Tag Archives: multi domain ssl

What Is a Multi Domain SSL Certificate?

If you’re here because you’re wondering “what is a multi domain SSL certificate?” or “what is a UC multi domain certificate?” then you’ve come to the right place. A multi domain SSL certificate is also known as a subject alternative name (SAN) or unified communication certificate (UCC). As the name suggests, it’s used to secure multiple domains with a single certificate. Considering that many businesses have multiple domains, it makes sense to have a solution for business owners who have multiple websites. Would you rather manage multiple certificates for all your sites? Remember that it would involve installing each of them separately, keeping track of when to renew them, filling out individual certificate signing requests (CSR), etc.

This can be tedious. If you have numerous websites, wouldn’t it be more effective to manage and maintain all of them using one certificate? This is where multi domain UCC (SAN) SSL certificates can come in handy.

What Is a Multi Domain SSL Certificate & How Does It Work?

A multi domain SSL certificate is a single certificate that covers multiple domains on a single IP. When it comes to the strength of encryption, a SAN or a UCC multi domain certificate uses the same encryption standards as the rest of the solutions offered by any trusted third-party certificate authority (CA). The difference lies in the SAN extension that’s used to specify the additional domains.

The base domain gets listed as the common name. It’s supported on 99.9% of all web browsers and available for every level of validation — domain validation (DV), organization validation (OV), and extended validation (EV). SAN SSL certificates can secure up to 250 domains, subdomains, external IP addresses or hostnames on a single certificate. Larger certificates, with more SANs listed, might affect page load speeds by a few milliseconds.

Consider the following example:

A businessman named Todd has the following four sites that he wants to manage with one certificate:

  • site1.com
  • site2.com
  • site3.com
  • blog.site3.com

These domains and subdomains will get listed in the SAN fields with one of them, let’s suppose site1.com, as the common name under the CNAME field. Now, remember that these domains mentioned on the same certificate will be visible to everyone visiting your sites. If multi domain certificates are shared between organizations, the CA will not issue OV and EV certificates for them.

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Benefits of Using a SAN SSL Certificate

We’re pretty sure we’ve answered your questions about “what is a multi domain SSL?” and “what is a SAN SSL certificate?” Now that we’ve got all of that covered, let’s look at some of the benefits a multi domain certificate offers!

  • Using a SAN SSL certificate reduces administrative and deployment costs; it also simplifies certificate management.
  • Securing various environments such as Microsoft Exchange Servers, mobile device manager and web environments improves flexibility.
  • Multi domain SSLs decreases the IT management complexity by providing single certificate support for a host of domains
  • UCC multi domain certificates can be used on as many servers, IP addresses, and domains as required.
  • SAN SSL certificates incorporate the highest standards in SSL technology — 256-bit encryption with a 2048-bit RSA Signature Key
  • Trusted by almost all browsers, multi domain SSL certificates also have wide-reaching mobile browser support.
  • Most CAs provide warranty to cover damages depending on the level of validation you choose, just in case there is ever a problem on the CA’s end, your website remains insured.

Best Multi-Domain SSL Certificates of 2020

Features PositiveSSL Multi-Domain (DV) Sectigo OV Multi-Domain SSL Certificate Sectigo Multi-Domain/UCC SSL Certificate
Lowest Price $25.60/yr $140.00/yr $127.20/yr
Domains Secured Up to 250 Multiple Domains Up to 250 Multiple Domains Up to 250 Multiple Domains
Validation Level Domain Validation Organization Validation Domain Validation
SSL Encryption up to 256-bit up to 256-bit up to 256-bit
Key Length 2048 bits 2048 bits 2048 bits
Server License/td> Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
SSL Site Seal Included Included Included
Reissue Policy Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Warranty $50,000 $1,000,000 $500,000
Refund Policy 30 Days 30 Days 30 Days
SAN / UCC Support Yes Yes Yes
Browser Support 99% 99% 99%
OS Support [Desktop] Yes Yes Yes
OS Support [Mobile] Yes Yes Yes
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Multi Domain SSL vs Wildcard SSL — What You Should Know

SSL/TLS certificates play a significant role in web security. Most business owners are moving their websites to HTTPS  in part due to Google’s initiative to flag sites not using SSL/TLS certificates as “not secure,” and because they see the benefits of installing an SSL/TLS certificate on their web servers.

With cyber-crime on the rise, using SSL/TLS certificates is integral to building trust with users and taking a step toward improved digital security. SSL/TLS certificates ensure that the communication channel between your client browser and the server you’re connecting to is encrypted. Over an encrypted channel, if an attacker tries to sniff your traffic, they would end up with garbled information that is unintelligible and practically useless.

A multi domain SSL certificate is a single certificate that you can use to secure multiple domains (or subdomains if you list them as SANs). A wildcard SSL certificate, on the other hand, secures only your primary domain and unlimited subdomains at a single level.

Multi Domain SSL/TLS Certificates

Multi domain SSL/TLS certificates, also called unified communications certificates (UCC) or subject alternative name (SAN) certificates, secure multiple fully-qualified domain names (FQDNs).

Consider the following example:

Bob is a serial entrepreneur with multiple lines of business. He has a different website for each of these businesses, and he wants to use HTTPS on all of them without the hassles of managing multiple SSL/TLS certificates. Suppose he wants to secure the following websites:

  • www.site1.com
  • www.site2.net
  • www.site3.org
  • www.site4.com

With a SAN certificate, he can secure all of these sites by citing them as SANs on a single certificate.

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Wildcard SSL/TLS Certificates

With a wildcard SSL certificate, you can secure unlimited subdomains using one certificate at a single level. Consider Bob from our previous example. Let’s say he purchased a domain named www.site5.com. Now, suppose www.site5.com has multiple sub-domains:

  • music.site5.com
  • order.site5.com
  • collection.site5.com
  • dev.site5.com, etc.

With a wildcard SSL certificate for *.site5.com, Bob can secure music.site5.com, order.site5.com, collection.site5.com, dev.site5.com, etc. The asterisk is used to specify one particular level that it can secure, not multiple levels. For example, a certificate for *.site5.com will not secure test.dev.site5.com. You would need a separate wildcard SSL certificate to secure second-level subdomains (*.dev.site5.com).

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Multi-Domain SSL vs Wildcard SSL

The table below highlights the differences between multi domain (SAN) SSL certificates and wildcard SSL certificates:

Multi Domain SSL SSL Wildcard Certificate
A single certificate for multiple domains and subdomains. A single certificate for an unlimited number of subdomains at a specific level.
Limitations on the number of domains covered are defined by the issuing certificate authority. No limits on the number of subdomains covered.
Example: www.website.com, blog.website.com, www.website.org, www.example.com, etc. can all be secured using one certificate. Example: *.site.com secures every subdomain at that level such as order.site.com, blog.site.com, etc.
The different domain names to be secured must be defined and added at the time the certificate is purchased. Additional subdomains can be added or removed at any time.
Available for all levels of validation – DV, OV, and EV. Available for DV and OV levels of validation only. EV is not an option for wildcard certificates.

As far as making a choice between the two certificates is concerned, it depends on your business needs. If you need to secure multiple domains, a multi-domain (SAN) SSL certificate would be a good fit. If, on the other hand, your business has numerous subdomains all at the same level on your primary domain, you could choose a wildcard SSL certificate instead.

There is a third option: using a multi domain wildcard SSL certificate, which combines the utility of both types of certificates. With this option, you can choose to secure multiple domains and an unlimited number of multi-level subdomains.