A digital certificate is an electronic document that includes a company's identification information (such as the name and address of the company), a public key, and the digital signature of a Certification Authority (CA) based on that certification authority's private key. You can think of a certificate as you would a license or passport that identifies your website. Having a certificate provides a way for a client browser to verify the authenticity of a website.

Authentication offers a way to establish the identity of a website to a browser. A certificate contains the common name (CN) you want to use for the certificate. This is the fully qualified domain name for which you plan to use your certificate. CPS supports the following types of certificates:

  • Single certificate: Associates a single domain with a single name.

  • Wildcard certificate: Secures an entire domain. A certificate for *.example.com secures www.example.com, mail.example.com, and any subdomain of example.com. If you do not know what domains you want to attach your certificate to, you should obtain a wildcard certificate, which offers greater flexibility.

  • SAN certificate: Supports multiple domain names. These Subject Alternative Names (SANs) certificates allow you to secure up to 100 domain names with one certificate. These certificates address the need to secure multiple names across different domains. You can update a SAN certificate at any time to add more names, up to the capacity of the certificate.

  • Wildcard SAN certificate: Uses wildcard certificates with Subject Alternative Names. Wildcard SAN certificates in CPS are available only from Symantec.

  • Third party certificate: Uses a signed certificate that you obtain from a CA not integrated with CPS.