Why a Wildcard Certificate Is Appropriate For Your Website
There are several different types of SSL certificates, find out why a wildcard certificate may be the best option for your business website.
Website security has gone through an evolution over the years. Since SSL certificates were created, they have evolved to three basic packages. These are; “single-domain” certificates which are designed to be used on one particular website, the “multi-domain” certificates that are designed to be used on multiple sites and finally the “wildcard” certificates which are made to be all-inclusive of any sub-domains in a specific domain name. This means that the wildcard certificate secure an unlimited subdomains so long as they are on a single domain.
Wildcard SSL certificates authorize and encrypt all the hosts that use a similar subdomain. Essentially, a wildcard SSL certificate can secure www.example.com, blog.example.com, goods. example.com and any other website within the .example.com domain. This is ideal for large or growing organizations that are diversifying their interests. In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages Wildcard SSL certificates offer.
A large or growing organization needs a similar website to match. Since hosting all the content on one domain is risky, the content is divided among several sub-domains. This way, a web administrator can easily organize content by subdividing it into easy to access categories. In as much as this is an organizational tactic, it’s also a security protocol. In the event a subdomain goes down, the rest of the site remains intact, and the issue can be treated separately.
For example, if you have a primary website about animal food supplies, you can create subdomains for each entry such as cat food, dog food, food for fish, etc. Ordinarily, you would have to buy an individual SSL certificate for each one. With a wildcard SSL certificate, you need just the one. What’s more, the license will also cover subdomains you add in the future.
Wildcard SSL certificates might seem costly at first. However, for an organization with multiple subdomains, the wildcard certificate quickly becomes the more viable alternative. Without the wildcard certificate, the company would have to get an SSL certificate for each of the subdomains. For a website with more than ten subdomains, it quickly becomes a very costly endeavor.
Apart from that, managing the multiple certificates can be a pain. Each of the certificates needs to be installed individually across each of the subdomains you have. This is a lot of work. What’s more, you don’t always know how many subdomains you might need at the point of purchase. Therefore, if you require more, you’ll have to incur additional expenses. The wildcard SSL takes care of all that uncertainty by offering an umbrella covering. You thereby save time and money.
Flexible IP Address Hosting
Some websites are hosted on dedicated IP addresses while some are on shared. While each method of hosting has both its merits and demerits, Wildcard SSL works for both. This is a huge advantage because ordinarily, the administrator would have to purchase additional IPs for each of the sub domains being hosted. By using the wildcard certificate, you have the freedom to use whichever method of hosting is right for you. Some SSL certificates would require the website to be moved to a dedicated IP address so that it can function properly which is not the case here.
The installation process for any SSL certificate matters a lot to administrators. When it comes to wildcard SSL certificates, the installation process is quite simple. The major advantage of the Wildcard Certificates is that once you have already installed it on a particular server, It will secure unlimited sub domains along with primary domain from a single certificate. This not only saves time for the administrator, but it also helps them identify subdomains that have issues. Some of the biggest distributors of this certificate are RapidSSL and Comodo. Both of which have a 24/7 support staff dedicated to helping people in the event that they get stuck during installation.
Satisfies the end-to-end administration needs
Security is paramount when it comes to websites; more so, on those that handle sensitive data. Wildcard SSL certificates come in handy for administrative purposes by maintaining a secure connection between the web browser and web server. This is critical because when the security is lax between these two points, there is a risk involving data being compromised in transit. Apart from that, this certificate also makes sure that the communications between two different web servers stay secure.
Wildcard SSLs also support the SHA-2 algorithm. This Secure Hash Algorithm is a cryptographic function designed by the NSA (National Security Agency). This is the latest high encryption algorithm that comes highly recommended by big brands such as Google and Microsoft.
In as much as the Wildcard SSLs are very beneficial, there are some drawbacks which must be considered before completing a purchase.
One of the main attractions of the wildcard SSL is ease of installation. However, this simplicity has the potential to be a disadvantage to you. If an administrator uses one private key and certificate on multiple private servers and websites, it only takes the compromise of one server to take down the whole setup. Any subdomain that is an extension of your protected domain will seem secure and valid even if the site is set up outside your control.
Some certificate providers such as Comodo and RapidSSL will allow the administrator to create as many new wildcard certificates as needed they use the same domain name. This comes in handy because you can install the certificates on different servers each with a unique private key thus ensuring that if one server is compromised, the others don’t go down too.
Some of the older mobile device operating systems such as Windows Mobile 5 don’t recognize the wildcard SSL certificate. Since the operating system doesn’t recognize wildcard characters, older phones and tablets might cause a security problem.
All in all, Wildcard SSL certificates are a fantastic solution for website owners that want to have a bigger umbrella-like covering for all their domains. For a growing business, this might be the best way to secure the site since it not only allows security for all available sub-domains but also assures covering to all additional subdomains.