Wildcard Certificate vs Standard SSL Certificate-Which Is Better?
Secure Socket Layer offers best security protection to websites from the increasing menace of cyber attacks. In 2018, Google has made HTTPS mandatory for all websites to provide security benefits and also reward sites that use SSL encryption with higher search engine rankings. Even users tend to show greater trust and confidence in websites that use SSL certificate as these sites tend to be more secure and provide increased data privacy and integrity to their personal information.
There are different types of SSL certificates available in the market including Wildcard SSL certificate, EV SSL certificates, Domain Validation including Unified Communications Certificate. In this article, we will discuss about standard SSL and wildcard SSL certificate.
Standard SSL certificates
Regular or standard SSL certificates also known as Domain Validated Certificate is known as Single Domain certificate as it can secure a single primary domain or a single sub domain at a time. This certificate is issued by the Certificate Authority and there are many SSL providers from which you can purchase it for instance, it is available at cheap SSL shop that offers it at budget price. They are ideally suited for individuals with small businesses having a single website without any multiple sub domains.
Standard SSL certificate authenticates the identity of your website while ensuring that all the information transmitted between your browser and server remains secure. It encrypts all the personal information including login information such as username, passwords along with financial details including credit card details.
Key Features of Standard SSL certificates
Standard SSL certificates have a domain validation which is the basic minimum level of validation which is available for this type of certificate. Thus, the user only needs to exhibit their domain ownership which is quick and easy when compared to other types of SSL certificates. Email verification, CNAME, and file-based verification are the three methods through which domain validation may be completed.
Standard SSL certificate can cover only a single website, but a standard SSL certificate lacks the capacity to add more than a single domain. On the other hand, if you have more than one website or multiple sub domains, you will need to purchase a separate SSL certificate for them,
Standard SSL certificate may not be suitable for websites that requires business validation, in this case, it is recommended to use EV or OV SSL certificate. Such certificate is ideal for single domain website, SMBs, blogs and forum platforms.
Wildcard SSL certificates
Wildcard SSL certificate helps to secure primary domain along with unlimited number of first level main domain using a single certificate. Thus, wildcard SSL certificates may be extended to additional sub domains and proves to be cost effective making it suitable for both medium to large enterprises.
Key advantages of Wildcard SSL certificate
- Allows to secure unlimited domains
A single wildcard SSL certificate can help to secure all the subdomains together without the need of buying multiple SSL certificates for every domain.
- Cost effective and efficient
Wildcard SSL certificate can prove to be an economical option in the long run as it can be used to secure multiple sub domains in addition to the main domain using a single certificate.
- Simplifies development process
This type of SSL certificate is suitable for development teams that need to deploy and secure test websites and applications. They are also used popularly among hosting environments and can be deployed on many websites using a single IP address.
Wildcard SSL certificates used on multiple servers makes use of the same private ley which may prove to be risky as if one server is compromised, the rest would have also have to face similar consequences.
Wildcard certificate v/s Standard SSL certificate
- Wildcard SSL certificate offers protection to the domain and other subdomains within the hierarchy and provides a single security solution for all the sub domains. However, standard SSL certificate has the capacity to provide protection to a single domain or sub domain.
- Interestingly, wildcard certificate may not be able to protect the subdomains if they are more than one level apart from the root domain. This may be possible only using multi domain wildcard certificate which is more expensive than the wildcard SSL certificate.
- Wildcard certificates may not be bought using extended validation whereas Standard SSL offers this advantage as it can be purchased along with all the three types of validation including Domain validation, Organization Validation and Extended Validation,
- Wildcard certificates can save time and cost of managing sub domain management using a single certificate, whereas Standard certificate is more time consuming as individual certificate management is required for each sub domain.
- Standard SSL certificate can be installed on a multiple server if required and can help to secure both www and non www versions of the website. Wildcards allow securing sub domains and the advantage is if you add a sub domain, then there is a need to re-issue the certificate. Only main domain has advantage of www and non-www versions.
- CSR generation is possible using asterisk “*” followed by the domain name in wildcard certificate whereas CSR generation can be done using the domain name without using “*”
The biggest dilemma faced by enterprises is to decide whether to opt for SSL certificate or wildcard SSL certificate. Thus, if you have a single website and you may not be adding multiple domains in the future, then standard SSL may be the best option. On the other hand, if you are planning to extend your domains with sub domains later, then wildcard certificate may be a better option.
However, the most important advantage of using any SSL certificate is to encrypt any communication between the clients and the servers which makes it inaccessible by third parties. Thus, enterprises must evaluate their website and business requirements before choosing the right SSL certificate which can provide security and added protection to their websites. Overall, small websites can do better with standard SSL certificates, whereas medium to large enterprises may find wildcard certificate to be more beneficial to their needs.