What is a Wildcard SAN Certificate and How It Works?

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What is Wildcard SAN Certificate

A Comprehensive Guide on Wildcard SAN certificate

As long as there are blogs, websites, or any web-related service, there will be the need for an SSL certificate to secure them. The key purpose of an SSL certificate depends on how you use it. The application of an SSL certificate is one of the best ways to secure your website’s identity in the digital space. A reliable Certificate Authority will provide Wildcard SAN Certificate with a powerful cryptographic signature that protects all the data on multiple websites or subdomains. This helps in confirming your identity and encrypted data or information over the Internet.

If you are here, we are sure you have multiple websites and subdomains and are looking for the best wildcard SAN certificates that can efficiently secure your primary domains and subdomains. However, if you are looking for a convenient way of securing and tracking all of your SSL installations, renewals, and validations, there is one simple solution you can go for a Wildcard SAN certificate. SAN stands for Subject Alternative Name.

What is a Wildcard SAN Certificate?

Wildcard SAN Certificate Also known as a Multi Domain Wildcard Certificate, the Wildcard SAN certificate is your one-stop answer specially designed to remove multiple SSL certificate-related problems. It brings the best combination for medium and enterprise business websites, i.e., a Wildcard certificate and a simple Multi-Domain SAN certificate, by securing 250 domains and unlimited subdomains on multiple servers. With so many premium features, it will be right to say that the Wildcard Subject Alternative Name (SAN) SSL certificate is the jack-of-all-certificates.

One of the common use cases of these MDC Wildcard SAN certificates is found in enterprise organizations that demand internal and external validation and employ different sub-domain names for each of them.

For example, use InternalXYZ.website.com and ExternalXYZ.website.com for instant messaging apps where you have to secure messages with encryption. In cases like these, the organization needs to certify each external and internal service so that users can use the application remotely and securely.

The Wildcard certificate secures all subdomains on a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) that shares the same server. But, by combining the capabilities of a SAN SSL certificate, the certificate might exhibit compatibility with multiple servers and unlimited subdomains.

For example, you have a website called www.youtwebsite.com. With one single Wildcard SAN certificate, you can secure blog.yourwebsite.com, mail.yourwebsite.com, blog.yourwebsite.com, mail.yourwebsite.com, or any other subdomains or primary domains.

Based on the Certificate Authority you have chosen, a Wildcard SAN SSL certificate can secure 25, 100, or even 250 domains and all the associated subdomains at the same time.

So now that we know what Wildcard SAN SSL certificates are let us understand how it works.

How does a Wildcard SAN Certificate Work?

If you have a domain xyz.com and wish to secure it along with its subdomains, that goes blog.xyz.com. When you have a WIldcard certificate, it helps you secure your primary domain and all of its subdomains with just one SSL certificate. All you have to do is add an asterisk (*) before your primary domain name while generating your CSR. So if your domain name is xyz.com, you can do *xyz.com. Voila! You can now secure multiple subdomains like blog.xyz.com, shop.xyz.com, and contact.xyz.com.

While the cheap Wildcard SSL certificate can secure the primary domain of your websites and all the associated subdomains, the SAN certificate will secure multiple domains under one single SSL certificate.

Let us now get into the features Wildcard SAN SSL certificate offers.

What are the Features of a Wildcard SAN Certificate?

The wildcard is beneficial from so many point-of-views; whether it is the cost or security point, this SSL offers robust protection and authenticates business over the web. So let us discuss this.

1. Unlimited Protection

Wildcard SAN SSL certificates are a type of digital certificate that can be used to secure multiple domains and unlimited subdomains with just one certificate. They use the same encryption as other SSL certificates and offer the same level of security for your website. This can save you time and money, as well as make it easier to manage the security of your website.

2. Save Cost

Wildcard SAN SSL certificates allow organizations to secure multiple domains and unlimited subdomains under a single certificate, which can be more cost-effective than purchasing individual certificates for each subdomain. This can be especially useful for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that have a large number of subdomains and want to secure them all with a single certificate.

3. Simple Certificate Management

Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL certificate can simplify certificate management for organizations by allowing them to use a single certificate to secure multiple subdomains on the same domain. With this certificate, you can secure multiple domains and unlimited subdomains on a single domain by using an asterisk as a placeholder for the subdomain in the certificate’s subject alternative name (SAN).

For example, a wildcard certificate issued for *.yourwebsitecom can be used to secure subdomains such as mail.yourwebsite.com, yourwebite.example.com, and api.yourwebsite.com, among others.

4. User’s Trust

A secured website, that is, one that uses HTTPS can boost traffic and user trust. HTTPS is a protocol for securely transmitting data on the Internet. It involves the application of SSL to encrypt the data being transmitted. With a secured website, you can earn users’ confidence indicating that their personal and financial information is protected when they are using your website.

5. Compatibility

Wildcard SSL certificates are generally compatible with most servers and browsers. Usually, they support 99.9% of browsers.

6. Rigorous Vetting Process

Typically, Wildcard SSL certificates are issued more quickly than other types of SSL certificates because they do not require as much verification. However, the actual time it takes to issue a Wildcard SSL certificate can vary depending on the certification authority (CA) you are using and the specific verification process they follow.

Some CAs may offer Wildcard SSL certificates that can be issued almost instantly through an automated domain validation process. In this case, the CA will verify that you own the domain associated with the certificate by sending an automated message to a specific email address or placing a specific file on the website.

Other CAs may require a more rigorous verification process, such as business validation, which involves verifying the legitimacy of your business and checking business documents. This process can take a few days to complete.

It’s also worth noting that the time it takes to issue a Wildcard SSL certificate can depend on the specific circumstances of your request. For example, if you are requesting a Wildcard SSL certificate for a large organization with multiple subdomains, the process may take longer than it would for a smaller organization with fewer subdomains.

These are a few features of a Wildcard SAN SSL certificate.

Top Wildcard SAN SSL Certificates from The Best Certificate Authorities

Product NameTypeIssuance TimePricing
Certera Multi Domain Wildcard SSLDomain ValidatedIn Minutes$40.99/yr
Positive Multi-Domain WildcardDomain ValidatedIn Minutes$99.99/yr
Sectigo Positive Multi-Domain WildcardDomain ValidatedIn Minutes$99.99/yr
COMODO Multi-Domain Wildcard SSLOrganization Validated1 to 3 Days$179.99/yr
COMODO UCC Wildcard CertificateOrganization Validated1 to 3 Days$179.99/yr
SECTIGO UCC Wildcard CertificateOrganization Validated1 to 3 Days$179.99/yr
SECTIGO Multi-Domain Wildcard SSLOrganization Validated1 to 3 Days$179.99/yr

Final Thoughts

Wildcard SAN SSL certificates are a type of SSL certificate that can be used to secure multiple subdomains under a single domain. These certificates are typically available in domain validation (DV) and organization validation (OV) levels but not extended validation (EV). This is because the Wildcard character allows for too much flexibility and cannot be trusted to meet the stricter EV issuance guidelines set by the Certificate Authority/Browser Forum (CA/B Forum).

However, wildcard SAN SSL certificates can still provide a good level of security for businesses at an affordable cost. They can be used to secure multiple subdomains on a single domain, making them a convenient and cost-effective solution for businesses with multiple subdomains that need to be secured. Additionally, purchasing a wildcard SSL certificate from a reputable certificate authority can help build customer trust and show that a business takes security seriously.

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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