Wildcard Certificates

Let’s Encrypt supports wildcard certificates (e.g. *.example.com) with their ACMEv2 infrastructure. A wildcard certificate will work for any hostname inside a given domain, which helps with handling certificates for multiple domains.


Unrelated to ACME, but wildcard certificates in general: A wildcard only helps for one level of subdomains. For example, *.example.com will work for host.example.com but will NOT work for host.sub.example.com. If hosts are structured in this way, a wildcard certificate is required for each sub zone, e.g. *.sub.example.com.

Wildcard validation requires a DNS-based method and works similar to validating a regular domain. For example, to get a certificate for *.example.com, the package updates a TXT record in DNS the same as it would for example.com, which means the DNS record (and potentially key name) would be for _acme-challenge.example.com.

To obtain a wildcard certificate, follow the same procedures as other DNS validation methods, with the following differences:

  • The Account Key must be registered with an ACME v2 server (staging for testing, or production)
  • The Domain SAN list should contain entries for the base domain (e.g. example.com and the wildcard version of the same domain (e.g. *.example.com. The settings will be the same for both entries.
  • For DNS-NSupdate / RFC 2136: Set the Key Name to the base domain (example.com) for both entries.