I have an Apache 2.2 server and a wildcard SSL certificate for *.domain.com and have set up a mod_rewrite ruleset for both 80 and 443 that will properly redirect requests for domain.com to www.domain.com:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.domain.com$1 [R=permanent,L]

(that's the one for 443; the one on 80 just omits the 's' in 'https').

That part is working properly for both http and https - it does the rewrite - but it doesn't quite solve the issue that I wanted fixed. Specifically, when someone goes to https://domain.com, they'll get a certificate warning because the wildcard certificate for *.domain.com doesn't match just domain.com. If they choose to accept the certificate and continue, the rewrite goes properly and the normal lock icon replaces the angry lock icon. The problem is that they get the warning in the first place - they have to choose to ignore the certificate warning before the rewrite is done. Is there a proper way to send traffic to https://domain.com over to https://www.domain.com before attempting to do the SSL negotiation? It looks like mod_rewrite is doing it after the fact.

2 Answers 2


SSL negotiation always happens before HTTP request is started, there is no way to avoid that.

The only way to fix this problem is to get a new certificate that has both domain.com and *.domain.com listed.

  • Strictly speaking separate certificates for domain.com and *.domain.com would work as well, the important point is that without a valid certificate for domain.com this error is supposed to occur. (A single SAN certificate with both names, as suggested in the answer, would be preferable.) Jun 23, 2014 at 18:05

As Tero already pointed out, SSL negotiation happens before mod_rewrite kicks in. This means that the only way for you to solve this, is to get a certificate that is also valid for domain.com.

Because Apache supports SNI, it can present a different certificate for a different hostname, so you may just get yourself a cheap or free additional certificate at a company like StartSSL.

However, in my experience, people rarely type https:// in their address bar, so if you just make sure that http://domain.com is redirected directly to https://www.domain.com, there is no problem.

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