What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate? Should You Buy Wildcard SSLs?

In this time and age where hackers and social engineers pose a threat to the safety of much online information, security becomes the main concern of many online users out there. In fact, they are now relying on many online security tools such as SSL certificates whenever they encode their information on online forms from many emails or other sites. Fully known as Security Socket Layer, what the SSL does is that it encrypts the data being received or transferred from server to server, and this is what avoids any acts of stealing shared online data as the exchange takes place. One of the SSL certificates being used for modern day security is the Wildcard SSL. Based on the term itself, what this tool does is it validates every data from the main domain, using sub domains as wildcard entries. This is beneficial for those site owners that have various sub domain entries in one domain, protecting everything in the process.

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The said wildcard process applies in this manner. Supposedly that you will use the SSL certificate to validate information from www (dot) maindomain (dot) com, you will only need to process data on the URL as * (dot) maindomain (dot) com and every sub domain will be tested and verified, regardless of how many sub domains there are available. Whether you have www (dot) admin (dot) maindomain (dot) com, www (dot) mail (dot) maindomain (dot) com, or www (dot) calendar (dot) maindomain (dot) com, all of them will be authenticated only using one certificate for everything, which can be very useful in many situations.

Considered as cost-effective and efficient, it takes away the possibility of owning various certificates just to verify various sub domains in one domain, which proves a lot of advantages, in many aspects. Knowing that most corporations and multinational companies maintain more than 50 sites, even depending on some main product line, it is economical to have a SSL certificate that would only focus on main domains and have the rest checked. The standard Wildcard SSL usually works for companies that have operating systems or internet browsers that have 40 or 56-bit ciphers, but could also be arranged to work on higher calibers like 2048-bits, in respect to the preferences of a company or business who utilizes the certificate. It eliminates the stressful process of renewing each sub domain certificate, in case the expiration has been met.

Drawbacks to Wildcard SSL Certificates

While it can be engaging and beneficial to business because it would save time, money, and effort, every positive thing also has its negative effects, which should be consciously known, especially in utilizing this kind of SSL Certificate.

  1. One of the most significant drawbacks of having a Wildcard SSL is the reduction of security for other sub domains. This is because of the very same advantage of “one size fits all”. If the certificate can be toppled down easy, then the rest should follow, just like a domino piece that lets everything fall down when one has been tapped.
  2. Managing a sub domain with the use of this certificate can be complicated at times, especially when you revoke a certificate on one sub domain. You will be forced to cancel everything else included on the other sub domains, with the idea of having everything included on one main domain.
  3. Wildcard SSL is quite new, which is why older operating systems or browsers may not work with it, especially when talking about compatibility issues. In order to have this remedied, you may need to put in some extra codes or configure your server a bit to have the certificate accepted and utilized by the system.
  4. Since Wildcard SSL work with the main domain and includes the sub domains for validation, most companies that offer this certificate do not offer warranties for usage.

 

What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?  Should You Buy Wildcard SSLs?

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