A common challenge faced when working with a multisite is determining what kind of SSL certificate to purchase. While Flywheel’s Simple SSL feature is great for single sites, it isn’t compatible with the multisite add-on, so you’ll want to obtain a certificate from a 3rd party vendor. This guide should help you find the right type of SSL certificate for your special site!
There are three configurations of multisite, each with their own considerations when it comes to choosing an SSL certificate.
|Site Type||URL Scheme||Certificate|
Subdirectory multisites are the easiest to secure with an SSL certificate. Because each subsite is still under the parent site’s domain, subdirectory style multisites can be secured with a standard SSL that covers the primary domain. Currently, Flywheel’s Simple SSL isn’t compatible with multisite networks, despite the subdirectory style requiring only a standard certificate type. We hope to offer coverage for multisite networks with Simple SSL in the future!
Each subdomain in this kind of multisite falls under a single parent domain. That makes the best option for subdomain multisites a wildcard SSL certificate. A wildcard, denoted with an asterisk (*), covers a single unique domain and all possible subdomains underneath it.
If your primary domain is “myflysite.com”, a wildcard would look like “*.myflysite.com.” The wildcard would protect myflysite.com and all subdomains of myflysite.com. For example, it would secure “myflysite.com”, “subsite1.myflysite.com”, “shop.myflysite.com”, “blog.myflysite.com”, “www.myflysite.com”, and yes, even “hamburgers.myflysite.com”!
One thing to keep in mind is that wildcards do not protect second-level subdomains. So “*.myflysite.com” would not protect “usa.shop.myflysite.com” or “www.blog.myflysite.com” even though it protects “shop.myflysite.com” and “blog.myflysite.com”.
When a multisite is domain mapping subsites to unique domains, the only option for full SSL coverage is a multi-domain SSL certificate, commonly referred to as UCC or SAN certificates.
A multi-domain certificate allows you to explicitly list out all of the domains that the SSL certificate will protect. The domains that you list can include unique domains independent of each other, subdomains of a parent domain, and wildcard domain entries that can cover all possible subdomains of a single unique parent domain.
Note that you often have to explicitly list both the www and non-www versions of your domains for most SSL certificate providers. Depending on your SSL certificate provider, a single SSL certificate may have a hard limit to the number of domains it can secure. It is most commonly limited to either 100 or 250 maximum domains.
Multi-domain SSL certificates tend to be the most expensive, especially if you are purchasing one that contains wildcards in it.
SSL Certificates for multisite can be confusing, even for seasoned developers. If you have further questions about protecting your multisite install on Flywheel, contact the WordPress experts at Flywheel support and we’d be happy to help get you up and running!
Questions relating to payments, billing and managing your account on Flywheel.14 Articles
Learn everything there is to know about what Blueprints are, how to create them and how to make the best use of them.5 Articles
How to access your WordPress database to make changes and update content.3 Articles
Details about how to manage DNS and point your domain names at Flywheel.16 Articles
The most commonly asked questions, and a few we just think you should know.26 Articles
Questions that don't fit elsewhere, or those about Flywheel in general.59 Articles
Everything you need to know to get your first Flywheel site up and running.17 Articles
Everything you need to know about our amazing, free local WordPress development software for Mac and PC.20 Articles
Everything you need to know about managing your team with our Organizations feature.8 Articles
Which plugins work best, which plugins work worst, and everything in between.8 Articles
Details about everything Flywheel does to makes your site so secure.16 Articles
Information on setting up and troubleshooting with SFTP connections and file transfers.5 Articles
All there is to know about our free, automatically installed and activated SSL certificates.8 Articles
How to get the most out of Staging, which allows you to duplicate a site, make changes, and then push those changes to the live site.6 Articles
Everything you need to know about our Whitelabel subscriptions for branding and reselling Flywheel.3 Articles