Obtaining a wildcard certificate requires a few extra steps compared to a single-domain SSL certificate. First, website owners need to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) that includes the wildcard character (*). The CSR is then submitted to a Certificate Authority (CA) to obtain the wildcard certificate.
Wildcard certificates are available from most major CAs, including Comodo, Symantec, and DigiCert. The cost of a wildcard certificate varies depending on the CA and the level of validation required.
Best Practices for Using Wildcard Certificates
While wildcard certificates offer many benefits, there are some best practices website owners should follow to ensure optimal security and performance.
Use a Dedicated IP Address
To ensure maximum security, it’s recommended to use a dedicated IP address for each subdomain. This helps to prevent cross-site contamination and ensure that each subdomain is independently secured. While it’s possible to use a shared IP address for wildcard certificates, it’s not recommended as it may create security risks.
Regularly Update Certificates
Like all SSL certificates, wildcard certificates have an expiration date. It’s essential to keep track of the expiration date and renew the certificate before it expires. Regularly updating SSL certificates helps to maintain website security and prevent security breaches.
Monitor Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs)
Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs) contain information about revoked SSL certificates. It’s important to regularly monitor CRLs to ensure that any revoked certificates are not in use on your website. If a revoked certificate is still in use, it could leave your website vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Implement Proper Certificate Management
Wildcard certificates can be complex to manage, especially if you have a large number of subdomains. Implementing a proper certificate management process can help ensure that SSL certificates are renewed, updated, and replaced as needed. It’s essential to keep accurate records of SSL certificates, including the expiration date, issuing CA, and the server it’s installed on.
Benefits of Wildcard Certificates
Reduced Administrative Burden
Wildcard certificates can save website owners a significant amount of time and effort in managing SSL certificates for multiple subdomains. With a single certificate, website owners can secure all subdomains under the same root domain, simplifying the SSL certificate management process.
Improved Website Security
Wildcard certificates offer a high level of security for all subdomains under a root domain. With a certificate wildcard, all communication between the user’s device and the server is encrypted, making it difficult for cybercriminals to intercept and steal sensitive data.
Wildcard certificates can be more cost-effective than purchasing separate SSL certificates for each subdomain. While the cost of a wildcard certificate may be higher than that of a single-domain certificate, it’s often more affordable than purchasing multiple single-domain certificates for each subdomain.
Wildcard certificates offer website owners the flexibility to add new subdomains as needed without the need to purchase additional SSL certificates. With a wildcard certificate, website owners can quickly and easily secure new subdomains under the same root domain.
Improved User Experience
Wildcard certificates can improve the user experience by providing a seamless and secure browsing experience across all subdomains under a root domain. Users can be confident that their sensitive data is protected, regardless of which subdomain they are on.