How To Use A Wildcard SSL Certificate For Multiple Subdomains
For those new to SSL certificates, it is very common to confuse different options or perhaps to select a product that covers more than you need or that doesn't provide protection to all areas of the website. At Comodo we want you to make sure you get the right security product for your needs, so we offer different SSL certificates with different features and uses.
All SSL certificates today use a modern version of Secure Sockets Layer. This is the original security developed by Netscape way back in 1994. Today's upgraded and updated versions are more correctly known as TLS or Transport Layer Security are both cryptographic security measures or protocols to protect data sent over a computer network through the internet.
Originally with SSL technology each website protected had to have its own unique IP, which meant even a subdomain would need to have a unique SSL if it were separately named from the main domain. As websites became more complex and moved from a few pages to hundreds of directories, subdomains and separate divisions, the need for something more efficient and effective was obvious.
This is where the Wildcard SSL/TLS certificate came into play. This is a single certificate that can be used to secure a main domain as well as subdomains. Websites often choose to use subdomains under a main domain to provide a unique address to direct traffic to one particular part of the website.
A Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple subdomainsWildcard SSL certificate for multiple subdomains provides the coverage needed to secure all subdomains at one low price and with limited maintenance and installation requirements.
The Basics of Domain Name Systems (DNS)
There are limitations to how a Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple subdomains can be used. This is based on the DNS or Domain Name Systems protocol used universally to identify a specific website and a specific subdomain (webpage) within that site.
Each website has a unique fully qualified domain name or FQDN. This is translated in the browser into a unique address, which is similar to a unique physical address for a business or a home.
There are three parts to the FQDN. The last section, the .com, .net or .org (or any of the other possible combinations) is known as the Top-Level domain. Next to the left is the Second-level domain. This is the name that is selected for the website by the website owner or the IT manager. In front of this is the subdomain, which has always traditionally been the www component of the FQDN.
To get to a website a user has to type in all three of these components correctly, then the system reads that as an IP address and brings up the website, actually the specific section of the website assigned to that IP address.
You can set up subdomains under the main domain to direct visitors to specific pages or directories of the website. This would allow people to move directly to the picture or the payment section of the site without having first to go to the main domain and navigate the site internally.
Since each of these "subsections" of the main domain have to be uniquely identified with an address, they have a different subdomain name. Instead of www, they may use the subdomain indicator of payments, photos, login or any other word or letter and number combination.
The Benefits of the Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple subdomains
The obvious drawback to the DNS issues is that each different subdomain would need its own unique SSL certificate. This is where the Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple subdomains comes into play.
When you generate the Certificate Signing Request simply use the (*) as the wildcard place holder for the www. This allows all the subdomains under the second-level domain (your website name) to use the same SSL certificate.
Unlike some Certificate Authorities, Comodo provides unlimited licenses of our Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple subdomains on physical servers. We also allow you to add as many subdomains as you need, all at our quoted price. We don't add on extra fees to use the SSL certificate on additional servers and we do not limit the number of possible subdomains.
If you have questions about the options and benefits offered with our Comodo Wildcard SSL certificate, talk to our sales team. We are easy to reach by phone at +1 888 266 6361, or you can reach us through the live chat system on the website at https://www.instantssl.com.