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Domains & Hosting

What is a wildcard SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is used online to guarantee a website’s authenticity.

Thanks to the certificate, website visitors can be sure that the website they’re visiting isn't fraudulent. The SSL certificate also enables communication to be encrypted using SSL/TLS, which website visitors can recognise from the lock symbol in their browsers.

Website operators usually opt for single-domain certificates, but this means they can only be issued for one subdomain. Larger companies, however, often manage a large number of subdomains. If, for example, both www.example.com and shop.example.com belong to your website, you would have to order two certificates - or one wildcard SSL certificate. This certificate is then issued for *.example.com. The wildcard character explains how these certificates got their name. No matter how many subdomains you run on your server, the certificate remains valid.

Because certificates with wildcard SSL secure multiple subdomains, they are popular in a variety of scenarios:

  • Company websites that maintain other subdomains in addition to the website e.g. their own blog
  • E-commerce websites that use two different subdomains for their online shop and website
  • Multilingual websites that use several subdomains for internationalisation purposes

Wildcard SSL certificates usually cost more than single domain certificates. However, if you manage multiple subdomains, the investment will be worth it, and also means you don’t have to order multiple single certificates. If you buy a wildcard SSL certificate, you secure all the subpages of your website.

Icon: Padlock in magnifying glass

Package overview

Wildcard SSL packages (protect a domain, incl. all subdomains).

SSL Starter Wildcard


Only £55/yearexcl. VAT
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GeoTrust Quick SSL Premium Wildcard

Protect a domain, including all of its subdomains

Domain Validation Instant activation; quickest way to start protecting your website.

Up to 256-bit encryption

£500,000 loss excess amount

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Easy to activate on your website

SSL Business Wildcard


Only £240/yearexcl. VAT
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GeoTrust True BusinessID Wildcard

Protect a domain, including all of its subdomains

Organisation Validation Ensures the authenticity of the company issuing the certificate.

Up to 256-bit encryption

£1,250,000 loss excess amount

Padlock display

Protection against phishing

Display the trustworthiness of your business

All prices exclude VAT charged at 20%. VAT may be subject to change depending on your country of residence. Terms and conditions apply.

DigiCert – your SSL security

Together with our partner DigiCert, we offer reliable protection for your website with highly secure 256-bit SSL encryption.

DigiCert SSL Certificate

  • World's largest and most well-known SSL provider
  • Unique additional services such as a daily malware scan
  • Global leader with vast experience in internet security

Digicert Partner Platinum Elite 2021 logo

Wildcard SSL – FAQ

No, wildcard SSL certificates have the same high level of security as other types of certificates. Every SSL certificate you purchase through IONOS enables up to 256-bit encryption. The public-key method that digital certificates use is considered very secure. Website visitors are also made aware that they are using a secure connection in their browser.

Yes, wildcard SSL certificates also include the root domain that the subdomains stem from. The wildcard SSL certificate therefore includes not only *.example.com, but also example.com. However, if you want to secure a completely new domain or domains with different top-level domains - ccTLDs or gTLDs - you would have to purchase additional certificates.

With IONOS you can choose between the SSL Starter Wildcard and the SSL Business Wildcard. Both options are designed for an unlimited number of subdomains and meet the highest security standards. The main difference is the identity check - the Starter package works based on domain validation (validating the website operator), and the Business variant works with organisation validation (validating the company behind the website).

A free wildcard SSL certificate is also included in most IONOS packages! For example, if you purchase a domain from IONOS, you’ll receive a SSL Starter Wildcard certificate at no extra cost.

Wildcard SSL certificates from IONOS can be installed in the same way as other SSL certificates. First, log in to your IONOS account and head to the "Domains & SSL" section. There you can select the domain you want to use, which will take you to the SSL management area. Here you can activate your SSL certificate or change the settings for already activated certificates. You can also order certificates here if you have not already done so.

Depending on the validation level of your wildcard certificate, the certification authority will try to contact you. This is usually by email and/or phone. Therefore, it’s really important to make sure that all the information about you or your company is entered correctly when you order the certificate.

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