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How to choose between and for your CSR

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September 09, 2019

The acquisition of an SSL certificate first requires you to generate a certificate signing request (CSR). There are many types of SSL certificates, and some, but not all, require you to specify the common name of your website as either “” or “”  

This article identifies which situations and types of certificates require you to use both, and which do not.

For more information about types of SSL certificates and how to acquire them, visit our website.

For information about how Nexcess clients can use their SiteWorx account to generate a CSR, see How to generate a CSR.

Single-domain certificates

These certificates secure both your bare domain and its “www” version by default, and your CSR already includes them. When creating your CSR, you may use without consequence.

Multi-domain certificates

ATTENTION: If you are a Nexcess client, these are only necessary if you are using a pointer domain setup.

Due to the very nature of multi-domain certificates you must include every domain or subdomain to be included in the certification. Therefore, if you want to secure both your bare domain and the “www” version, you must supply the version you did not specify when generating the CSR. 

The image below shows CSR generation in SiteWorx using

If your wanted to also secure, then you would include when acquiring your SSL through our website, as shown below:

Wildcard certificates

Wildcard certificates secure one domain and all associated subdomains, where the asterisk (*) represents those subdomains. For this reason, it is usually desirable to designate a common name without “www;” for example, * This allows you to include all first-level subdomains of

If you instead use *, you are restricted to second-level subdomains such as

For inquiries or assistance with SSL certificates, contact our sales team between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time (ET), Monday - Friday. 

Jason Dobry
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