WildCard SSL Certificate vs SAN (Multi-Domain) SSL Certificate

In this article we are going to talk about the WildCard SSL certificate and the SAN (Multi-Domain) SSL certificate, since many users have doubts with the characteristics of use of these two SSL certificates. Which to choose?

23 March, 2023

This will depend on how you use it and what you need to protect. There is a wide variety of SSL certificates to meet the security needs of every buyer.

WildCard SSL Certificate

What makes the WildCard SSL certificate so special is its ability to protect multiple subdomains if they share the same domain name.

Website administrators don’t have to worry about managing multiple certificates. All they need is a single WildCard SSL that provides easy administration management.

With the same Certificate you can secure multiple subdomains if they share the same domain name.

A WildCard certificate requested for * .yourdomain.com can secure the following sites:

  • www.sudominio.com
  • seguro.sudominio.com
  • producto.sudominio.com
  • info.sudominio.com
  • loquesea.sudominio.com

You should bear in mind that the asterisk covers or provides the wildcard service, at the Subdomain level indicated when requesting the certificate. For example it covers the 1st level of the main domain.

You can also extend the WildCard certificate on several physical servers at no cost as they have free licenses.

The WildCard certificate shows an asterisk (*) that allows you to replace unlimited subdomains. It is not necessary to buy a new certificate, since it is possible to protect all the subdomains that have the same domain without the need to change the certificate. Website owners do not need to define the subdomain when purchasing the certificate.

The WildCard certificate can protect multiple top level subdomains of a main domain, but to protect other levels it is necessary to have other certificates with the appropriate level for that need.

For example, if the certificate is issued at * .yourdomain.com, then you cannot protect xxx.subdomain.yourdomain.com.

When to choose the SSL WildCard certificate?

The WildCard SSL certificate is most useful when there are many subdomains that need protection and a single certificate solution is desired to manage all of these subdomains.

SAN SSL certificate

The SAN or UCC SSL certificate is used to protect multiple domains and subdomains with a single certificate. A SAN supports FQDN (fully qualified domain name) and has the ability to protect many domains in one certificate.

The owner of a website can protect different domains such as:

An SSL SAN certificate is capable of protecting subdomains with different main domains, whereas the WildCard protects the subdomains of the same main domain.

When you need to protect internal and external domains like sip.mysite.net and sip.mysite.com, an SSL SAN certificate can protect both, while in the case of wanting a WildCard, two certificates must be purchased because both domains are different.

When to choose an SSL SAN (MultiDomain) certificate?

If you want to protect several different domains, as well as their subdomains, an SSL SAN certificate is the ideal option.

Difference between WildCard and SAN SSL Certificate


  • WildCard certificate protects multiple subdomains of the same Main Domain.
  • SAN Certificate (MultiDomain) allows to include several Different Domains and their subdomains in the same SSL Certificate.

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