What is a Wildcard SSL?

Wildcard SSL

If you want to secure a site with one or more subdomains, a Wildcard SSL is undoubtedly the best choice. If you’re new to the world of SSL certificates, this might be a confusing statement. Not to worry, this post will answer all the questions you have about Wildcard SSLs and hopefully help you decide whether or not you need one.

But first, let’s go over what an SSL certificate does and why they’re so important.

What does an SSL certificate do?

An SSL certificate is a type of digital certificate you can install on your website’s server to bring an extra layer of security to your site, specifically how people connect to it. When someone connects to your server via a client (often a web browser), an SSL certificate will encrypt the connection, meaning that nobody but the people on each end of the connection has access to the data being sent. If anyone tries to intercept the data, all they will see is unreadable, scrambled data.

While SSL is just one element of site security, it’s a crucial one.

How a Wildcard SSL works

So what exactly is a Wildcard SSL, then? A Wildcard certificate is one of three main types of SSL you can get for your site, the others being single-domain SSLs and multi-domain SSLs, the names of which are pretty self-explanatory. The name “Wildcard” is a little less self-explanatory.

When you install a Wildcard SSL on your server, it secures the main domain and any subdomains of one level linked to it. So, for the site example.net, single-level subdomains would look like *.example.net:

  • example.net
  • example.net
  • example.net
  • example.net
  • example.net

The benefits of a Wildcard SSL vs. other SSLs

Wildcard SSLs serve a very specific purpose, but if you do happen to have a domain and multiple subdomains linked to it, it is undoubtedly the best option for securing your sites. There are three key reasons for this:

  1. Automatic security: When you add a Wildcard SSL to your site, it doesn’t only secure the subdomains you already have, but any subdomains you create later. You don’t have to reissue or reinstall your SSL when you do. In fact, it will secure unlimited subdomains, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to expanding your website arsenal.
  2. Convenience: When it comes to having multiple subdomains, securing everything under one certificate with one expiration date is the easiest option. Keeping track of several subdomains with different SSL expiry dates can become chaotic quickly, and you run the risk of losing SSL security if you forget to renew one.
  3. Affordability: Not only is securing all your subdomains under one SSL more convenient, but it can also be the cheaper option, particularly the more subdomains you have.


Hopefully you now know what a Wildcard is and why SSL certificates, in general, are so important. Although the different types of SSL certificates out there can be confusing, when you have a domain with multiple subdomains, a Wildcard SSL is the clear winner.

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What is a Wildcard SSL?

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