What are Wildcard SSL Certificates?

By Ankit
January 23, 2023

If you have a website or are thinking about launching one, installing an SSL certificate should be one of your top priorities. Understandably, it can be confusing to discern the differences between the various types of SSL certificates available. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of Wildcard SSL Certificates, what they do, and who should get one. Before we dive into the ins and outs of Wildcard SSLs, let’s first go over the basic definition of an SSL certificate.

An SSL is a certificate you install on your site for purposes of creating encrypted connections between a server (where your website is hosted) and a client (generally the browser your website visitor is using). It does this by using something known as the TLS protocol. When a connection is encrypted, any data transmitted is rendered unreadable to prying eyes, which keeps website visitors safe from any fraudulent activities.

As mentioned earlier, there are a few different types of SSL certificates available. With a regular SSL, you basically secure a single domain. But what if your website is a little more complex than that? Say, for example, you have a single domain with multiple subdomains linked to it? That’s where a Wildcard SSL comes in.

When you install a Wildcard SSL certificate on your site, it secures a single domain and any subdomains of one level (for example, for mywebsite.com a single-level subdomain would be *.mywebsite.com) that currently exist, as well as any you create in the future. This is a lot more convenient and affordable than purchasing separate SSLs for each subdomain.

Everything is automatically covered by one Wildcard SSL, even subdomains you have yet to think of. You’ll only have to keep track of a single SSL certificate instead of several, and you won’t even have to get your SSL reissued when you do add a new subdomain (which you would if you opted for a multi-domain SSL). The icing on the cake? A Wildcard SSL will automatically secure unlimited subdomains. So, you can rest easy and focus on growing your business, instead of keeping track of numerous SSLs with different expiry dates.

So, should you opt for a Wildcard SSL? As good as they are, if you have a simple website with no plans on expanding in the future, then you can probably just opt for a regular SSL. But if you do have a single domain with several subdomains linked to it, or if you plan on adding subdomains in the future, Wildcard SSL certificates are ideal.

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