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How To Secure Your Subdomains With a Wildcard SSL Certificate

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In his book, The Art of War, Sun Tzu said: “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.” There could never be more appropriate advice to cybersecurity professionals and website owners. In a world where security threats are quickly evolving, knowing which defense strategy to apply is more important than ever before.

Therefore, understanding the SSL requires that you understand the environment it has been designed to operate in. Different SSL types are meant for different types of websites. The Wildcard SSL certificate is majorly meant to secure multiple subdomains. Cyber attackers and hackers target every bit of websites, making the Wildcard SSL certificate the most ideal, cost-effective, and time-saving option. This article explains everything that you need to know about wildcard SSL certificates.

Understanding a Wildcard SSL Certificate

A wildcard SSL certificate is a special type of SSL designed to authenticate and provide HTTPS encryption to one main domain and all the first-level subdomains under the main domain. The wildcard SSL certificate secures the exchange of sensitive information between the website’s primary domain and its subdomains.

Decoding the working of a Wildcard SSL Certificate

For instance, let’s say you own a bilymotors.com, and you want to encrypt it. The wildcard SSL certificate will be issued based on the naked domain- *.bilymotors.com.

You also want to ensure that you also secure the following subdomains:

  • blog.bilymotors.com
  • shop.bilymotors.com
  • login.bilymotors,com
  • account.bilymotors.com
  • mail.bilymotors.com

The wildcard will secure all the above subdomains. It secures up to an unlimited number of subdomains. It is important to understand that the certificate only covers the primary domain and its first-level domains. Any level 2 subdomains such as test.account.bilymotors.com will not be covered under the same certificate. The reason is that the asterisk sign (*) does not coincide with the number of full stops. If you wish to secure the level 2 subdomains, it will be wise to obtain another wildcard SSL certificate.

Key Features of a Wildcard SSL Certificate

  • A single certificate can secure the primary domain and an unlimited number of subdomains under the main domain.
  • Compatible with almost all browsers and mobile devices
  • 2048-bit future proof certificate
  • Available with both Domain Validation and Organization Validation SSL
  • SHA-2 signed certificate with 256-bit encryption. It is, therefore, the ideal encryption tool for a website that will keep it safe from hackers and intruders.
  • Has unlimited server licensing.

Why Should You Choose the Wildcard SSL Certificate?

Wildcard SSL certificates will bring a lot of benefits to the organization. The following are the reasons why organizations, businesses, or website owners should consider going for the wildcard SSL certificate:

  1. Providing Security to Unlimited Sub-Domains

All components of your website should be secure. You cannot afford to leave anything to chance, not with the high cost of repairing a cyber breach. A wildcard SSL certificate ensures that all your subdomains are secure. Even if you decide to add more subdomains in the future, you won’t even have to reissue the certificate during the time which the wildcard will still be active. The certificate automatically covers the new subdomains. How easy that looks!

Securing all subdomains is the right way to go. Hackers are smart and will be going through your website to check the loopholes and vulnerabilities that may include insecure subdomains. However, with the wildcard SSL certificate, you do not have to worry.

  1. Easy SSL Management

Securing multiple subdomains with different certificates can be a real headache. You will have to go through all the hassle required to purchase individual certificates for every subdomain, issue the certificates, lengthy installation procedures, and server configurations. You will also have to keep a proper record of every certificate’s expiry date and renewals. That is plenty of work.

The wildcard SSL certificate simplifies all these. Rather than having a whole host of certificates to install and look after, you will only be managing one certificate. A single purchase, single issuance, single installation, single renewal. Done. How easy that could be!

  1. Wildcard Certificates are Cost-Effective

Imagine the cost of doing business that you would incur buying different SSL certificates. Each certificate will cost you time and money to acquire, manage and renew. This will accumulate massive amounts of money that will make it almost costly to operate your business. You do not have to spend every cent on a different SSL certificate.

Although wildcard SSL certificates come at a comparatively higher price than regular certificates, it only costs one price, making them the most affordable and ideal SSL option. Furthermore, there are cheap wildcard SSL certificate options that you can go for. Whether you want to secure just a single subdomain or five hundred subdomains, the price will always remain the same.

  1. SEO Benefits

This benefit is not only for the wildcard SSL certificates but for all types of SSL certificates. Having an SSL certificate presents you with low-hanging SEO fruits. In 2015, Google announced that HTTPS would be used as one of the key metrics used to rank websites. Most website owners usually spend much time and resources on SEO strategies that sometimes fail to work. They forget that having an SSL certificate could have a 5% boost to their search engine rankings. If you want to top search engine results pages, you should start by acquiring an SSL certificate.

What Next after Purchasing a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

Several wildcard SSL certificate providers give you the best certificate at affordable prices and other after-sales benefits. After paying for your certificate, you will have to do the following to install it properly:

  • You will have to generate a Certificate Signing Request with the asterisk before your domain host. For example, *.bilymotors.com.
  • The Certificate Authority then issues the certificate through an email. The SSL certificate will have a common name *.domains.com. that will provide encryption to all your first-level subdomains.
  • The email will also have clear installation guidelines, which you will have to follow to install the certificate and properly configure your servers.

The Types of Wildcard SSL Certificate to Purchase

There are two wildcard SSL certificate options. The first option is Domain Validation which is the easiest to acquire. They are usually issued within minutes after the purchase. The second option is Business Validation. It is an ideal option for medium and large businesses; this type is only issued to legally registered businesses. When website visitors click on the SSL certificate, they will see its name among many other business details. There are no Extended Validation Wildcard certificates.

Conclusion

Wildcard SSL certificates are excellent products. They are multipurpose security protocols that will bring a myriad of benefits to a website. The major benefit that wildcard SSL certificates have is their ability to secure an unlimited number of subdomains with just a single certificate. Even though they come at a comparatively higher price than the regular one-domain certificates, they are bound to save you significant amounts of money, time, and effort, making the extra money you pay for them worth it.

 

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