SAN SSL certificate

What are SAN SSL Certificates? | An Ultimate Guide


The world has become a global village in recent times, thanks to the Internet that has brought the world together. Online business has become an important income source for an increasing number of people all over the world. This trend has various advantages and also the disadvantages. Online services are always under threat of hacking attempts. That is why web providers are very conscious of the privacy of their clients and also secure their data. Online threats are fast becoming a cause of concern due to the use of new and advanced techniques. Therefore, it is becoming a difficult job to protect your privacy against these attacks. In 1995 Netscape introduced an SSL certificate to counter this. SSL or the Secure Sockets Layer is an encryption dependent Internet security protocol. It is the older version of TLS encoding being utilized today. Currently, an SSL certificate is popular in websites owner to protect their websites. Customers also trust only those websites that have SSL certificate security. There are various types of SSL certificates. We will discuss here a very important type called SAN SSL certificates.

What is SAN SSL Certificate?

The SAN SSL certificate is one of the top types of SSL certificates. SAN stands for Subject Alternative Names. It is also known as a multi-domain SSL certificate, which means you can manage multiple websites using a single SAN SSL certificate. For this reason, SAN SSL certificates have a distinct advantage as many other SSL certificates only manage a single website.

Who Require a SAN SSL Certificate?

SAN SSL certificates are crucial for those who are running multiple websites. It is economical and time-saving as compared to buying different SSL certificates for each website. SAN comes with all three types of SSL certificate validation.

Domain Validation (DV)

Domain validation SAN certificates are developed especially for small scale users. Best for the users, who doesn’t require the personal data of the customers.

Organization validation (OV)

These types of SAN SSL certificates have been designed for the companies that are registered and collect information of their users.

Extended Validation (EV)

Like organization validation SAN SSL certificates, EVs are also designed for companies having a physical address and collects information of their users.

Advantages of SAN SSL Certificate

There are several advantages of using SAN SSL certificates. Because of its range of covering multiple websites at a time, it is convenient to use a SAN SSL certificate as compared to separate SSL certificates for multiple websites. It is also cost-saving because you need less time to manage a SAN SSL certificate.

Coverage of Domains with Different TLDs

Generally, organizations buy separate domain names with different TLDs. It helps them to secure their name and also offers priority in Google’s search results. It’s costly to buy a separate SSL certificate for each domain supporting a different TLD. That is where the SAN SSL certificates have their worth. Almost all the certificate authorities offer SAN SSL certificates to resolve this issue. With this, owners can include all domains with different TLDs having a single SAN SSL certificate.

Simplifies Certificate Management

An SSL certificate management is not a child play. It is a tough job to perform, and honestly speaking most people don’t like it. Installing an SSL certificate consists of many steps. The installation process starts from certificate signing request (CSR) generation, followed by the certificate validation process, and then the installation process. All these steps are time-consuming and tough, especially when you have to perform this for different domains. A single mistake during these steps can cause serious damages. The browsers will show different types of errors when someone visits your website.

With multiple SSL certificates, you have to keep a close eye on the expiry dates of each SSL certificate, which is another tough job to do. In case of any expired SSL certificate, the browsers will show a security alert page with the “SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_CERTIFICATE” message. In this case, you may lose the trust of your users, and as we know renewal process is as costly as buying a new SSL certificate.

For example, you are managing five websites at a time. You have to go through the steps we have mentioned above five times like the generation of certificate signing requests, the validation process, and the installation process. The certificate authorities do not offer an auto-renewal option for SSL certificates due to security reasons. You can imagine how tough and time-consuming task it is going to be. That is why it is wise to use a SAN SSL certificate when you are managing multiple websites. By using a SAN SSL certificate, you have to perform these steps just once. It can save you both, time and money.


SAN SSL certificates offer great flexibility. Let’s suppose you bought a SAN SSL certificate for three websites, but later you want to add more websites. You just have to change the number on your SSL dashboard, and then apply for a reissue and starts managing more websites under the same SAN SSL certificate. For example, GoDaddy’s standard SAN SSL Certificate covers up to five websites. They offer you to secure more websites for a fee in increments of 5. You can secure a maximum of 100 websites using their SAN SSL certificate.

Financial Point of View

One of its advantages is the financial feasibility. It is economically feasible for you to use a SAN SSL certificate as compared to a separate SSL certificate for each website.

Disadvantages of using a SAN SSL Certificate

While having many advantages, a SAN SSL certificate also has some disadvantages. For example:

  1. They are not perfect if you want to use them for a single website.
  2. As you have only one SSL certificate for multiple domains, if it gets compromised, all of your websites are under threat of privacy breach.
  3. They are not compatible with older versions of some browsers.


A SAN SSL certificate is very useful for managing multiple websites. It will save you precious time and money. You can manage different domains by using a single SAN SSL certificate. It has more advantages as compared to its disadvantages. That is why it is being used for most online businesses and other website owners.

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