Tag Archives: ssl vs wildcard ssl

Wildcard SSL vs Standard SSL: What’s The Difference?

Ensure you find the right SSL option for you by understanding wildcard SSL vs standard SSL…

In the world of SSL certificates where there seems to be endless types, brands, validation levels, CAs and so on – it’s easy to feel lost or confused. But don’t worry, we got your back! We assume you’re here because you’re deciding between wildcard SSL vs standard SSL. These are two different SSL certificates that help satisfy different needs. They both secure an HTTPS connection, but they don’t secure the same number of domains or type of domains. Here is what you need to know…

Wildcard SSL vs Standard SSL in a Nutshell

The quickest and to-the-point way of explaining standard SSL vs. wildcard SSL is:

  • a standard (single domain) SSL certificate secures one domain name
  • a wildcard SSL certificate secures your domain and an unlimited number of first-level subdomains

Keep on reading for a more in depth look at a standard ssl certificate vs wildcard ssl certificate…

What is Standard SSL?

Standard SSL is better known as a single domain SSL certificate. This particular type of SSL certificate secures your domain name IE www.domain.com or domain.com. The single domain SSL certificate ensures that when a user communicates with www.domain.com, the information/data traveling from their browser (client) to the website (web server) does not get intercepted by a hacker.

Standard SSL certificate
Example of a standard SSL certificate (non-wildcard).

In addition, you receive the following benefits from an SSL certificate:

  • The coveted padlock icon in your URL
  • Eliminates unwelcoming messages such as “not secure” next to [AT1] your URL
  • A small boost to your SEO
  • The appearance of a safer, more trustworthy and professional brand/website

The wildcard SSL certificate provides all the same things and more…

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What is Wildcard SSL?

As mentioned above, a wildcard SSL certificate provides your users with a secure connection to your website as well as the other benefits of having an SSL certificate. What makes it different is that you can secure an unlimited number of subdomains with a wildcard SSL certificate. During the issuance process, all you have to do is put an asterisk, such as *.domain.com, in the Fully Qualified Domain Name field to signify you want all of your subdomains secured in addition to your domain name.

Wildcard ssl certificate
An example of a wildcard SSL certificate. Note the * at the beginning of the domain name. That’s how you can tell the difference between a wildcard SSL vs standard SSL.

This is what a subdomain looks like: subdomain.domainname.com. A subdomain basically acts as a mini website or subsection to your main website. Here are a few ways you can use a subdomain:

  • A blog section
  • Sub-brand mini website, such as what Air Jordan is to Nike
  • Product sections (maybe you want each product to have its own look and feel without feeling out of place)
  • A media gallery or portfolio for photos or videos

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Wildcard SSL vs. Standard SSL

The biggest difference when shopping for wildcard SSL vs standard SSL certificates is price. Wildcard SSL certificates are going to be more expensive. Here on SectigoStore.com, standard SSL certificates can go for as low as $8.78 per year while a wildcard SSL certificate can go as low as $78.32.

So, right from the jump (not including validation level or other considerations), you are looking at roughly a $70 difference. However, if you anticipate you’ll use multiple subdomains, it’s worth the extra money. Having multiple single domain SSL certs can get confusing as you have to go through the issuance process every time you need a new cert and not to mention, they will have different expiration dates.

With a wildcard SSL certificate, you can go through the entire SSL lifecycle for your domain and all of your subdomains in one swoop.

SectigoStore.com Has Both Wildcard SSL AND Standard SSL Options!
There you have it, wildcard SSL vs standard SSL explained. For excellent SSL certificate options at affordable prices and issued by a highly respected and longstanding CA, SectigoStore.com is the choice for you.

SSL Certificate for Subdomain – How Do I Get One for My Website?

SSL Vs. Wildcard SSL Certificate – Which SSL Certificate Should I Choose?

SSL/TLS certificates are the foundation of website security. They encrypt the data transferred between the client and server over the wire and provide third-party verification of the applicant’s business identity.

Wildcard Certificate Vs. Regular Certificate

Depending upon your business needs, you can get a single certificate for each domain that you want to secure or get a single certificate that can accommodate multiple domains and/or subdomains. All SSL certificates have a field called the website’s common name (also referred to as the host or the domain name) which dictates the domain to be covered by the certificate.

SSL certificates that cover a range of subdomains at a specific level are known as Wildcard certificates. The top-level domain remains the same, but the subdomain is different.

Consider an example:

Todd has a domain named www.site.com. He can request the CA to secure that single domain with a standard SSL certificate. When he does that most CAs will secure the non-www version for free. So, Todd will now get an SSL certificate for both www.site.com as well as site.com. Please note that the reverse is not true. Had Todd requested a certificate for a non-www version such as site.com the CA would not have issued a certificate with free coverage for www.site.com.

Now suppose www.site.com has multiple sub-domains such as:

  • mail.site.com
  • order.site.com
  • product.site.com
  • blog.site.com, etc.

There is a lot of work and money involved if Todd has to make a request to secure these subdomains individually, and he will end up managing multiple SSL certificates.

With a wildcard SSL certificate, *.site.com will automatically secure mail.site.com, order.site.com, product.site.com, blog.site.com, etc. The asterisk is used to specify the level, and it can only secure one level, not multiple levels. For example, a certificate for *.site.com will not secure test.blog.site.com.

Single Name SSL Certificate SSL Wildcard Certificate
One certificate for one single FQDN (fully qualified domain name), will not secure additional subdomains. One certificate for an unlimited number of subdomains at a specific level.
Example: www.site.com Example: *.site.com secures every subdomain at that level such as order.site.com, blog.site.com, etc.
256-bit strong encryption with 2048-bit RSA signature key 256-bit strong encryption with 2048-bit RSA signature key
Available for all levels of validation – DV, OV and EV A single private key is shared amongst all sub-domains across servers. Unauthorized access to the certificate’s private key can be used to set up a rogue site with a valid SSL certificate giving it undue legitimacy. This sort of breach is hard to detect and impacts the security of all sub-domains, and for this reason, EV (Extended Validation) certificates are not issued in conjunction with wildcard SSL.

Which SSL certificate do I need for my website?

Given the security considerations of a wildcard SSL, if there is only one domain to secure with no intention of adding more subdomains, it makes sense to go for a standard single-domain SSL certificate. However, if you have multiple subdomains and you can live without Extended Validation, it is reasonable to go for a wildcard SSL while taking extra measures against unauthorized access to the private key.

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Wildcard SSL Certificate Price Comparison