We’ve got the scoop with everything you need to know about SSL multisite solutions for WordPress platform users
You may not realize this, but a “WordPress multisite SSL certificate” doesn’t actually exist — it’s just a multi-domain SSL certificate that’s used on a WordPress website. So, in a way, a WordPress multisite SSL certificate is just the synonym of a WordPress multi-domain SSL certificate.
This is because a WordPress multisite refers to a network of WordPress sites that you can access through the same WordPress account dashboard; the sites typically share core files, databases, etc.
Now that you know the truth, the next question is, are you aware of what a WordPress multisite SSL certificate covers and how you can deploy it on your server? Let’s explore more details about the WordPress multisite SSL certificate to get answers to your questions.
What Types of Domains Does a WordPress Multisite SSL Certificate Cover?
As the name suggests, a WordPress multisite SSL certificate secures multiple domain names under the same certificate. So, if you’re running various websites on WordPress, you don’t need to buy separate SSL certificates for each of them. There are three scenarios where you’ll need to use a multi domain SSL certificate for your site(s):
1. You Need to Secure Multiple Domains
If you have more than one WordPress website. For example,
2. Your Domains Have Different TLDs
If you have the same domain but with different top-level domains (TLDs) and want to secure them all with a single certificate, you’ll need to have a multi domain certificate. For example,
People often buy the same domain name with different TLDs to protect their brand name. For example, everyone knows the brand name Amazon. What if someone buys a website named Amazon.in and starts the same business in India? Indians would think it’s Amazon (the corporation) itself, but in reality, it’s just a domain with a different TLD that has nothing to do with the original Amazon.com!
However, in the world of SSL certificates, a domain with different TLD is treated as a separate domain, hence why you need a separate SSL certificate to protect the same. While initially may sound like a hassle, the good news is that a WordPress multisite SSL certificate can secure your domains with different TLDs under the same certificate umbrella using subject alternative name (SAN) domains.
3. You Need to Secure Some of Your Subdomains
Subdomains are also considered separate domains in the world of SSL certificates.
So, for example, domain.com/blog and blog.domain.com are treated in different ways when it comes to an SSL certificate. The former is just a page of your website which is, by default, going to get covered under any existing SSL certificate. The latter, on the other hand, is called a subdomain, for which you need a new cert.
Let’s say, if domain.com is the primary domain, the following are its subdomains:
So, if you’re looking to secure your subdomains in WordPress (or any other hosting platform for that matter), you need a WordPress multisite SSL certificate, a wildcard SSL certificate, or a multi domain wildcard SSL certificate.
Buy a wildcard SSL certificate only if you’re using a large number of subdomains because it secures one primary domain and an unlimited number of its accompanying first-level subdomains.
However, a WordPress multisite SSL certificate is a more flexible and convenient option than a wildcard because it can include not only subdomains but also multiple domains, second-level subdomains, domains with different TLDs, etc. The only limitation with a multisite SSL certificate is the number of domains and subdomains it can cover. Although, it can cover up to a total of 2,000 domains under a single certificate (up to 250 for some certificates), you might need to pay extra money for each additional SAN (domain/subdomain) you add after a certain limit.
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How to Get and Install a WordPress Multisite SSL Certificate
Now that you know what a WordPress multisite SSL certificate covers and whatnot, let’s understand how you can install it on your server by following these five steps.
Step 1: Buy a WordPress Multisite SSL Certificate
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Step 2: Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) on Your Server
During this process, you’ll be prompted to write details such as domains you want to secure, the physical address of your organization (or home), company name, etc.
Step 3: Complete the Validation Process
You need to prove your domain ownership to the certificate authority. If you have opted for a business verification such as organization validation (OV) or extended validation (EV), there are more validation steps involved and can take up to five business days.
Step 4: Install Your SSL Certificate
After the successful validation, the certificate authority will issue an SSL certificate for your website/s. Congratulations! Now, you need to install it on your server.
If you’re using a hosting provider other than WordPress.com, you should follow this guide: How to install an SSL certificate on your server.
If you’re getting your domain names and hosting from WordPress.com itself, check out this guide to understand how to enable an SSL certificate via domain mapping. Domain mapping was introduced as a native feature starting in WordPress version 4.5. So, you’ll be able to do this in the WordPress dashboard without needing to use third-party plugins. This will also involve updating your wp-config.php and .htaccess files to enable WordPress multisite.
Step 5: Force HTTPS to Run Your Site via the Secure Protocol
After the successful installation of the SSL certificate on the server, you still need to force SSL on your WordPress dashboard. One of the best plugins to install SSL in WordPress is the Really Simple SSL plugin. After the installing the plugin:
- Go to Plugins, locate Really Simple SSL plugin, click on Settings.
