Steps to Install Wildcard SSL Certificate – Install in 5 min

The Wildcard SSL certificate is one of the most sought-after SSL options by businesses worldwide. Particularly small, and midsized businesses that make use of a single primary domain but need to extend protection to their subdomains as well. If you have no clue about this SSL type or are unsure whether it would do the job for you, read on, and we will tell you everything there is to know about this SSL type. Soon after, we shall discuss how you can easily install a Wildcard SSL in under five minutes.

What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

A Wildcard SSL certificate is a unique solution for small and midsize businesses that operate with limited resources. As these businesses cannot dedicate a sizable budget towards cybersecurity, it only makes sense to implement strong preventive measures. This is exactly what this SSL does — provides comprehensive encryption by extending coverage to the primary domain and all of its first-level subdomains.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that the standard or domain validated SSL certificate only encrypts the primary domain or one of the subdomains. For websites operating with subdomains, this creates several problems such as managing multiple private keys, keeping track of certificate renewals, and the potential risk of technical glitches because multiple SSLs are involved. This can be overcome by installing a wildcard SSL certificate, a one-stop solution for all their encryption needs.

Who Should Install a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

The wildcard SSL certificate encrypts communication between the server and the client for the primary domain and all the first-level domains as well. Therefore, every website out there must opt for one, unless they have a more advanced SSL certificate like the SAN or Multidomain SSL with wildcard capabilities.

This ensures better security, which is essential for businesses of all types. Every website on the internet tends to exchange data protected under various laws and regulations like PCI-DSS. For example, the contact form of a business website would require users to provide personally identifiable details that ought to be protected. Likewise, an e-commerce website would require the exchange of financial data to complete the transaction.

Even a portfolio website of a Social Media Influencer eventually puts up a Merchant store, and the best way to do it is by using subdomains and protecting them with Wildcard SSL certificates. Unless these websites implement such security measures, they could face dire consequences such as penalties for the non-compliance of GDPR, PCI DSS, or other applicable regulations.

Step-by-Step Process to Install a Wildcard SSL Certificate

As we have already discussed, the wildcard SSL certificate protects a particular primary domain and its subdomains on a specific level. For the sake of clarity, let us now understand that with an illustration.

         Primary Domain –
         First-level subdomains –
         Second-level subdomains –

Therefore, it is important to understand that when the wildcard character, which is denoted by an asterisk is placed in a particular place, it encrypts subdomains of that level only. So, in this case, the first level domains can be protected by defining it as *

Let us now figure out how the Wildcard SSL can be installed.

Most businesses rely on shared hosting plans that come with the cPanel that simplifies server management. If you have the cPanel, then start by logging into the cPanel Dashboard and following the below-listed steps.

#1. CSR Key Generation

  • Login to cPanel and browse home page of cPanel. Locate and select the SSL/TLS under Security.

  • Then navigate to ‘Certificate Signing Request’ which would be located under the SSL/TLS Manager.

  • You must then choose the key size and for that, the 2048-bit is recommended.

Thereafter, fill in the necessary details, but for the FQDN or domain name, pay close attention and define it as follows:

Domain or FQDN – You need to be extremely cautious while filling out this particular field and must make it a point to include the wildcard character on the first level. For instance, if the primary domain is, then define it as *

If you miss that out at this stage, then you would be losing out on the wildcard encryption and its benefits.

  • After entering all the relevant details, click on the ‘Generate CSR’ option.

  • Copy-paste the encoded CSR key into a text file and save it for further use. You can do this with Notepad or any other text editor that you have on your system.

  • Navigate back to the SSL/TLS section and select the option that reads ‘Manage SSL Sites.’
  • Open the text file with the encoded CSR key and paste it there.
  • You will now be asked to choose a mode of verification and we strongly recommend picking the email verification option.
  • Upon successful verification, you will receive a zipped folder with all the other keys via email.
  • Download the zip folder and extract its contents.

#2. CRT File Upload
After uploading the CSR and receiving all the other certificates through email, the next step is to upload the CRT file. To do that, follow the below-mentioned steps.

  • On the cPanel dashboard, click on the SSL/TLS option.

  • Under SSL/TLS manager page, “Manage SSL Sites” hyperlink is located under the title “Install and Manage SSL” for your site.

  • Select the domain from the drop down menu for which you wish to install an SSL cert.

  • Next, select the CRT option. You now need to copy/paste or upload the file with the .crt extension. This would be available in the extracted contents of the zip folder received through email.

  • Click on the ‘Upload Certificate’ Option to complete the process.

#3. Certificate Installation
After uploading the CSR and the CRT certificates, it is time to install the certificate itself, and to do that, you need to click on the ‘Install Certificate’ to complete the process.

This is how simple it is to install a Wildcard SSL certificate through the cPanel. For those who use other backend server management tools, the process would remain quite similar, but always make it a point to properly define the primary domain or the FQDN with an asterisk while generating the CSR key.

Final Takeaway

Every website on the Internet participates in the exchange of sensitive data, which could be personal, financial, or some other data protected by the applicable laws and regulations. For instance, the PCI DSS and the GDPR have strict compliance requirements with regards to HTTPS and its non-compliance can attract penalties and fines. Therefore, businesses of all sizes — even the ones that operate with a single website must consider installing a wildcard SSL certificate. However, as mentioned, make it a point to define the asterisk or the wildcard character throughout the process.