SAN Certificate vs Wildcard SSL Certificate - What's the Difference?

Apr 25, 2020
Internet Security


Welcome to Darrigan Designs, your trusted source of information in the arts and entertainment - visual arts and design industry. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore and compare the differences between a SAN certificate and a wildcard SSL certificate. Whether you are a designer, artist, or creative professional, understanding the nuances of SSL certificates is crucial in safeguarding your online presence.

What is an SSL Certificate?

Before we delve into the specifics of SAN and wildcard SSL certificates, let's first understand the fundamental concept of an SSL certificate. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that establishes a secure and encrypted connection between a web server and a web browser.

SSL certificates play a vital role in ensuring the security and integrity of data transmitted over the internet. It provides a layer of trust and authentication, assuring users that their sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, and personal data, are protected against unauthorized access and interception.

What is a SAN Certificate?

A SAN (Subject Alternative Name) certificate, also known as a multi-domain certificate, is a type of SSL certificate that allows you to secure multiple domain names or subdomains with a single certificate. It provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness for businesses and individuals who manage multiple websites or web applications.

For instance, if you own and have several subdomains, such as and, a SAN certificate enables you to secure all these domains and subdomains under a single certificate.

Advantages of a SAN Certificate

The main advantages of a SAN certificate include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: With a SAN certificate, you can secure multiple domains and subdomains with a single certificate, reducing the overall cost of maintaining separate certificates for each domain or subdomain.
  • Flexibility: SAN certificates offer flexibility, allowing you to easily add or remove domain names or subdomains from the certificate as your business requirements change.
  • Simplified management: Managing one certificate for multiple domains is easier and more efficient compared to handling individual certificates for each domain.

What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

A wildcard SSL certificate is another type of SSL certificate that allows you to secure a main domain and all of its subdomains. It is an excellent choice for organizations with a large number of subdomains or those planning to expand their online presence in the future.

For instance, if you own and have subdomains such as and, a wildcard SSL certificate secures not only the main domain but also all subdomains, regardless of their names.

Advantages of a Wildcard SSL Certificate

Some advantages of a wildcard SSL certificate include:

  • Simplicity: With a wildcard SSL certificate, you only need one certificate to secure all subdomains of a domain, reducing the complexity of managing multiple certificates.
  • Coverage: A wildcard SSL certificate automatically secures any new subdomains created in the future, saving you from hassle and additional costs.
  • Cost-effective scalability: If you plan to expand your online presence and create additional subdomains, a wildcard certificate offers a cost-effective solution by covering all existing and future subdomains.

Choosing Between SAN and Wildcard SSL Certificates

When deciding between a SAN certificate and a wildcard SSL certificate, it's important to consider your specific needs and requirements. Below are some factors to consider:

Number and complexity of domains/subdomains

If you have a small number of domains or subdomains with straightforward naming conventions, a wildcard SSL certificate may be the more suitable choice. On the other hand, if you have a diverse range of domains and subdomains with different naming structures, a SAN certificate provides the necessary flexibility.

Future scalability

If you anticipate expanding your online presence and creating new subdomains in the future, a wildcard SSL certificate ensures these subdomains are automatically secured. However, if your domain/subdomain structure is unlikely to change, a SAN certificate may suffice.

Cost considerations

Consider your budget and the cost implications of each certificate type. While a wildcard SSL certificate may have a higher upfront cost, it offers cost-effective scalability for organizations with numerous subdomains. A SAN certificate can be more cost-effective if you have a smaller number of domains/subdomains.


In conclusion, both SAN certificates and wildcard SSL certificates provide valuable security for multiple domains and subdomains. The choice between the two depends on factors such as the number and complexity of your domains/subdomains, future scalability requirements, and cost considerations.

At Darrigan Designs, we understand the importance of protecting your online presence. Whether you choose a SAN certificate or a wildcard SSL certificate, our team of experts is here to assist you in securing your artistic and design ventures. Trust in our expertise and establish a secure online ecosystem today.

