When To Use A Wildcard SSL Certificate On Multiple Levels

Simple websites tend to require simple solutions for everything from design to security. For a very small business site or a personal blog, it may only be necessary to have a single main domain name and not use any type of subdomain systems. However, once you start getting different sections or divisions within a website, or for large ecommerce sites or corporate websites, it makes good sense to tap into the benefits of subdomains.

All websites that collect any type of information including personal information, payment information or where any type of data is exchanged should use SSL/TLS protocols. If you are new to this, you may be wondering what is SSL and why is it so important?

The Basics of SSL/TLS

SSL and TLS are actually the same things, with TLS or Transport Layer Security the newer version of secure socket layer. This is a type of encryption system that uses public keys to transmit information between the browser (client) and the server. This is only done after the browser and the server have recognized each other as trusted, through the SSL certificate, and set up a secure connection.

This entire SSL handshake between the browser and the server takes just fractions of a second to establish. The encrypted data is transmitted from the website to the server where a private key, held only by the server, is used to decrypt the data.

Each SSL certificate works with one Fully Qualified Domain Name. The IP address for a website is the computer version of the URL the user types in. For the user, the fully qualified domain name or FQDN includes the top-level domain, the second-level domain and the subdomain.

The top level domain is the last part of the name which may be .com, .gov, .edu, .org or any number of possible options. This is sometimes known as the domain extension.

The middle section of the FQDN is the name of the website. This is selected by the website owner. The first part of the name, the www, is actually the subdomain. It is possible to create a subdomain for specific pages within a website. For example, if you had a gallery for project photos it could be gallery.companyname.com. This would be a subdomain of www.companyname.com.

When you choose to use a Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple levels, you are really indicating multiple subdomains. Instead of having to have one certificate for each page with a unique subdomain name, you can simply use one certificate to secure the main domain (the www name) as well as all subdomains. This is done by using an asterisk (*) as a placeholder in the subdomain location on the certificate. In the example above this would look like *.companyname.com.

It is also possible with a Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple levels to further provide second-level subdomains. This is often required if there are specialized requirements for grouping or storing data. For instance, if you could use a Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple levels to secure second-level subdomains under the subdomain of mail.mycompany.com.

This would look like *.mail.mycompany.com on the CSR (Certificate Signing Request) as well as on the certificate itself. For a large company with hundreds of employees the (*) could be a placeholder individual employee names, departments, projects or any other types of data that needed to be stored.

The Reason Why

In addition to the ease of organizing and directing people to specific areas of website, the use of subdomains protected with a Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple levels also can be instrumental in SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is critical for moving your website up the search engine rankings. By using subdomains, you can target SEO or the strategic use of keywords and content to create niches with the site. As each niche (subdomain) is seen as a separate entity by the search engines, it can boost your standings and your website visibility.

With the use of a Wildcard SSL certificate for multiple levels, you also have no concerns about safe transmission of data throughout the site. Without this, there is the need to redirect traffic to specific pages which can cause confusion and distrust with online consumer.

For answers to all your questions on SSL/TLS products, talk to our knowledgeable sales staff at +1 888 266 6361. Spend some time browsing the site at https://www.instantssl.com, or talk to us through live chat or email. We are here to help you get just the product you need.

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