In early 2018, Let’s Encrypt will be introducing free wildcard security certificates for webmasters. They made the decision in response to requests from the certificate authority’s (CA) community.
Up to this point, the CA has issued over 100,000,000 free certificates online. According to them, the wildcard security certificates will be made available to developers and webmasters by January 2018.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates are an important data security component, because they provide an additional layer of encryption between communicating servers. This helps shield against eavesdropping, data theft, and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Just like traditional TLS certificates, wildcard certificates work in a very similar manner. However, they are much faster to deploy, since a single certificate can be used to secure a domain with unlimited subdomains.
The Let’s Encrypt community has been requesting the wildcard functionality for a long time, and it looks like things are finally moving forward in that department.
The new wildcard certificates will be offered through the ACME v2 API endpoint. In the initial phases of the project, however, the free certificates will only be available for base domain validation via DNS.
Let’s Encrypt hopes their efforts will assist in moving the web towards using the HTTPS protocol without exception.
Ivan Ristić, ISRG technical advisor, said that through the new free wildcard certificates, organisations can now fully automate their certificate issuance processes. He views this as a significant milestone, since it will cut down the manual work needed to achieve the same results, and lay the foundation for a fully encrypted web.