Difference Between Wildcard SSL Vs SAN Certificate

Find out which multi-domain certificate is better for your needs When it comes to using a single SSL certificate for multiple domains, you have two basic options available. To help you understand which is best for your particular needs, we’re going to go over both Wildcard and SAN SSL certificates so that you can make an informed decision. The good news is that they’re both great ways to secure multiple websites, but you’re going to want to get the one that best matches your needs.

What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

A Wildcard SSL certificate allows you to secure multiple subdomains with just the one certificate. You can add subdomains without having to redeploy the certificate, which makes it a lot easier. If you use a lot of subdomains currently and add them frequently, this is definitely the way to go. You can get the security of HTTPS without having to shell out a lot of money for separate SSL certificates.

What is a SAN SSL Certificate?

A SAN SSL certificate is similar in that you can use a single certificate for multiple domains, but there are some major differences that you need to know about. For one, you can use this with multiple top-level domains as well as subdomains. However, when adding domains, you need to have a complete list compiled with the SSL certificate. This means you need to redeploy the SAN SSL certificate each time you add a server to the list.

Considerations to Make

Now that you know a little more about both types of SSL certificates, we’re going to go over two major considerations that you need to make.

Type of Server Setup?

If you very rarely deploy new online services or websites that need to be secured and have a mix of top level domains that you use, a SAN SSL certificate is going to likely be a better option. You will be able to secure all your different domains with the single certificate, which is easy if you’re doing it once and your network configuration doesn’t change. On the other hand, as mentioned above, if you are constantly developing and deploying websites on subdomains, going with a Wildcard SSL certificate makes a lot more sense. While you can’t use different top level domains, when you add a subdomain you don’t need to change anything. It will use HTTPS out of the box.

Cost and Budget?

Another consideration you’re going to want to make is based on the cost of the different certificates as well as your budget. It’s important not to make price the main thing you use to determine what type of SSL certificate you buy. While Wildcard and SAN SSL certificates cost more, they can handle multiple servers. That means you don’t have to buy separate certificates for each server you’re using. Over the long term, this can save quite a bit of money. Additionally, you might want to shop around to get prices from different Certificate Authorities, but it’s vital to remember that good customer service and reliability is worth its weight in gold.

What SSL Certificate is Right for You?

This is a question only you can answer, but if you’re still confused after reading the information above, give us a call or send us an email to get the answers you need to decide which type of SSL certificate is going to work best for you. In general, if you want to add unlimited subdomains with very little hassle, a Wildcard SSL certificate is a good choice. On the other hand, if you won’t be frequently adding subdomains or need to use multiple domains, going with a SAN certificate is a better idea.

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