Does having an SSL certificate issued for each subdomain rank the same as having one SAN SSL certificate grouping all of them?


First scenario:

example.com -> has it's own SSL certificate

sub.example.com -> has it's own SSL certificate

Second scenario:

example.com -> has a SAN SSL certificate with sub.example.com included

sub.example.com -> is included in example.com SAN SSL certificate

Similar questions discuss the necessity or convenience from a practical standpoint. I'm particularly interested in knowing it's SEO consecuences if any, mainly for the Google Search Engine, and do not care of prior-2003 browser support of SAN. I found searching for this specific question hard because it's keywords are far too common, I hope it's not a duplicate.

2 Answers 2


If you will purchase separate single domain SSL certificate for each domain or if you will purchase SAN SSL for multiple domains (which you have already described in your scenario) will not affect badly in SEO ranking. So go for any either single domain SSL or SAN SSL, which is convenient for you.

SAN (Multi Domain) SSL saves your time and money on certificate management compared to single domain ssl. And if you required to secure main domain and its all first level of subdomains like below listed then you should go for wildcard ssl.

  1. example.com
  2. blog.example.com
  3. login.example.com
  • You could as well "buy" (or get free from Let's Encrypt) the wildcard *.example.com, in addition to the name example.com (since it will not be covered by the wildcard) Aug 30, 2018 at 14:13

Google doesn't care which type of SSL certificate you get. As long as the certificate works, Google gives you a very slight ranking boost for HTTPS. The certificate type doesn't matter, Google doesn't give better boosts for better certificates.

As far as coverage goes you can have any of the following. Googlebot can crawl sites protected by any of the following:

  • Single site certificate
  • Subject alternative name (SAN) certificates that cover multiple sites
  • Wildcard certificates that cover a site and all subdomains

There are also various levels of SSL certificate:

  • Domain Validation (DV) - Verification has been done that you are in control over the domain. This is the cheapest and easiest certificate to get. Free LetsEncrypt certificates fall into this category.
  • Organization Validation (OV) - Verifies the documents associated with your business before issuing a certificate.
  • Extended Validation (EV) - Verifies your organization, its address, and its contact information.

In my experience, the type of certificate doesn't matter for SEO. I use domain validated SAN certificates for my own sites and I have no ranking problems associated with them. I see plenty of HTTPS sites ranking in Google that use SAN certificates.

Google's John Mueller said that for now, certificate type doesn't matter:

From our point of view if you implement HTTPS properly then that's fine for us. It's not something where we'd say this specific certificate is good but the other one is bad. I imagine maybe in the long run we'll be able to differentiate it a little bit more, but at the moment it's really just either: it works or it doesn't work.

Even if Google does start differentiating between certificate types it is more likely to differentiate between DV/OV/EV rather than between SAN/Wildcard/Stand alone.

  • What if your provider generates the SSL certs for you and they also generate for other domains they service, and if one of those domains ends up to be blacklisted by Google as spam/malware/adware domain, then does that play any part in effecting your domains? I'm guessing they don't cross reference domains on the SSL cert for domains they have blacklisted but it would be a fair way for blacklisting a nefarious domain owner who owns a multitude of domains and creates a cert for all of them. I can see how it would effect though shared hosting platforms that generate SSLs for their customers.
    – RCG
    May 7, 2020 at 7:11
  • SAN certificates are usually limited to 100 hostnames. Because shared hosting typically uses more than 100 customers per server, hosts usually get a certificate per customer rather than a SAN certificate that covers all their customers. I'd think your scenario would be rare. In any case, Google has said that they try to identify shared hosting and not punish other sites on the same IP address just because they use a shared host. In your scenario, I'd think Google's shared hosting identification would be good enough to prevent problems. May 7, 2020 at 8:26
  • Yes I asked it because I see a friend who uses google cloud services to host their website uses letsEncrypt for the cert. my friend never setup the SSL himself and that’s why I was investigating for him since I wondered how he setup SSL for his site on google cloud but he had no idea. Google is giving out letsEncrypt SSLs across their platform and filling the certs SAN with the max 100. I found it interesting they do this as some customers may not want to have any affiliations with the sites in their SSL SAN list.
    – RCG
    May 9, 2020 at 0:10

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