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Background to this question: I want to host multiple e-commerce sites on the same server, each with their own separate customer login application. Each site's login application needs to be secured by SSL. I'm unsure how best to handle this. For example, do I need to acquire a separate SSL certificate for each site (in which case, how do I do this dynamically, as the sites are created), or do I handle this using ONE login gateway-style application, which handles it on behalf of all the sites via a kind of transparent redirect?

I'd be grateful for any pointers or advice. Thanks.

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So you want to take people's card details online through multiple independent stores. Secure them against each other and secure them against the world - and you don't even know how SSL works ... Forgive me for saying, but you shouldn't be hosting anything to begin with. Just use a recognised hosting company. – Ben Lessani - Sonassi Sep 30 '12 at 10:31
Card details will be dealt with through a payment gateway. As I explained in my question, SSL is needed for customers to login (and access things like wish lists, order history etc.) And I know how SSL works, thanks very much. What I was asking for was advice on the best way to handle it. Do you really believe that if you don't know something, you shouldn't try to find out so that you can do it? – Simon Courtenage Sep 30 '12 at 10:37
I'm all for self tuition - but certainly not when it involves the personal and financial data of other parties. Your learning is coming at the potential cost of someone else. – Ben Lessani - Sonassi Sep 30 '12 at 14:13

You will need one SSL certificate per website, unless they are all subdomains, then you can buy a wildcard SSL certificate.

Also keep in mind that you will need an IP per SSL certificate, unless you intend to run each of them on a separate port, but that might give problems for some users.

I think you preferably will want a separate login portal per site, unless the sites share the same user database, then I would use a portal as well.

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