With the growing trend of online services and business, organizations are coping with the growing demand of their online presence. Using the same SSL certificate for all business can result into high cost and cumbersome management, especially when it is a question of multiple domains, organization has to think out of the box and go with certificate that can provide a single protection to all domains. In this short and useful information, we will talk about SAN (Subject Alternative Name) certificate.
What is SAN?
SAN Certificate is an extension of x.509 certificate just after 2007. Since Microsoft Exchange server is arrived, SAN is used to secure multiple sites across different domains and sub domains. SAN is also named UCC (Unified Communications Certificate) that is able to protect multiple host names and domain names with a single certificate. Many SSL providers allow organization to secure up to 100 SANs with a certificate.
How SAN Certificate works? With example
SAN SSL certificate can secure up to 100 domains/subdomains in a single certificate. Now, you may wonder that how this certificate works. So, we have given below a simple example to understand it clearly.
For example, you have mydomain.com and you want to secure other domains and subdomains as per following. So, the hierarchy will be as follows under your main domain. Your main domain will remain in CSR and the rest will be added as a SAN domain.
There are validation types like domain validation, organization validation and extended validation that come with SAN certificate. The price may vary as per the degree of validation type. You can see the above examples with different TLDs, different domains and all these can be protected with SAN SSL certificate. Moreover, a website holder can install this single certificate on multiple servers without any cost. There is no need for multiple installations on each server, you just need to install this certificate to enable security on the server.
Advantages of SAN:
When you purchase SAN certificate, you will have few advantages that would make your SAN purchase worthy.
Domain Flexibility: A single SAN can secure multiple domains and sub-domains with up to 256-bit encryption that will boost online security. A buyer selects default pack of domains and later on, he can add up to 100 domains during the life-cycle of a certificate.
Cost-Effective: When you purchase an individual certificate for each domain, it will be costly and requires caution and much time in installation. With SAN, a buyer will never face the high costs and get a single certificate solution for all domains.
Server Compatibility: SAN/UCC certificate is renowned as an exchange server certificate and ideal for MS Exchange server 2007, 2010, 2013, and MS Live Communication Server. SAN certificate is perfect for shared hosting and is compatible with server and client OS, web servers, and cPanel.
Easy certificate Management: Instead of managing multiple certificates, IT admin will have to take care of a single certificate therefore; there will be less chances of lapse of certificate renewal, expiry of the certificate. SAN offers easy installation and effective certificate management.
Enhanced Site Security: There will be strong website security when you have SAN certificate on your server. Along with the ability to cover multiple domains and subdomains, SAN certificate can provide 256-bit encryption and 2048-bit CSR encryption to all transactions happening between the server and the browser. Strong encryption instills the confidence in customers’ mind and encourage them to visit the site in a fearless environment. Customers easily get assurance that their information will remain safe over the web.
Time save: SAN SSL certificate is time-saving security that can cover multiple domains and subdomains in a single certificate that saves the time to manage it. If you go with a single domain SSL for your different domains/subdomains then, you need to fulfill the validation process for each of your domain/subdomains. However, with a SAN SSL certificate, all domains can be validated at a single point of time with a single validation process. Thus, it saves time for a website holder and the site can have an SSL certificate without any further delay.
How you can find SAN in Browser?
For Internet Explorer Browser:
Visitor or customer can find details of SAN certificate in IE browser by clicking on green padlock in address bar.
- Click on View Certificate and go to “Details” tab.
- Browse Subject Alternative Name in list.
For Firefox Browser:
- In Firefox, click on green padlock, you will see a box with your verified domain name.
- Here, click on the arrow beside your domain name and you will see More information tab, just click on it.
- Under security tab, click on view certificate>> Details>> Certificate Fields>> Certificate>> Extensions>> Certificate Subject Alt Name tab, and you will see SAN details in listed stuffs.
For Google Chrome:
Click on Green Padlock>> click on Details link.
Click on View Certificate>>now under Details tab.
You will find Subject Alternative Name.
Difference between Wildcard and SAN certificate:
Many individuals are confused between wildcard and SAN certificate. However, both certificates can be differentiated by their features and functions. Below is a given difference between wildcard and SAN.
Wildcard SSL is the perfect choice when a website owner wants to protect unlimited sub domains with a single certificate. Remember, Wildcard cannot protect multiple domains therefore, if a website owner has number of sub domains and want a single certificate solution then Wildcard SSL is the cheapest option. Wildcard certificate can be issued on *.domain.com and can secure www.domain.com, new.domain.com, blog.domain.com
On contrary, SAN certificate is ideal for securing multiple domains and sub domains therefore; if a website owner wishes to secure his number of domains. When it is a question of server compatibility, SAN wins the game, as it is the most compatible with different servers.
Both wildcard and SAN certificate are great in saving cost of a business and offers a smooth certificate installation and administration. Read Wildcard SSL vs SAN SSL in detail.
SAN certificate is overall a cost saving certificate and offers flexibility in domain protection. When you apply for SAN certificate, you will have unlimited re-issuance, robust encryption, warranty that makes the purchase valuable. Days are gone, when SAN certificate was available at higher cost currently, a business of any size can get it at affordable price and secure the business within few days. You will have combination of modern technology and strong encryption with SAN SSL certificate at lowest price.