. 

Recommended: What is Exchange Server SSL Certificate

Why Do You Need SAN SSL Certificate?

It is pretty clear that a SAN SSL certificate is kind of a master of everything which provides end-to-end SSL encryption to multiple websites. However, it has many other benefits than just securing multiple domains for you. Here are some of them!

1. Scalability is easy

Think about it! If you have a website and want to make another one, you have to go through the process of issuing the SSL certificate. It can take a lot of time and effort as it is too lengthy.

With a SAN certificate, you can easily add or remove the domains according to your need. So, if you want to secure a new domain or delete an existing one from the list, it can be done in minutes.

You won’t have to first generate a CSR and then upload the CSR to the vendor of the SSL certificate to get the certificate issued. Hence, making the scalability process of your business easier.

2. Ensures legitimacy of the domain

Ok, it seems a bit easy to read out that this SSL certificate is issued, but there are a lot of gears running behind it. For example, if you have got a SAN SSL certificate issued, consider yourself lucky as the validation process is super strict, especially if you’ve chosen to go with OV and EV SSL Certificates.

SAN certificate comes in all the three validation forms, such as Domain Validated, Business Validated, and Extended Validated. DV SSL certificates are issued after confirming if the user or entity is the actual owner of the domain.

OV SSL certificates are issued after checking the documents proving that the business exists by doing light business verification. Similarly, Extended Validated are issued after thorough verification of business legitimacy. And, all of this verification is done by a trusted certificate authority (CA)

Therefore, a SAN SSL certificate proves that you or your business is legitimate.

3. You don’t need different IPs

You might have heard that for each domain, you need a separate IP address. Well, that is not the case with a SAN certificate. A single IP is enough for all your domains.

4. It is cost effective

If you compare the price of getting different SSL certificates for each domain, it will be way too costly than just buying one SAN SSL certificate. Also, renewing them every year will make a big hole in your pocket. But with this option, you can easily get rid of that extra expense.

5. Better flexibility

The best part about a SAN certificate is that it gives you the freedom to add or remove the domains without any hassle. So, you can start with one domain, and as your business grows, you can add more to the list.

6. Compatible with Web Browsers and Mobile Devices

The best thing about SAN SSL certificates is that they are compatible with almost all browsers, mobiles, and other internet-enabled devices. It widens their horizon in which they can offer top-notch security. This, in turn, benefits you as you can broadcast your business across all devices.

7. Add domains with multiple TLDs in a Single SAN Certificate

TLDs or Top Level Domains are the ending part of the domain name. For example, in www.yourdomainname.com, .com is a TLD.

With a SAN certificate, you can easily get domains with multiple TLDs and secure them all under one certificate. In addition, you can keep the domain name the same. For example, abc.org, abc.com, abc.net, etc.

How can you check the SANs SSL information?

If you are keen enough, here are the steps to check the SAN of a website.

  1. Tap on the padlock icon in the address bar against the web address.
  2. Select the “certificate” option.
  3. Select the “details” tab and choose the “extensions only” option.
  4. Select the “Subject alternate name” option from the list, and there you will see the list of all the SANs.

Should I get a SAN Certificate?

If you have more than one domain name, then it is a wise decision to opt for a SAN certificate. It offers numerous benefits like scalability, easy management, and cost-effectiveness that are hard to resist. Also, it gives your business a boost of security and legitimacy.

How much does a SAN certificate cost?

There are a number of legitimate CAs on the web. And the price of all of them varies based on the features offered in a SAN certificate. On an overall basis, the SAN certificate can cost you as low as $10.99 to as high as over $199.99 per year.

COMODO SSL CA, Sectigo SSL CA, and Certera are some of the best certificate authorities online that can provide you low-price SAN certificate with unlimited server licenses and reissuances.

The Best SAN Certificates from Top Certificate Authorities

Product NameTypeIssuance TimePricing
Positive Multi-Domain SSLDomain ValidatedIn minutes$14.99/yr
Sectigo Positive Multi-Domain SSLDomain ValidatedIn minutes$14.99/yr
COMODO UCC SSLOrganization Validation1 to 3 Days$53.99/yr
SECTIGO Multi Domain SSLOrganization Validation1 to 3 Days$59.99/yr
COMODO DV UCC SSLDomain ValidatedIn minutes$69.99/yr
COMODO Multi Domain SSLOrganization Validation1 to 3 Days$69.99/yr
Sectigo OV UCC SSLOrganization Validation1 to 3 Days$69.99/yr
Positive Multi-Domain WildcardDomain ValidatedIn minutes$99.99/yr
Sectigo Positive Multi-Domain WildcardDomain ValidatedIn minutes$99.99/yr
Sectigo Positive EV Multi-DomainExtended Validation1 to 5 Days$109.00/yr
Positive EV Multi-DomainExtended Validation1 to 5 Days$109.99/yr
COMODO UCC Wildcard CertificateOrganization Validation1 to 3 Days$179.99/yr
SECTIGO Multi-Domain Wildcard SSLOrganization Validation1 to 3 Days$179.99/yr

Conclusion

A SAN certificate is a great way to secure multiple domains under one SSL. It gives your business the much-needed boost of security and legitimacy. Also, it is easy to manage and quite cost-effective as well. So, if you own more than one domain, then getting a SAN certificate should be your top priority.

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Janki Mehta

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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