Step-by-step instructions for installing a Wildcard on multiple servers
One of the main benefits of a Wildcard SSL certificate is that a single certificate can allow you to secure multiple subdomains simultaneously without needing to get different certificates issued for each of them. This is one of the main reasons why a Wildcard SSL certificate is favored by large corporations as well.
If you are thinking “How can I use one SSL certificate on multiple servers?”
In this article, we’ll show you how to install wildcard SSL certificate on multiple servers that host different subdomains. Basically, the process for installing a wildcard SSL certificate on multiple servers is the same as for a single certificate until it’s time to install the certificate on the other servers.
How to Install Wildcard SSL Certificate Multiple Servers
There are two major steps involved in installing Wildcard SSL certificate multiple levels subdomains — Generating the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and then installing the CSR.
Generating the CSR
The process of generating a Certificate Signing Request varies greatly between different server software. The following are the major steps for the Microsoft IIS platform and a Linux-based platform such as Apache, Tomcat or others.
- Microsoft IIS platform: You need to access the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager. Go to Administrative Tools> Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager. Select the correct server name and then click on Server Certificates > Complete Certificate Request. Now provide the location of the certificate file.
- Linux Platform: Generate the CSR via the OpenSSL command line.
While generating the CSR, you’ll be asked to fill in specific pieces of information. These will include the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) along with all three parts of the full FQDN, i.e., www.mywebsite.com. For a Wildcard SSL, you’ll have to replace the “www” with the Wildcard placeholder, an asterisk (*).
The CSR will be generated for one of your servers along with a private key file. You need to keep the key secure and ensure that only the administrator has password-protected access to it.
Installing the Certificate
Once the CSR has been generated, you need to submit it (along with some information) to the Certificate Authority’s website. For example, if you’re getting a Wildcard SSL from RapidSSL or GeoTrust, you need to submit the CSR to RapidSSL or GeoTrust.
Within a few minutes, you’ll receive the files you need to complete the installation. You will need to unzip them and place them in the correct directories.
This step can be completed with the use of a manager-system or using OpenSSL. The certificate will have to be installed to the original server. And, if you use different platforms for multiple servers, then you can use the copy to convert the format of the file for other servers. Once the certificates are installed into a server, you need to export it (along with the private key), possibly convert the format (for different platforms), and install it to other servers.
RapidSSL or GeoTrust provides highly qualified tech support that can also guide you through this process.
What are Wildcard SSL Certificates?
A Wildcard SSL Certificate can secure your primary website domain along with all of its subdomains with a single certificate. For example, a certificate for www.mywebsite.com can also secure blog.mywebsite.com and store.mywebsite.com.
What is a Wildcard Certificate common name?
A Wildcard Certificate common name is the fully qualified domain name that you want to secure with a certificate. While specifying the common name, you have to insert an asterisk (*) to the left of the common name.
For example, if you want to secure subdomains like blog.mywebsite.com and store.mywebsite.com, you have to request a certificate for *.mywebsite.com.
If you want to secure subdomains like mail.www.mywebsite.com and blog.www.mywebsite.com, you have to request a certificate for *.www.mywebsite.com.
Can I use a Wildcard SSL Certificate on multiple servers?
Yes, a Wildcard SSL Certificate can be used on multiple servers. The process to do so has been illustrated in the “How to Install Wildcard SSL Certificate on Multiple Servers” section of this article.
Can I create a Wildcard SSL Certificate for the second level domain?
Yes, you can create a Wildcard SSL Certificate for two levels. You can secure your subdomains within the primary domain, and you can also cover subdomains within a subdomain with a single Multi-Domain Wildcard certificate. However, a standard Wildcard can only secure subdomains at a single level.
The Best Wildcard SSL Certificate Resources
- Wildcard SSL Certificate and Easy Answers
- How to Generate a WildCard SSL Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for Apache + Mod SSL + OpenSSL
- Setting Up a Wildcard SSL on CPanel/WHM
- The Difference Between Multi-Domain SSL and Wildcard SSL Certificates
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