David Gunn
I found the comparison to be extremely useful in clarifying the distinctions between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates.
Nov 9, 2023
Lori Vierow
The comparison between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates is well-explained. It's exactly what I was looking for.
Oct 31, 2023
William Evans
That's helpful! 🙌🏼
Oct 16, 2023
Kelly Liu
The details provided about SAN and wildcard SSL certificates are very informative.
Oct 16, 2023
Informative and useful.
Oct 5, 2023
Jim Blevins
The article gives a nice overview of the differences between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates.
Aug 31, 2023
Richard Resler
The article is a well-articulated comparison that is sure to benefit designers seeking clear insights.
Aug 25, 2023
Sunil Tandon
I appreciate the clear and concise breakdown of the differences between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates.
Aug 16, 2023
Brian Kagen
I never knew the differences between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates until I read this article. Thank you for the education!
Jul 24, 2023
John Evans
As a designer, I'm grateful for this helpful breakdown of SSL certificate differences. Thank you!
Jun 29, 2023
Ravi Belani
I like how this article addresses the specific needs of designers in the visual arts and design industry.
Jun 27, 2023
Alonzo Trust
The comparison guide has given me a clearer understanding of the differences. Thank you for this valuable information.
Jun 19, 2023
Tara Abbott
This article serves as a valuable resource for designers navigating the world of SSL certificates.
Jun 11, 2023
Eileen Hanrahan
This guide is very helpful for those of us who are not very familiar with SSL certificates.
May 11, 2023
Lilly Sypher
This is a must-read for designers who want to ensure a secure online presence. The comparison is very helpful.
Apr 27, 2023
John Craig
The breakdown of the differences between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates is well-presented. Thank you.
Apr 1, 2023
Larry Sutton
The visual arts and design industry definitely needs more articles like this to demystify technical aspects.
Jan 19, 2023
Gary Hendricks
The breakdown of the differences is very insightful. This article is a valuable resource for designers.
Dec 20, 2022
The article clarifies important aspects of SSL certificates in a way that's easy to understand and apply.
Dec 19, 2022
Dan Dehagg
This article is a fantastic resource for designers seeking clarity on SSL certificates.
Dec 12, 2022
Robin White
The guide has given me a clearer perspective on which SSL certificate to choose. Thank you for breaking it down!
Nov 18, 2022
Ronda Mefford
The breakdown is both comprehensive and approachable, making it a valuable read for those in the design industry.
Nov 13, 2022
Chris Lumley
The article is a valuable resource for designers looking to enhance their knowledge of SSL certificates.
Sep 25, 2022
Lee Kitchenside
The article does a great job of comparing the features and benefits of SAN and wildcard SSL certificates.
Aug 29, 2022
Jana Perkins
The article highlights the critical points for designers to consider when choosing an SSL certificate. Well done!
Aug 3, 2022
Barbara Brill
I appreciate the straightforward comparison between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates. It helped me grasp the key differences.
Jul 10, 2022
Stephanie Pagios
The article succeeds in simplifying a complex topic, making it accessible to non-experts like myself.
May 26, 2022
Susan Singleton
The article effectively distills technical information into practical guidance for designers. Well done!
Mar 30, 2022
Ideasweb Peru
The article strikes a perfect balance between depth and readability. Kudos to the writer!
Mar 19, 2022
Vernon Hall
I enjoyed reading the comparison. It has definitely improved my understanding of SSL certificates.
Mar 1, 2022
Jeffrey Silver
The article effectively addresses the specific needs of designers in a technical field. Very well done!
Feb 6, 2022
John Jing
The article serves as a practical guide for designers to make informed decisions about SSL certificates.
Jan 30, 2022
John Witson
I love how the article caters directly to the needs of designers and provides practical insights.
Jan 27, 2022
Chris Long
I appreciate the writer's ability to simplify complex technical information into digestible content.
Dec 26, 2021
Nadine Reed
As a designer, this article has helped me grasp the basics of SSL certificates.
Dec 15, 2021
Valerie Kevorkian
I found the explanations about SAN and wildcard SSL certificates to be very clear. Well done!
Oct 16, 2021
The article is a great educational tool for designers navigating the technical aspects of online security. Kudos!
Oct 14, 2021
James Dennis
I appreciate the detailed comparison. Now I have a better understanding of which certificate to choose for my projects.
Oct 1, 2021
Atressa Mayes
I've always wondered about the differences between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates. Thanks for clearing that up!
Sep 10, 2021
Danny Boy
The comprehensive guide has definitely enhanced my understanding of SSL certificates. Well done!
Aug 6, 2021
Connie Ahlers
As a non-techie, I found this article to be very well-written and easy to understand. Kudos!
Jul 22, 2021
Joann Manning
The article has broadened my understanding of SSL certificates and their relevance to the design industry. Well-written and informative.
Jul 4, 2021
Fichet Bauche
The guide provides a perfect balance of technical details and practical applications. Well-written!
Apr 28, 2021
Robert Feifer
As a designer, I find this information extremely useful. Thank you for this insightful article.
Apr 21, 2021
Cynthia Olson
This article effectively bridges the gap between technical jargon and practical decision-making. Well done!
Mar 14, 2021
Martin Bull
The article effectively highlights the importance of choosing the right SSL certificate for security needs.
Mar 10, 2021
Jack Hockema
This article sets a great example of how to present technical information in an understandable way. Impressive work!
Feb 15, 2021
The breakdown makes it easier for me to decide which type of SSL certificate I need for my work.
Feb 14, 2021
Carl Jung
The specific focus on the needs of designers in the arts and design industry is highly commendable.
Feb 4, 2021
I'm impressed by how well the article explains the differences between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates.
Dec 29, 2020
Great article! Very concise and informative.
Dec 13, 2020
Scott McManaman
Thank you for simplifying a technical subject and making it accessible to a wide audience.
Nov 28, 2020
David Sidote
I never knew there were different types of SSL certificates. This article was an eye-opener!
Nov 27, 2020
Adam Margolin
The explanation of the differences is on point. Well-researched and well-presented.
Nov 21, 2020
Add Email
Thank you for simplifying the comparison between SAN and wildcard SSL certificates.
Oct 16, 2020
Anthony Pisano
The comparison provides a good roadmap for making an informed decision about SSL certificates.
Oct 15, 2020
Doug Crouch
The detailed comparison makes it easier for designers to choose the right SSL certificate for their projects.
Oct 7, 2020
Jeff Crank
The points raised in the article are spot on. I'm definitely more informed now.
Aug 21, 2020
Julien Balestra
Kudos to the writer for explaining the technical details in a way that's easy to follow and understand.
Aug 8, 2020
Danielle Muscat
I didn't realize there were different types of SSL certificates. Thanks for shedding light on this topic.
Aug 8, 2020
Patricia Pellow
I appreciate the effort put into explaining the technical aspects of SAN and wildcard SSL certificates in a reader-friendly way.
Jul 12, 2020
Howard Blumenfeld
This article is a gem for anyone looking to understand the nuances of SSL certificates.
May 16, 2020