Most of your audience prefers to do online research before choosing to buy a product. There are several other reasons why they visit websites to search for relevant information. But are you aware that the internet isn’t safe anymore? Several hackers are lurking out there for their nefarious ends. A study by IBM shows that the average cost of a cyberattack was around US$ 3.86 million in 2020, and it took an average of around 200 days to find out as well.

How can you keep your networks and website safe from a cyberattack? It is essential as any data breach can lead to severe customer churn and loss of trust. It can also lead to heavy penalties by government agencies along with lawsuits. If your business requires you to secure several websites and sub-domains, your webmaster must use a Multi-Domain SSL. 

Understanding an SSL certificate

The SSL/ TLS is a standard that helps to protect any sensitive communication over the internet. It can protect your website and the underlying critical information, like demographics, financial information, etc. It encrypts the communication that can be decrypted only by the designated recipient of the information. As a result, no third party can have unauthorized access to the information nor modify the information being transmitted.

The encryption algorithm helps by scrambling the communication data and does not allow hackers to read it. The TLS is an advanced technology and uses the latest encryption techniques. The term SSL is still used as it is a commonly used term.

Understanding a Multi-Domain SSL certificate

The multi-domain SSL is usually referred to as a Unified Communications Certificate (UCC) or Subject Alternate Name (SAN) certificate. They help secure Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) that can be a domain and a sub-domain. It is ideal for industry behemoths who prefer to have multiple websites for different lines of business.

For example, you have the websites,

  • www.site1.com
  • www.site2.com
  • www.site3.com
  • www.site4.com

If you wish to secure all these domain names, you can use a SAN certificate.

You can also have country-specific websites with domain extensions to have an enhanced outreach with the audience. All of them can be secured by a Multi-Domain SSL certificate. The certificates do not require any dedicated IP addresses for all the hostnames to be secured by it. They are also compatible with most smartphone and desktop browsers.

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It is essential to note that the maximum number of domains that the certificate can cover depends on the Certificate Authority (CA). In most cases, you must mention the domain names you wish to secure. If you want to add domain names midway, you may have to get the certificate re-issued.

Deconstructing a Wildcard SSL certificate

If your business has several sub-domains, then you can secure them together along with the primary domain by using a Wildcard SSL certificate. The certificate can be used to secure several first-level sub-domains through encryption. 

The certificate issued for *.mywebsite.com can also be used for:

  • www.mywebsite.com
  • mail.mywebsite.com 
  • blog.mywebsite.com 
  • store.mywebsite.com

Web admins must also keep in mind that they can secure only the sub-domains at the same level. The certificate would be issued to *.mywebsite.com. As a result, the sub-domains xyz.mail.mywebsite.com, login.blog.mywebsite.com, etc., cannot be protected by the same certificate.

The wildcard refers to a letter that can be understood as a  set of characters and, in this case, it is an asterisk (*) place before the domain name. Using it, you can reduce the difficulties associated with buying separate certificates for each domain name. These certificates are flexible, and you can add several subdomains as you feel necessary. The certificates are compatible with most browsers, and they offer 256-bit encryption.

Multi-Domain SSL certificate vs. Wildcard SSL certificate

If some of our readers are still confused, we look forward to untangling the mess through this section. We will now discuss some of the essential differences between these two types of certificates.

The number of domains and subdomains.

The webmaster must assess the number of domains and subdomains that must be secured. The digital assets assessment is primary as you can then ascertain the type of certificate that will be suitable for you. 

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If you are an industry behemoth with plans to expand geographically and have websites for each business line, the Multi-Domain SSL is ideal for you. It can help you scale up as you grow and encrypt additional domain names if needed.

There could be businesses that use first-level sub-domains and do not wish to add another domain name. For them, it is better to go for a Wildcard SSL certificate that will secure all the subdomains together.

The need for flexibility

The use of SSL certificates is widespread, but you must choose flexible options too. Are you aware that you must re-issue a Multi-Domain SSL every time you add a domain name or a sub-domain? On the other hand, the Wildcard SSL certificates allow you to add sub-domains as long as they are valid.

Compatibility

Web admins must be aware that there are three types of certificates; viz. domain validated, organization validated, and extended validation certificate. All of them have increased levels of authentication and validation from the CAs. As a business, you may prefer to use an extended validation certificate.

The Multi-Domain SSL certificate is available in all three options. A Wildcard SSL comes with only the domain validation and organization validation options.

Differences you must know.

While the Multi-Domain SSL certificates allow you to add several domains and subdomains, you must define them when the certificate is purchased. Moreover, there is also a limitation on the number of domains that you can add. The Wildcard SSL certificate allows you to add an unlimited number of subdomains during the validity period.

Conclusion

Like all other purchases, you must also assess your needs first before searching for the various options available to secure your website assets. If you wish to secure multiple domains and subdomains together and look to scale in the future, the Multi-Domain SSL is suitable. 

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