The freeze on issuing new .gov domains for Executive Branch agencies, implemented on June 13, 2011, was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2011 (see OMB Guidance on Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service (PDF, 2.3 MB, 6 pages, June 2011)). Effective January 1, the Federal CIO has extended the freeze while OMB reviews plans to issue new guidance related to .gov domain approval that will formalize the “no new .gov domains” policy. Additional guidance will be released soon in consultation with the .gov Reform Task Force.
What It Is
Using domains that are exclusive to the U.S. government—.gov, .mil, or .fed.us—is a requirement for managing your agency’s website.
Why It’s Important
- Visitors looking for official government information must be confident that is what they are getting.
- Many websites exist that resemble government websites or that appear to provide "official" government information. They can mislead the public into believing and acting on erroneous information.
- The federal government must ensure that public websites are clearly branded. The .mil, .gov, and fed.us domains are restricted to government agencies. Using domains that are exclusive to the government is one way to communicate to citizens that federal public websites are legitimate.
- Using these exclusive domains also ensures that the USA.gov search engine will find all official federal websites and that the USA.gov directory of federal public websites will list them.
OMB Policies for Federal Public Websites, requires agencies to (under Section 6A), "use only .gov, .mil, or Fed.us domains unless the agency head explicitly determines another domain is necessary for the proper performance of an agency function." By using domains that are exclusive to the government, you assure the public that these are official government websites and that a government agency is accountable for the website's content.
How to Implement
To register in the .gov domain:
- Government domain registration policy and procedures are managed by GSA. These requirements are part of 41 CFR Part 102-173.
- Frequently Asked Questions about the .gov domain process
- The current cost of a .gov domain name is $125 per year, renewable each year with another $125 fee.
- To register in the .mil domain: see the Defense Data Services Management Bulletin 9605 24, September 1996.
- Use aliases: Use .gov, .mil, or .fed.us as the official domain name and host content on that official domain. Use other domains (such as .edu, .org, and .com) as "aliases," and use an automatic redirect from the aliases to the official domain.
- Additional guidance: See Show U.S. Sponsorship and Select a Domain Name
HHS Policy for Internet Domain Names explains the policies and responsibilities for approving, acquiring, and registering domains within HHS
(PDF, 57 KB, 12 pages, July 2005)
- Department of Energy DNS Policies and Procedures