Standard SSL Vs. Wildcard SSL Certificate: The Differences Explained

Learn about difference between wildcard and standard SSL certificate?

Types of SSL
In today's digital world, website security is a top priority. With cyber-attacks becoming more sophisticated, it's essential to have a secure website that can protect your data and your visitors' information. One way to do this is by getting an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

SSL certificates encrypt the communication between your website and your visitors' browsers, making it harder for hackers to intercept sensitive information. However, with so many SSL options available, it can be challenging to know which one to choose.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at two popular types of SSL certificate options:

  • Standard SSL
  • Wildcard SSL

SSL Cert
Why SSL certificates are Important?

Before pinging into the differences between standard SSL and wildcard SSL, it's essential to understand why SSL certificates are crucial for website security. 

SSL certificates provide a secure connection between your website and your visitors on web browsers and mobile devices. When a visitor enters sensitive information, such as credit card details or personal information, the SSL certificate encrypts the data before sending it to your website's server. This encryption makes it much harder for hackers to intercept information and steal it.

SSL certificates also provide website authentication. When you have an SSL certificate installed, visitors can see a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating that the website is secure. Additionally, some SSL certificates provide a green address bar, indicating that the website has been verified as trustworthy by the issuing authority.

What are Standard SSL Certificates?

Standard SSL certificates are the most common type of SSL certificate. They provide encryption for one
fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or subdomain. For example, if you have a website with the domain name "example.com," a standard SSL certificate would provide encryption for "www.cyberkendra.com" or "trends.cyberkendra.com." However, if you have multiple domains or subdomains that you want to secure, you'll need to purchase additional SAN certificates for each one.

There are three types of standard SSL certificates:

DV SSL Certificates

DV SSL certificates are the simplest and cheapest type of SSL certificate. They only validate that you own the domain name, and they do not require any paperwork or documentation.

OV SSL Certificates

OV certificates require additional documentation to verify your business or organization.

EV SSL Certificates

EV SSL or Extended Validation SSL certificates require even more extensive validation, including a legal opinion letter.

What are Wildcard SSL certificates?

Wildcard SSL certificates provide SSL encryption for one main domain and all of its subdomains on multiple servers. 

For example, if you have a website with the domain name "cyberkendra.com," a wildcard SSL certificate would provide HTTPS encryption for "www.cyberkendra.com," "trends.cyberkendra.com," "tools.cyberkendra.com," and any other subdomain on multiple servers. This makes wildcard SSL certificates a cost-effective solution for websites with multiple subdomains.

Just like standard SSL certificates, there are two types of wildcard SSL certificates: Domain Validated (DV), and Organization Validated (OV). Cheap Wildcard SSL certificates from DV certificates are the simplest and cheapest type of wildcard SSL certificate, while OV wildcard certificates provide the most extensive validation.

Pros and Cons of Standard SSL Certificates

Standard SSL certificates are an excellent choice for websites with only one domain or subdomain to secure. They are easy to obtain, and there are many providers to choose from.

Here are some pros and cons of standard SSL certificates:

Pros

  • Easy to obtain
  • Cost-effective for a single domain or subdomain
  • Provides encryption and website authentication.
  • Unlimited server licenses
  • Unlimited free re-issuances
  • 256-bit SSL encryption algorithm with 2048-bit CSR key signature

Cons

  • Need to purchase additional certificates for each domain or subdomain
  • Limited to one domain or subdomain
  • May require additional validation for OV and EV certificates.

Pros and Cons of Wildcard SSL Certificates

Wildcard SSL certificates are a great option for websites with multiple subdomains. They provide encryption for the main domain and all of its subdomains, making them a cost-effective solution. However, they do have some drawbacks.

Here are some pros and cons of wildcard SSL certificates:

Pros

  • Provides encryption for the main domain and all subdomains
  • Cost-effective for websites with multiple subdomains
  • Provides encryption and website authentication.
  • 256-bit SSL encryption algorithm with 2048-bit CSR key signature
  • 100% compatibility with all web browsers and mobile devices.
  • Unlimited server licenses and re-issuances

Cons

  • More expensive than standard SSL certificates
  • May not be compatible with all subdomains
  • May require additional validation for OV certificates.

Factors to Consider when Choosing between Standard and Wildcard SSL Certificates

Best SSL Options
When deciding between standard SSL and wildcard SSL certificates, there are a few factors to consider.

  1. Domain Coverage: If you only have one domain or subdomain, a standard SSL certificate may be the best option. However, if you have multiple subdomains, a wildcard SSL certificate may be more cost-effective.
  2. Validation Requirements: You need to consider the level of validation you need. If you're a small business or have a personal website, a DV certificate may be sufficient. However, if you're an e-commerce business or deal with sensitive customer information, you may want to consider an OV or EV certificate for added security.
  3. Costing: If you consider your budget. Standard SSL certificates are typically less expensive than wildcard SSL certificates. However, if you have multiple subdomains, purchasing multiple standard SSL certificates can quickly add up. It's essential to weigh the cost of each option against the level of security and validation you need.

Best Practices for SSL Certificate Management

SSL certificate management is an ongoing process. Here are some best practices for managing your SSL certificates:

  • Keep track of SSL certificate expiration dates and renew them before they expire
  • Monitor your website for any SSL errors or warnings
  • Use strong encryption protocols and ciphers
  • Only purchase SSL certificates from reputable providers
  • Keep your SSL certificate private key secure
  • Regularly update your SSL certificate to ensure compatibility with the latest browsers and security standards

Conclusion

Choosing the right SSL certificate is a critical step in securing your website and protecting your visitors' information. Standard SSL certificates are an excellent option for websites with only one domain or subdomain, while wildcard SSL certificates are cost-effective for websites with multiple subdomains. However, if you still have any questions or doubts about the differences between wildcard SSL and standard SSL, then read our full research paper on it. 

When deciding between the two, consider the number of domains or subdomains you need to secure, the level of validation you need, and your budget. Remember to keep track of your SSL certificate expiration dates and follow best practices for SSL certificate management to ensure your website remains secure.

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