Cyber-crime is a never-ending issue the more we proceed towards digitalization, we hear about cyber-crimes happening daily, in the world. It is a red signal that warns us about our digital empire’s impending risk anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.

Be it email frauds, phishing attacks, identity thefts, cyber extortion, etc., all of it can be preventing by installing the necessary web securities. One such web security which all web owners are aware of is the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) security. 

About SSL

SSL certificate is becoming quite popular, thanks to the rise in cyber-crime and the encryption technology used to secure all the data transmitted between a client and a server. A plain text is converting into a ciphertext (jumbling language), unpredictable and non-readable by hackers. 

Only the intended recipient having the decryption key can decrypt the message and read it. 

These digital certificates provide multiple securities, depending on the type of SSL certificate selected for your website. To pin an ideal one for your website is a tough decision each type of SSL certificate has its unique features and benefits. 

I have received many queries about what security does Wildcard SSL offer, their benefits, and how it differs from SAN SSL. This article will discuss the Wildcard SSL certificate and SAN SSL certificate in-depth and which one ranks better the other.

About Wildcard SSL

The Wildcard SSL certificate is ideal for websites having multiple subdomains and want to secure them with a single certificate. Wildcard SSL certificate secures:

Main domain + Multiple Subdomains of 1st level. 

These certificates are a blessing in disguise as a single certificate covers all the subdomains on the same or multiple servers. You are relieving from the hassle of buying, installing multiple certificates for securing multiple sub-domains.

A prefix in the form of an “*” is using in the domain name to add additional subdomains. We call it Wildcard character, and this “*” allows you to secure unlimited sub-domains on the same or different servers.

Example:

Suppose your website name is www.origami.com, you can add sub-domains by writing *.origami.com at the time of CSR generation. 

Your Wildcard certificate will secure other subdomains shop.origami.com and blog.origami.com.

All 1st level subdomains can be securing with a Wildcard SSL certificate. This SSL certificate comes in 2 validations, Domain Validation SSL, and Organisation Validation SSL certificates.

Benefits of SSL Certificates

  1. Better Flexibility

It secures up to 250 FQDNs (Fully Qualified Domain Names) and multiple sub-domains of all levels. 

Example: A SAN SSL certificate will secure:

https://mysite.com, blog.mysite.com, article.blog.mysite.com, https://site.net, blog.mysite.net, article.blog.mysite.net etc.

  1. Encryption Level

It, too, provides the highest level of encryption, i.e., 256-bit encryption and 2048-bit digital signatures.

  1. Mobile-Browser Compatibility

SAN SSL certificates are also compatible with a majority (99.9%) of browsers and mobiles.

  1. Ideal for ASPs

Application Service Providers (ASPs) love SAN SSL since they deal with multiple clients who need security for their domains. ASPs are hired to provide unique domain names to various clients, and hence they utilize SAN SSL for protecting these domain names.

Some of the best SAN SSL certificates include Comodo Positive Multi-domain SSL, GeoTrust True BusinessID Multi-domain, etc.

About SAN SSL Certificate

SAN (Subject Alternate Name) SSL certificates are known as Multi-Domain SSL certificates, UCC (Unified Communication Certificates).

They secure multiple domains and multiple subdomains of all levels with a single certificate.

They have the upper hand to the Wildcard SSL certificate, which secures a single domain.

The only drawback of this SSL certificate is that any addition in subdomains needs the SAN SSL certificate’s re-issuance the subdomains need to be defined at the time of issuance of the SSL certificate.

This SSL certificate comes in 3 validations, Domain Validation SSL, Organisation Validation, and Extended Validation SSL certificate.

Benefits of SAN SSL Certificate

  1. Better Flexibility

It secures up to 250 FQDNs as (Fully Qualified Domain Names) and multiple sub-domains of all levels. 

Example: A SAN SSL certificate will secure:

https://mysite.com, blog.mysite.com, article.blog.mysite.com, https://site.net, blog.mysite.net, article.blog.mysite.net etc.

  1. Encryption Level

It, too, provides the highest level of encryption, hence 256-bit encryption, and 2048-bit digital signatures.

  1. Mobile-Browser Compatibility

SAN SSL certificates are compatible with a majority (99.9%) of browsers and mobiles.

  1. Ideal for ASPs

Application Service Providers (ASPs) love SAN SSL they deal with multiple clients who need security for their domains. ASPs are hiring to provide unique domain names to various clients, and they utilize SAN SSL for protecting these domain names.

Some of the best SAN SSL certificates include Comodo Positive Multi-domain SSL, GeoTrust True BusinessID Multi-domain, etc.

Difference between SSL Vs SAN SSL Certificate

A comparison between the two may give you a clear idea about which one would suit your business.

Wildcard SSL Certificate

  • It secures unlimited sub-domains of the 1st level.
  • An ideal for multiple sub-domains on multiple servers.
  • It is available in DV, OV but not an EV.
  • A Wildcard character in the form of “*” is added before the domain name.

Examples:

www.mydomain.com

article.mydomain.com

blog.mydomain.com

product.mydomain.com

  • Wildcard SSL certificate supports wildcard character, and hence subdomains can be easily added, and no re-issuance of SSL is needed.
  • It is ideal for medium businesses having only one domain name.

SAN SSL Certificate

  • It secures multiple domains and subdomains of all levels.
  • Secures up to 250 fully qualified domains (depending on the Certificate Authority).
  • It is available in all three validations, i.e., DV, OV, and EV.
  • You need to mention your main domain and add all the other domains or subdomains as SAN names.

Examples:

www.mydomain.com

blog.mydomain.com

article.blog.mydomain.com

www.mydomain1.com

blog.mydomain1.com

www.mydomain2.com

  • SAN SSL certificate does not support wildcard character, and hence subdomains cannot be easily added since they need to be defined at the time of issuance. Any addition of subdomains requires re-issuance of the SAN SSL certificate.
  • It is ideal for large organizations having multiple businesses and multiple primary domain names.

Final Thoughts

In the Wildcard SSL certificate, there is no need to define the subdomains, and it’s easy addition of subdomains is possible. This makes it more preferred among businesses. 

If you have multiple businesses and wish to secure multiple domains, opt for a SAN SSL certificate, which gives complete domain and subdomain security with a single certificate.

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