When you’re running a business, it’s important to make sure that you’re using all of your resources effectively. One method for this is guaranteeing that your site is appropriately gotten. This is where SSL endorsements become an integral factor.
There are several kinds of SSL certificates: San and wildcard. Both have their own uses, but each has its own limitations as well. We’ll explore the difference between these two types of SSL certificates so you can decide which one best fits your needs!
What is a SAN certificate?
A SAN certificate (otherwise known as a Subject Alternative Name) is a method for utilizing one SSL testament on various spaces.
The normal way of using this SSL certificate cheap is to get one for each domain that you want to secure. For example, if you have two domains, you’d buy two separate certificates and install them on your server.
This isn’t ideal because it’s expensive and inefficient: if you have 5 different domains, you’ll buy 5 different certificates and install them on your server. That’s not only expensive and wasteful, but it also means that when you want to add another domain or change the name of one of your existing domains, you’ll need to go through all of this again!
A SAN certificate solves this problem by allowing you to have just one certificate installed on your server and then tell it which domains should be protected by that certificate via a text file that lists all of those domains.
So if you had 5 different domains, all they’d need was one SAN certificate installed on their server and a text file listing those five domain names in it. When someone visits any one of those 5 sites, they’d see that same green padlock indicating trustworthiness as if they were visiting from any other site.
What is a wildcard certificate?
A wildcard certificate is a computerized endorsement that can be utilized to get numerous subdomains. It’s like a regular certificate, but it uses an asterisk (*) in place of the name of the domain is secured. For example, if you have www.example.com and your domain is example.com, you could use *.example.com as the subject field in your wildcard certificate. This would allow you to secure both www.example.com and test.example.com with one certificate.
When you submit a wildcard certificate request to a Certificate Authority (CA), it will ask for each subdomain that needs to be secured by your wildcard certificate individually this is called name validation. The CA will then check the DNS records for each subdomain to ensure they match what was requested in your request before issuing your wildcard certificate with an expiration date based on which subdomains you’re planning on securing with it.
When should you use a SAN certificate?
A SAN certificate is a certificate that allows you to host multiple domain names on a single IP address. They’re typically used for organizations with many websites or companies that want the ability to manage their own SSL certificate cheap without having to pay each time they want to add a domain.
When should you use a wildcard certificate?
A wildcard certificate is an SSL certificate that works across multiple domains. One of the most outstanding choices for organizations has a few unique sites. It can also be used to secure emails and other services, like FTP and IMAP.
A wildcard certificate is the best choice when you need to secure multiple subdomains under one domain, such as:
- yourdomain.com (for your company’s main website)
- yourdomain.com/myaccount/ (for your customer account page)
- yourdomain.com/myblog/ (for your blog)
The main difference between a wildcard certificate and a SAN certificate is that wildcards allow you to add unlimited subdomains to a single root domain, while SANs allow you to host multiple domains on a single IP address.