First of all I know this sounds really stupid, but I am going to explain the situation.

I created an SSL certificate for a website at StartSSL. I created a regular Class 1 SSL Certificate for a web server validating let's say for thedomain.com.

So, when you create the certificate, StartSSL gives you the option to add 4 additional alternative names to get the most out of the certificate. The idea is that the certificate was issued for thedomain.com like this.


The end result normally shows something like this:

CN = thedomain.com
C = MX

And shows the alternative names like this:

Subject Alternative Name
DNS Name=thedomain.com
DNS Name=www.thedomain.com
DNS Name=mailer.thedomain.com
DNS Name=links.thedomain.com
DNS Name=landing.thedomain.com

So it's basically one domain with 3 or 4 subdomains if you count the www. It's not even a wildcard single domain.

So, everything is going as planned and I go to the hosting provider (Hostgator) for the site to ask them to install it for a 10 USD fee (the option in cPanel is hidden in their shared hosting) and everything is going as planned but then they respond to the installation ticket that the certificate is multidomain and that the charge for multidomain certificate installation is 25 USD.

I've tried several times to tell them it's not a multidomain certificate, but they keep telling me it is. I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure that if it were a multidomain it would be something like


Can you guys help me out clearing this topic so I could also show the guys from hostgator this discussion to end the problem once and for all.

  • I'm fairly certain it's because you filled in the alternative name fields, effectively making a SAN certificate. I don't know much about StartSSL, but you would want a Wildcard SSL certificate, not a SAN certificate which you have now. Regardless of whether or not you are using it on multiple domains, a SAN certificate is for multiple domains. Sadly, Hostgator is correct on this one, you have submitted a multi-domain certificate to them for installation, even though you aren't using it as such. You are correct, though, that a sub-domain would be something like "mailer.thedomain.com"
    – INV3NT3D
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 18:52
  • But in that case when SSL certificate authorities offer you to add the www alternative name makes almost all certificates multidomain? Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 18:54
  • The worst part is that the installation is a joke, but for some reason they are considering it multi-domain... even worse two weeks ago they installed another certificate which had one alternative name less but everything else was the same, which is probably the thing which confuses me. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 18:55
  • You can theoretically have unlimited sub-domains under your domain with a Wildcard SSL certificate, www. being one of them. I agree, your certificate isn't really a multi-domain cert, but I think it is the format of the certificate they care about. Could you get in touch with StartSSL and have another certificate issued?
    – INV3NT3D
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:07
  • Since the basic certificate is free of charge the revocation costs 25 USD. So I don't want to revoke it then generate it again and have the same issue. What do you refer to with certificate format? @INV3NT3D Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


It will be considered as Multi Domain. Multi Domain also called as Multiple Domains. Now your details are like under:

Subject Alternative Name

DNS Name=thedomain.com
DNS Name=www.thedomain.com
DNS Name=mailer.thedomain.com
DNS Name=links.thedomain.com
DNS Name=landing.thedomain.com

Here every domain name will be count as an individual domain. Multi Domain SSL certificate gives you facility to protect more than one domain under the one shelter. Whether it has same TLD or different TLDs. In terms of SSL Certificate the alternative names you have provided while getting your certificate called as Subject Alternative Names or SAN. That understands every alternative name as different domain name. So in my suggestion your hosting provider is telling you right.

I do agree with point made by @INV3NT3D that Wildcard SSL Certificate would be better choice for you. You have to issue certificate on *.thedomain.com and everything in place of “ * ” (asterisk) will be covered.

  • Ok, but in that case if I put just thedomain.com and www.thedomain.com it would count as a multidomain certificate? Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 17:19
  • No. If you go for paid SSL, most certificate authorities offer their single domain certificate with www & non-www compatibility . Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 11:21
  • So, www doesn't count as an additional domain in these cases? Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 18:26
  • No, it will not be count as additional domain. Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 10:32

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