Last Updated on August 13, 2021 by Guest
While looking for an SSL, you might have come across the oft-encountered term multi-domain wildcard SSL certificate. Also known as the silver bullet for website encryption, this SSL is a comprehensive solution for organizations with multiple domains and subdomains. After all, this SSL is a blend of the two most sought-after SSL types — the multi-domain and the wildcard certificates.
Their combined goodness makes the multi-domain wildcard SSL an ideal choice for businesses with complex web architectures. These include online retail, affiliate marketing, drop shipping, and so on. If you are entirely new to this SSL type and don’t know much about it, don’t fret. Although it may seem a bit confusing, we will tell you everything you need to know about it. So, let’s dive into it.
Understanding a Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificate
A multi domain wildcard SSL certificate is an ideal solution for businesses with superior, more extensive requirements. As you may have figured out, it is a hybrid between the SAN and the wildcard SSL. It makes SSL management a whole lot easier by eliminating administrative complexities involving installing, maintaining, tracking, and renewing multiple SSLs.
So, if your business uses several domains, each with its own set of first-level subdomains, then this turns out to be a convenient solution. You can use an asterisk before the primary domain name to encrypt all its existing and future subdomains. This can be done for multiple domain names, eliminating the need to define first-level subdomains as subject alternate names.
Also, it reduces the number of private keys and makes SSL administration more secure. The only disadvantage of this SSL is its inability to encrypt subdomains on different levels. So, if you have a website called www.Site.com, then you can use *.Site.com to encrypt cart.Site.com, login.Site.com, payment.Site.com, and so on. However, you cannot use it to encrypt android.mobile.Site.com, which is on another level.
How does a Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificate Differ from Other SSL?
You may have come across several SSL certificate types like the domain validated SSL, wildcard SSL, and multi-domain SSL, also known as the SAN or UCC SSL certificate. These are some of the regular SSL types which come with different levels of validations such as domain validation (DV), extended validation (EV), or organizational validation (OV).
None of these come close to the multi-domain wildcard SSL, which is an innovative solution designed for businesses with complex web architectures. Let us compare this SSL type with others to figure out the ideal solution for your business.
Domain Validated SSL vs. Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL
A domain validated SSL is a surefire solution for single-domain blogs and basic business sites that do not have subdomains. However, investing in sophisticated solutions like the Comodo multi-domain wildcard SSL is recommended for businesses with advanced requirements. It can encrypt up to 250 domains with a single SSL and comes with a pocket-friendly pricing model.
Wildcard SSL vs. Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL
A wildcard SSL is the perfect solution for any organization operating with a single domain and multiple first-level subdomains. Typically, this is well-suited to e-commerce websites, retailer sites, and subscription-based blogs that run under a single primary domain. However, this does not suffice when businesses use multiple domains, each with its own set of subdomains. In that case, you either need numerous wildcard SSLs, or a SAN SSL. Now, that brings us to the next topic, which is the SAN or UCC SSL certificate.
SAN SSL vs. Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL
A Subject Alternative Name (SAN) or UCC SSL allows you to encrypt a predefined number of subject alternate names, referring to both domains and subdomains. So, each one of those needs to be individually defined, which can be inconvenient for the web administrator.
Also, there is a possibility of missing out on defining one or more subdomains, posing a severe threat to the business. This doesn’t happen when you use a multi-domain wildcard SSL, which offers you an option to encrypt all the first-level subdomains with the wildcard character.
Features of a Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificate
We have already discussed what a multi-domain wildcard SSL is and how it differs from other SSL types.
Let us now move forward and discuss some of the most striking features of this SSL type.
Different Levels of Validation
You can get this certificate with different levels of validations, such as domain and organization validation. So, you can pick one based on your budget and your business requirements.
Wider Encryption Coverage
Quite a few businesses use region-specific domain extensions without realizing that each gets counted as a separate primary domain. So, for example, the Amazon.com used in the US and the Amazon.co.uk extension used in the UK are counted as two separate domains.
Besides region-specific extensions, some businesses also use multiple domains for SEO advantage, targeted marketing, and other business strategies. Encrypting multiple domains may not be a big deal for Amazon, but for smaller businesses, it sure is. Thus, the multi-domain wildcard SSL evolved, which offers more comprehensive encryption coverage and is a cost-effective option for mid-sized firms.
Minimizes the number of keys
With every SSL installed, there comes the responsibility of keeping its private key secure. The need for such an arrangement is magnified due to the spike in insider threats. In the US, over 2500 internal security breaches occur daily. These include both intentional and accidental breaches.
Speaking of SSL, the certificate’s encryption capabilities provide security only until your private keys remain hidden from cybercriminals. After all, the private key decrypts the messages exchanged between the server and the client.
Therefore, businesses must reduce the number of private keys by investing in a comprehensive SSL. The idea here is that fewer keys are easier to protect. Also, the multi-domain wildcard SSL eliminates the need to define each subdomain as a subject alternate name manually. So, the need to access the private keys is also minimized.
Although the multi-domain wildcard SSL comes with a host of benefits like broader encryption and lower cost, you must consider the following concerns. First off, it can only be used to encrypt first-level domains of an FQDN. Secondly, the price of the multi-domain wildcard SSL certificate varies based on the validation level you choose. But, overall, it is a convenient and easy to manage solution for businesses of all sizes.