- Click on “Go ahead, activate SSL!”
- If there are no mixed content errors, your website will be shifted from HTTP to HTTPS.
- If you have mixed-content errors, use plugins like Better Search Replace. Under the Search/Replace tab, write your HTTP domain in Search for and HTTPS domain in Replace with fields. Click on Run Search/Replace, and it will replace all the absolute reference HTTP URLs with HTTPS.
Not Sure Which SSL Certificate to Use for Your WP Configuration? Here’s What to Know
While many are acquainted with the term “WordPress multisite SSL certificate,” it’s essential to highlight that this term isn’t universally recognized. Contrary to common belief, there isn’t a distinct SSL certificate tailored just for WordPress multisites.
What’s commonly addressed by this term is a multi-domain SSL certificate applied to a WordPress website. In simpler terms, the phrase “WordPress multisite SSL” serves as a descriptor for a multi-domain SSL certificate within the WordPress context. Although we touched on this earlier, it bears repeating.
Furthermore, distinct protocols exist for SSL prerequisites in subdirectories, subdomains, and multiple domains. These protocols establish a systematic approach to network security, ensuring all parts of a multisite arrangement receive adequate protection. All of this is stuff you’ll have to decide when setting up your WordPress multisite.
Different configurations and aspects to consider when selecting SSL certificates for various WordPress multisite structures:
|Multisite as Subdirectories
|Multisite as Subdomains
|Multisite as Different Domains
|Multisite as Multiple Domains and Subdomains
|Supports multiple subdirectories under one domain.
|Uses distinct subdomains for sites within the primary network.
|Configures multiple separate domains in a single network (domain mapping).
|Secures multiple subdomains across various domains under a single certificate.
|SSL Certificate Type Needed
|Standard SSL Certificate
|Wildcard SSL Certificate
|Multi-Domain SSL Certificate
|Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificate
|Secures the main domain and all its subdirectories.
|Secures the main domain and any number of subdomains and subdirectories.
|Secures multiple distinct domains and subdirectories.
|Covers multiple domains, subdomains, and subdirectories, simplifying certificate management at scale.
|Update the SSL certificate regularly to maintain security standards.
|Ensure all subdomains are listed in the Wildcard SSL Certificate.
|After domain mapping, use a multi-domain SSL certificate for comprehensive security.
|Regularly verify that all domains and subdomains are correctly included in the certificate.
|Simplified management with a single domain structure.
|Add new subdomains without needing to reissue the SSL certificate.
|Can secure up to 250 different Subject Alternative Names (SANs) upon request. Utilizes Server Name Indication (SNI) for multiple site security.
|Streamlines certificate management across multiple domains with a single certificate. Adds or removes domain and subdomain coverage without reissuing certificates.
Why Do You Need WordPress Multisite SSL Certificate?
The role of SSL in WordPress multisite configurations goes beyond just encryption. It offers a multi-faceted approach to site network security and management. Additionally, using an SSL/TLS certificate adds your verified digital identity to your WordPress multisite configurations. This helps increase the overall security and credibility of your multisite digital assets.
Here are some points that explain its integral function in such setups:
Provides Website Network-Wide Encryption
In a WordPress multisite setup, using a single SSL certificate can effectively secure data transactions across multiple sites. This approach helps network administrators to optimize the costs and enhance the efficiency of the encryption process. Users can seamlessly navigate between various sites without encountering any security issues, ensuring a consistent and secure experience.
Promotes Digital Trust
SSL certificates not only secure individual sites but also contribute to the overall trustworthiness of the entire multisite network.
Improves Search Engine SEO Rankings
Enabling SSL on a multisite network amplifies the SEO benefits. Search engines recognize the secure status of the network, potentially elevating the ranking of all sites within it.
Aids Regulatory Compliance
Streamline your data protection compliance with industry and regional regulations by enabling SSL/TLS security across your network. This is particularly relevant for networks that include e-commerce or data-sensitive sites.
Gives You More Bang For Your Buck
Managing multiple SSL certificates for individual sites can be cumbersome and costly. In a multisite network, a single wildcard or multi-domain SSL certificate can suffice, reducing administrative overhead.
Final Thoughts on WordPress Multisite SSL Certificates
An SSL certificate is inevitable for any website. But when people have number of websites, installing the certificate on each site separately makes the entire process tedious. Luckily, with multisite SSL certificates, you just need to go through the entire installation process once and all your websites will show the padlock sign simultaneously. Plus, you are saving money, too. A multisite SSL is a true blessing for everyone who has more than just one website. If you buy it from SectigoStore.com, you can get a multisite SSL certificate for as little as $25.60/year.