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SSL Certificate, multiple servers, and DNS

We have two servers in different physical locations. They will be configured in a cluster so that information can be transferred between them.

Server hostnames are as follows:
server1.domainname.com - Location 1
server2.domainname.com - Location 2

We then want to have another DNS name that will resolve to the respective servers depending upon the location of the user. If user is at location one and typed server.domainname.com in their browser they would hit the IP of the server at location 1 and vice versa (we are using an internal DNS to do the resolution).

DNS name:

We need to get a commercial certificate to secure the servers due to Apple devices. We have been looking at GoDaddy's solution of Single Domain with Unlimited Sub Domains (wildcard).

I had read that a certificate is linked or bound to a hostname.
I am getting confused about what this actually means. In the case above the hostnames server1.domainname.com and server2.domainname.com will never be hit directly, the names are just the names of the servers. We want users to use server.domainname.com. So when we get our commercial certificate should we be registering just server.domainname.com or all 3 names?
I think I am also getting confused over hostname (the name of the server itself) vs. domain name or URL.

Sorry for jumping all over the place. I am just trying to figure out what it is I am missing and not understanding about how the SSL registration process works and what actually needs to be provided to get the certificate.

Any clarification would greatly be appreciated.

Thank you

You only need to have a certificate that matches what users will have in the address bar (the hostname they are connecting to), so if all access is going to be via server.domainname.com, you'll only need the certificate to cover that.

If you attempt to access either server directly over SSL - e.g. by actually typing https://server1.domainname.com in a web browser, you'll get a certificate warning.

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    • thanks for your feedback! I think I understand it now.. to some degree. I will have to do some more reading. But thank you for clearing up the fact that the certificate is based on what is in the web browser and not the server name itself!

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