What is a Wildcard SAN Certificate, and How Does It work?

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Multi-Level Multi-Domain Wildcard SAN Certificate

A Wildcard SAN Certificate offers businesses an easy way to protect multiple domains without spending too much money. Read the Guide to Know About these Certificates

The multi-level Wildcard SAN certificate is the combination of two types of SSL certificates. As a result the websites with the Wildcard SAN certificate get the benefits of these certificate types. This includes the ability to add unlimited domains and subdomains to a single certificate.

As a result, the users are able to save tons of money that is otherwise spent on getting a different certificate for each website domain. This implies that you can secure multiple levels of domains and subdomains with a single certificate, further making it easier to manage every aspect. In simple terms, the Wildcard SAN cert is like a jack-of-all-trades. Let’s find out more about this certificate in detail.

Introducing a Wildcard SAN Certificate

Subject Alternative Name (SAN) and Wildcard certificate allows the user to add multiple domains and an unlimited number of multi-level subdomains to a single certificate.

To understand this further, let’s take an example.

Assume that you have multiple running businesses and for each business you have a different website. It can be a multi-chain business where you are providing construction and a host of different associated services.

Even since Google has decided to flag websites that don’t have an HTTPS tag, any business will lose business as customers won’t be confident about sharing their details with the website. Hence, it is essential to get an SSL certificate for each website.

For a business with multiple domains and subdomains, managing all these websites and ensuring the required security can become overwhelming. A Wildcard SAN certificate can help this business owner secure all the websites with a single certificate.

Basically, in this case, one certificate will have several subject alternative certificates and have wildcard entries for their subdomains.

Understanding SAN is easier, but let’s know more about a wildcard certificate. A wildcard certificate allows a user to dedicate different unlimited subdomains to a single protected domain with an SSL certificate.

Suppose that a Wildcard SAN certificate is securing one website named sprite.com. With this certificate, that same single certificate can also secure mail.sprite.com, support.sprite.com, or any other subdomain connected to the main website.

The combination of this multi-domain wildcard certificate gives website owners a simple way to cover all websites.

What are the Key Features of a Wildcard SAN Certificate?

In terms of encryption, a Wildcard SAN certificate offers the same protection as a TLS or SSL certificate. However, they do differ in terms of implementation at different levels and functionalities. Following are the key features of a Wildcard SAN certificate.

1.   256-bit Encryption

The Wildcard SAN certificate offers one of the strongest security encryptions, 256-bit. This is added with a 2048-bit RSA Signature Key. The higher form of security provides the domains with security, but it also provides confidence to the visitors. They feel safer to share their details, including personal financial information.

2.   Comes With Site Seal

The site seal is attached to the website and can be used for marketing purposes. Seeing the seal, the visitors can trust the domain easily. In addition to this, the websites with the Wildcard San cert enable HTTPS and lock icons. The HTTPS designation is added to the URL address, and the padlock icon displays on the left side of the URL address bar.

3.   Unlimited Re-Issuance

The same certificate can be re-issued an unlimited number of times to the same user or website. As a result, the website owner does not need to get into the verification process time and again. Plus, it will save the time that is generally required to verify the identity of the website owner.

4.   Simplifies the Entire Process

Getting a security certificate for the website is necessary. Still, it’s a lengthy process that means the website owner has to go through the same every time after the certificate expires. With a Wildcard SAN certificate, there’s no need to go through the entire complex process. It also simplifies the certificate management process for all types of organizations.

5.   Cost-Efficient

Compared to other SSL certificates, the Wildcard SAN cert is cost-efficient. Since the users need one certificate to provide security to all other types of websites and sub-domains, they don’t need to pay for different certificates for every instance.

How Does a Wildcard SAN Certificate Work?

A Wildcard SAN certificate is useful for businesses, but the process to obtain it is not as easy as you want it to be. First of all, not every SSL certificate provider has this type of in their products and services. The ones which do have this service continue to provide it with the following process.

Some certificate providers will ask you to fill out a simple form or a standard CSR (Certificate Signing Request) sharing your details. The CSR is like an application form required to fill before submitting the request. Once shared, the service provider will check the details, verify the information, and provide the certificate.

However, with other service providers, the process is a bit lengthy. It begins with creating a CSR or a key pair. Once it’s done, you are supposed to log in to the management console of the service provider and duplicate the certificate.

Find the Manage Wildcard certificate button and reissue actions to get a duplicate certificate. After uploading the CSR, you need to select the server used for generating the CSR. In the column where it’s asked to specify the subdomains required to secure in the process, add the SANs you need to use. At a time, you can only submit a duplicate request for up to 10 certificates.

Top Wildcard SSL Certificates

Here are the cheap Wildcard SSL certificate providers available in the market.

1.   Comodo Positive SSL

The Comodo PositiveSSL certificate is available at $45 per year and provides enhanced security to the website. It adds HTTPS to the website address and comes with a strong encryption standard. This certificate protects the website owner’s data from being exposed to cyber thieves.

Moreover, the certificate also brings an assurance about website security and attaches a security seal.

This single low-cost Wildcard SAN cert won’t take too long to issue the certificate. Moreover, this certificate is good for eCommerce websites, forums, and blogs that have multiple subdomains.

2.   Sectigo Wildcard SSL

The Sectigo Wildcard SSL certificates have several forms and types. The users will get access to various features and benefits with each one. For instance, the Sectogo Multi-Domain SSL Wildcard (FLEX) certificate costs only $12.99 per year but it allows the users to add oen main domain and 2 free SANS. It can be issued in minutes and provide 256-bit SSL security.

With other Sectigo certificates like the Positive SSL Wildcard, the users will also get a free Static Site Seal and the domain validated certificate. This certificate enjoys the trust of all the browsers. However, the Sectio Positive SSL Wildcard certificate will cost $42.99 per year and the Sectigo Positive Milti-Domain Wildcard certificate will cost $99.99 per year.

In this category, the website owners can also get Sectigo OV Wildcard SSL certificate that comes with unlimited server licenses and can secure unlimited subdomains. However, the cost of this certificate is $169.99 per year.

3.   Certera SSL Wildcard Certificate

CERTERA also provides multiple Wildcard SAN certificates priced between $10.99 to $40.99 per year. CERTERA certificates have 256-bit SSL security and enjoys 99.99% browser recognition. It can allow the users to add unlimited services liceses and add or remove up to 247 SANs.

Conclusion

A Wildcard SAN certificate is one of the most amazing types of certificates a business owner can get. It allows a single certificate to be used for multiple websites and domains without spending any extra money on new certificates. In terms of protection, you will find these certificates provide 256-bit encryption to the website and protect visitors from unexpected threats.

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