What is an SSL Certificate
An SSL Certificate helps consumers and businesses be more confident and responsible when submitting personal details over a website. For example, if you sell something online and you process credit card information or other confidential information, then you have to use SSL encryption for the data exchanged between a client on your website and the server hosting your site. Data sent via an SSL connection is protected by encryption (128 or 256 bit key), a mechanism that prevents eavesdropping and tampering with the transmitted information.
How SSL Works? (view)
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a cryptographic protocol encrypted with a 128 or 256 bit key that provides secure connection between a browser and a server (where your web site is hosted). How SSL works – any data transmitted between the browser and your website is encrypted before being sent and then decrypted after having being received using the 128 or 256 bit key issued especially for you. An SSL certificate is issued by a trusted authority like RapidSSL or GeoTrust and installed specifically for a single hostname of your web site (e.g. https://secure.domain.com) where you need an encrypted connection. In that way all the data transmitted between the hostname where your client is submitting personal details and the server (where you web site resides) is encrypted and signed as secured by this trusted SSL issuer. The presence of an SSL (https:// valid connection) on your web site increases the confidence of your site’s visitors during the purchasing process.
What is a Wildcard SSL?
Ordinarily, when an SSL certificate is issued it is signed to secure a single subdomain of your domain (e.g. secure.domain.com.) Some website owners, however, need more than one subdomain to be secured with an SSL certificate. In this case they have to buy a separate SSL certificate for each subdomain.
What is a Wildcard SSL? It’s a type of SSL that allows securing multiple hostnames of a single domain name on a single server. This is how you can conveniently use one SSL certificate (Wildcard) for all subdomains (*.domain.com). The drawback with a Wildcard certificate is its price, several times exceeding the price of a regular SSL certificate. The advantage of this type of certificate is the fact you have to install and later on maintain only a single SSL certificate. Wildcard SSL certificates are appropriate for large organizations or e-commerce web sites.