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There are plenty of Wildcard SSL options, but here are the top brands to choose from.
A Wildcard SSL Certificate is an incredibly versatile option for securing your web presence. With Wildcards, the name of the game is Sub-Domains. As in, a Wildcard can secure an unlimited number of Sub-Domains on just a single certificate.
So, what’s a Sub-Domain?
Let’s start with a brief lesson on URLs. When you enter the address of a website, there are several components to it. Let’s take a look at an example URL:
In this very basic example, there are only three components. The “https://” is the protocol. There are, for all intents and purposes right now, two protocols to remember. The first is http, which stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol.” This is the protocol that the internet is built on, a web server sends hypertext to a web browser which uses the information it receives to recreate a website as it is intended in the browser window. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that, but we’re getting distracted so we’ll leave it there. The second protocol, https, is just a secured version of http wherein all communication between servers and browsers is encrypted.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Now let’s get to the relevant stuff. In the example URL above, the “.com” portion is the TLD or “Top-Level Domain.” There are a number of these, the most common being: .com, .org, .edu. These are at the highest level of the domain hierarchy and help with organization.
The “example” portion of the above URL is the Main Domain. This is the portion most people think of first when they’re talking about a specific website.
Now, a Sub-Domain is a smaller domain that’s a part of the larger main domain. Some examples of Sub-Domains would be:
You’ve probably seen Sub-Domains countless times, you just may or may not have realized that’s what it was. The Sub-Domain always appears directly before the Main Domain, with a period separating them. Technically even “www” is a Sub-Domain, though most SSL Certificates will cover both the “www” and “non-www” versions of websites for free.
So How Does a Wildcard SSL Work?
A Wildcard SSL is a specific type of SSL Certificate that can secure a single Main Domain and an unlimited number of Sub-Domains. In order to do this, you use an asterisk in place of the Sub-Domain during the CSR generation process.
So for our example, you would enter, “*.example.com” when generating your CSR.
After that, the Certificate Authority you’re purchasing from will go through the process of issuing your certificate, and once you have installed it, it will cover all of your existing Sub-Domains—as many as you have, there is no limit.
There are lots of advantages to a Wildcard SSL Certificate and really only one drawback. The drawback is that you cannot get an Extended Validation Wildcard SSL. If you want the green address bar on your Sub-Domains you’ll have to secure them all individually using either a Multi-Domain SSL Certificate or individual single-site ones.
But, business validation is still available—you can get an Organization Validated Wildcard SSL, which will still display your business details.
Beyond that though, there are a great deal more advantages. For one, cost. Rather than securing each individual Sub-Domain with its own Certificate or SAN SSL, you’re securing them all on one certificate for a single low price.
There’s also a convenience factor. Were you to go the individual route, you would have to purchase, generate CSRs, go through validation, receive, install and configure multiple certificates. Then, when they expired you’d have to keep track of multiple renewal dates in order to continue keeping everything secure. That’s a headache. A Wildcard SSL Certificate alleviates that headache. All of your Sub-Domains and you Main Domain go on a single certificate and you’re only doing everything once.
Best of all, Wildcard Certificates are future-proof. If you ever add a Sub-Domain, just re-issue the Certificate and you’re immediately covered.
So What Certificate Authority is Best?
Certificate Authorities are the organizations that validate businesses and then issue them their security certificates. In order to become a trusted CA, you have to follow a set of agreed-upon guidelines that have been mandated by the CA/B Forum—a collection of CAs and Browsers that meet regularly to regulate the industry.
CAs vary in size and scope. Some are more regional and tend to focus on certain areas of the world, others are intent upon offering broader access to encryption and thus offer free low-level certificates to anyone who wants them, and then there are your major players—the ones who are internationally known and trusted.
At RapidSSLOnline.com we only carry the most well-known and trusted CAs: The Symantec family of brands.
Here’s a quick look at the four CAs we suggest that you buy your Wildcard SSL Certificate from:
- RapidSSL – The RapidSSL brand, as the name might imply, prides itself on speed and efficiency. Offering only Domain Validation-level products, RapidSSL has a lightning-fast, fully-automated issuance process that can have your certificate issued within just minutes.
- GeoTrust – One of the most well-known and most trusted CAs in the world, GeoTrust boasts over 100,000 customers in over 150 countries. GeoTrust provides business-class security solutions that offer an excellent combination of features and value. GeoTrust is a well-known and highly respected name that instantly lends credibility to your website.
- Thawte – The world’s very first global CA, Thawte is renowned for its world-class, multi-language customer support and for its high-quality security products. Thawte brings over 20 years of experience in the web security/encryption sector and provides some of the most generous warranties and one of the most instantly recognizable trust seals in the industry.
- Symantec – The biggest, most trusted name in the entire web security industry is Symantec. Every Symantec product comes backed by a NetSure warranty and the world’s most valuable trust-mark, the Norton Secured Seal. On top of its high-end product offerings and name recognition, Symantec also adds value to every security solution it sells by packaging other products like daily malware scanning and vulnerability assessments to help make your entire web presence as secure as possible.
You can’t go wrong with any of these brands. Depending on your specific situation, one of them will have the perfect option for you and your website.
Buying a Wildcard SSL Certificate is already a terrific idea given the convenience and value it brings to the table. But buying a Wildcard SSL Certificate from one of these CAs ensures you’ll also be able to leverage the brand recognition that comes from working with a world-class third-party security firm and see even more benefits from your purchase.
Compare Industry Top Wildcard SSL Certificates from Trusted Certificate Authorities
|Product Name||RapidSSL Wildcard||Thawte Wildcard||GeoTrust Wildcard|
|Validation Require||Domain||Organization||Basic Organization
|Encryption Strength||256 Bit||256 Bit||256 Bit
|Issuance||In Minutes||1 to 3 Business Days||1 to 3 Business Days
|Mobile Browser Support||Yes||Yes||Yes
|SEO Boost Up||Yes||Yes||Yes
|30 Days Refund Policy||Yes||Yes||Yes
|1 Year Price||$149||$399||$439
|2 Year Price||$130 Per Year||$349 Per Year||$384 Per Year
|Read More||Read More||Read More|
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