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Title: .gov  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Generic top-level domain, .net, .mil, .us, .asia
Collection: 1985 Introductions, Domain Names in the United States, General Services Administration, Sponsored Top-Level Domains
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


dot gov
Introduced 1985
TLD type Sponsored top-level domain
Status Active
Registry General Services Administration
Sponsor General Services Administration
Intended use Governmental entities
Actual use United States government; formerly only federal government but later expanded to include state and local government
Registration restrictions Must meet eligibility requirements and submit authorization letter
Structure Registrations at second level permitted
Documents RFC 920; RFC 1591; RFC 2146
Dispute policies None

The domain name gov is a sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) in the Domain Name System of the Internet. The name is derived from government, indicating its restricted use by government entities in the United States. The gov domain is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), an independent agency of the United States federal government.

The U.S. is the only country that has a government-specific top-level domain in addition to its country-code top-level domain. This is a result of the origins of the Internet as a U.S. federal government-sponsored research network (see ARPANET and National Science Foundation Network). Other countries typically delegate a second-level domain for this purpose, for example: is the second-level domain for the Government of Canada and all subdomains.

Some U.S. federal agencies use fedmil sTLD. Some U.S. governmental entities use other domains, such as com domains by the United States Postal Service (which uses both and for the same website, although it only advertises the com address), and the United States Army's recruitment website (, this trend is repeated at the recruitment websites of the other branches of the U.S. military).

All governments in the U.S. were allowed to apply for delegations in gov before May 2012,[1] such as for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses, and for the same web site) and still others in com, org or other TLDs.


  • Availability 1
  • Authorization 2
  • Naming conventions 3
  • Policy 4
  • States and territories in .gov 5
  • International equivalents 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Use of the domain gov is restricted to government entities. According to GSA guidelines, this includes U.S. governmental departments, programs, and agencies on the federal level; federally recognized tribes, referred to by the GSA as Native Sovereign Nations, which must use the suffix; State governmental entities and programs; cities and townships represented by an elected body of officials; counties and parishes represented by an elected body of officials; and U.S. territories.[2]

The URL for registration services is[3]


To register a gov domain, a letter of authorization must be submitted to the GSA. For federal agencies, the authorization must be submitted by cabinet-level chief information officer (CIO). For state governments, authorization from the governor or state CIO is required. Domains for cities require authorization from the mayor or equivalent official; for counties, authorization may be submitted by county commissioners or equivalent officials, or by the highest-ranking county official.[4] For Native Sovereign Nations, the authorization must come from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.[5]

Naming conventions

The GSA provides guidelines for naming of second-level domains, such as those used by state and local governments. For states, the domain name must include the full state name or postal abbreviation, and the abbreviation must not be obscured by inclusion in a larger word. For example, for Idaho would be an unacceptable domain name. For local governments, the domain name must include the state name or abbreviation. However, many .gov domain names (such as and do not conform to the naming convention because they were already registered before the GSA enacted this policy.[6]


Policy regarding the gov domain is laid out in 41 CFR Part 102-173.

No new gov domains for U.S. federal executive branch departments have been allowed to be registered since June 13, 2011, as a result of the implementation of Executive Order 13571[7] issued by President Obama. The move was part of a general attempt to improve the efficiency of U.S. governmental Web usage by weeding out unnecessary, redundant, outdated, or wasteful sites.[8]

Since May 2012, the Federal Executive Branch has a policy of registering no new second-level domains for its agencies, except on a case-by-case basis. Agencies are also prohibited from using other top-level domains such as .org and .com.[9] "Federal Agency domains" were also deleted on August 26, 2014.[10]

States and territories in .gov

As of February 2014, all states, the District of Columbia, and all territories except for the Northern Mariana Islands have operational domains in gov:

Alabama and
American Samoa and
Arizona and
Arkansas and
California and (Appears to not be in use, the last time recorded as active was on April 16, 2009)[11]
Colorado and
Delaware and
District of Columbia
Florida and (redirects to
Georgia and
Hawaii and
Illinois and
Indiana and
Iowa and
Kansas and
Kentucky and
Louisiana and
Maryland and
Massachusetts and
Michigan and
Minnesota and
Mississippi and
Missouri and
Montana and
Nebraska and
Nevada and
New Hampshire
New Jersey and
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina and
North Dakota and
Ohio and
Oklahoma and
Pennsylvania and
Puerto Rico and
Rhode Island and
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee and
Texas and
Vermont and
Virgin Islands
Washington and
West Virginia
Wisconsin and
Wyoming and

International equivalents

See also


  1. ^ "Welcome - DOTGOV". Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Eligibility Requirements". General Services Administration. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  3. ^ "Delegation Record for .GOV". IANA. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Authorization Letter". General Services Administration. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  5. ^ "Who authorizes domain names?". General Services Administration. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  6. ^ "Sec. 102-173.50 What is the naming convention for States?". General Services Administration. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  7. ^ "Executive Order 13571--Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service". The White House. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Lost and Found - Mapping Page - DigitalGov". Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People". United States Federal CIO Council. May 23, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Welcome - DOTGOV". Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Retrieved 31 August 2015. 

External links

  • whois informationgovIANA
  • RFC 920 , Domain Requirements (defined .com and the other original top-level domains)
  • RFC 2146 , U.S. Government Internet Domain Names
  • Complete list of .gov domains
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