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What Is A Wildcard?

Do you know what a Wildcard is? Have you tried it? Well, in this post you will learn all about this and where one can get one.

Security is a major concern when it comes to online systems. Every day people lose lots of cash and other assets when it comes to security threats.

Technology has come to improve how we handle things. Starting from the Internet which is the largest market and home for businesses.

It has come to provide the necessary tools to keep your business up and running. Has helped many set up and keep reaching out to many.

Unlike the old days where one used posters and paid people to create awareness for you; these days social media comes a long way to help.

One can also target the audience and measure the results. Well before we get into wildcard information let’s get more insights.

So what is a wildcard?

It’s a secure encryption layer that protects your data. It protects your domain and its subdomains; are single certificates with a wildcard character (*) in the domain name field.

Wildcard helps you secure your site, domain, and subdomains using a single wildcard. It covers all instead of using multiple certificates.

It’s an advanced SSL certificate; SSL- a secure socket layer which is a protocol that encrypts data from a browser to a web server. It makes sure data remains intact till it reaches the intended target. 

How do Wildcard SSL certificates work?

It issues certificates automatically. Once you sign up for a wildcard, your domain and subdomains are all secured under a single certificate

A domain is a name for your website; the subdomain is the name that falls under your subdomain; comes before the main domain in the URL.

Besides, with a wildcard, you don’t have to reissue a certificate if you add a subdomain.

Benefits of Wildcard SSL

  • Security- manages to secure your domain, website, and subdomains under a single SSL.
  • Cost-effective- paying for a different certificate to secure each subdomain is costly.
  • Easy management- one certificate handles all your security; you are not handling multiple certificates, you are handling one.
  • Compatibility- integrates with many browsers either desktop or mobile browsers.
  • Scalability- they allow one to add subdomains and they will be included in the security. 

Cons:

  • Some older mobile device operating systems, do not recognize the wildcard character (*).
  • One has to reissue a certificate once one is compromised; if you have used it on multiple servers.
  • Risk of unauthorized access; when you share a private key with the subdomains.

A wildcard is generally used to secure growing sites. As such helps save the cost of having to buy a certificate for every subdomain.

What is the difference between an SSL certificate and a wildcard SSL certificate?

 

Wildcard SSL
Secures a domain and all subdomains Secures a domain and one subdomain; however some only protect a domain.
A single private key is shared amongst all sub-domains across servers Available for all levels of validation – DV, OV, and EV.
Expensive Cheap
Go through the SSL lifecycle for your domain and all of your subdomains in one swoop. You have to go through each one by one.

 

Should I use an SSL wildcard?

Yes, as seen above one gets advantages as compared to using a regular SSL. Supports growth of sites and keeps them safe.

Other types of SSL

SSL comes in three types:

Extended Validation (EV)

Provides the highest level of trust; used to protect businesses and large websites.

  • Validates control of the domain
  • Enables https and the padlock image
  • Authenticates the legitimacy of an organization, adding a level of trust
  • Verifies the applicant has the right to request an EV SSL and is in good standing with the organization.
  • Shows organization details in the certificate information
  • Activates the green bar in select web browsers
  • Issues in 1-5 days

Organization Validation (OV)

Authenticates the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name; it conducts some vetting of the organization.

  • Validates control of the domain
  • Enables https and the padlock image
  • Authenticates the legitimacy of an organization, adding a level of trust
  • Shows organization details in the certificate information
  • Issues in 1-3 days

Domain Validation (DV)

It validates the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name. Show trust indication with a padlock on a browser.

  • Validates control of a domain
  • Enables https and the padlock icon in browsers
  • Issues within minutes.

 

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