Wildcard SSL certificates are among the most versatile and useful that you can obtain for your website, giving you the ability to secure multiple subdomains with a single certificate and one common hostname. This means that you won’t have to worry about securing your site when you start adding new subdomains, making it easier to roll out new features or add more content to your site in the future. With this in mind, here are five of the best cheap wildcard SSL certificates available today.
The most popular wildcard certificate
Let’s Encrypt is currently one of only a few providers that offer cheap wildcard SSL certificates, which have become more popular recently, although there is still only a handful on sale.
- This Free Certificate Authority (CA) provides two types: DV and OV, both good for any subdomain you want to create; they both come with unlimited issuance and automatic HTTPS re-issuance, although they don’t come with support. The latter—OV certificates—are typically more expensive than DV, but Let’s Encrypt sells its own at $0.01 per month (or $1 per year). Although you can buy any number under an OV certificate, you need to register your domain with Let’s Encrypt.
- Comodo EV Multi-Domain: If you run multiple websites or have multiple subdomains, then Comodo EV Multi-Domain is a better option because it offers multi-domain coverage in addition to single domain coverage. It also comes with EV validation and a green address bar display, which means it will be trusted by browsers like Chrome and Firefox as well as mobile devices like Android phones and iPhones. These certifications are important if you want people to trust your website. Prices start at $70/year but go up depending on how many domains you need to be covered. You can get five domains for $120/year or 10 domains for $180/year.
- Symantec Secure Site Extended Validation: Symantec Secure Site Extended Validation has all of the same features as Comodo EV Multi-Domain, including a green address bar and EV certification. However, unlike Comodo’s offering, it does not include multi-domain coverage—if you want to cover several different sites using one certificate, then you’ll need to purchase additional ones from Symantec.
- GlobalSign ECC Domain Validation: GlobalSign ECC Domain Validation is another great choice for those who operate multiple sites or subdomains. Its main advantage over others is that it supports ECC encryption instead of RSA encryption—this adds an extra layer of security against hackers and other cybercriminals. It also includes EV certification and a green address bar. As far as pricing goes, you can get three years of coverage for $60/year or five years for $100/year.
- RapidSSL Wildcard Plus: RapidSSL Wildcard Plus is another inexpensive alternative to Comodo EV Multi-Domain. It covers up to 100 domains and includes all of the standard features such as EV validation and a green address bar. Its biggest drawback is that it doesn’t include multi-domain coverage—but if you’re just looking to secure one site, then it’s worth considering. Prices start at $65/year but increase based on how many domains you need to be covered.
An important decision to make before buying your certificate
You’ll want to choose your issuer (that is, who you purchase your certificate from) wisely. A cheap wildcard SSL certificate can be had for as little as $50/year if you shop around online. But just because a price is low doesn’t mean it isn’t serviceable and secure. Some providers use third-party issuers, meaning that they have chosen a provider and are then re-selling their services at a reduced rate—these are best avoided. Some providers do not actually issue certificates, but instead, sell on authorization codes—again these should be avoided at all costs.
Multi-domain certificates are less expensive than you think
When choosing a cheap wildcard SSL certificate, it’s a common misconception that multi-domain certificates are more expensive than single-domain ones. But that isn’t true: In many cases, multi-domain certs can be as inexpensive as their single-domain counterparts. And depending on your type of business and how you intend to use your website, a wildcard certificate might actually be cheaper than getting several single domains!