We're setting up a payment service -- a few pages to collect credit cards, and do other stuff that needs to be secure. We would like to offer the service to customers via a cobranded page we serve that appears to be on their site using a CNAME alias from their domain to our domain. The customer doesn't have an SSL certificate. Example:

  • http://www.customer.com and other pages, like http://www.customer.com/about already exist.
  • Customer wants to use our service to accept payments
  • Our domain has a wildcard SSL cert, www.customer.com doesn't have a cert.
  • Customer sets up CNAME DNS record like payment.customer.com that is an alias for one of our subdomains, like customer.mycompany.com
  • Customer links to our pages via their alias. Credit card info is collected on https://payment.customer.com/payment

So the question: can we set up our SSL cert for customer.mycompany.com such that it is acceptable if the request originates from payment.customer.com (and for multiple other customers)? Browser error messages are not OK.


1 Answer 1


No. SSL certificates are implicitly tied to the domain name that they are served from. If your certificate hasn't been issued for your customer's domain then you can't use it.

There is still at least one option. If your customers are prepared to give you an SSL certificate which is valid for their domain then your server config can be set up to use that for their requests. However, this a) is at cost to them and b) requires a unique IP address for every SSL certificate (there is an alternative – SNI – which doesn't require a unique IP address per certificate but it isn't supported by IE on Windows XP)

  • thanks for your reply. This gives us an option for customers who really, really want their own domain name. It hadn't occurred to me. Thanks! May 1, 2012 at 20:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.