IntroducedJanuary 1, 1985; 39 years ago (1985-01-01)
TLD typeSponsored top-level domain
RegistryCybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
SponsorCybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Intended useGovernmental entities
Actual useOnly the United States government; formerly only federal government but later expanded to include state and local government
Registration restrictionsMust meet eligibility requirements and submit authorization letter
StructureRegistrations at second level permitted
DocumentsRFC 920; RFC 1591; RFC 2146
Dispute policiesNone
Registry websiteget.gov

The domain name gov is a sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) in the Domain Name System of the Internet. The name is derived from the word government, indicating its restricted use by government entities. The TLD is administered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA),[1] a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

.gov is one of the original six top-level domains, defined in RFC 920.[2] Though "originally intended for any kind of government office or agency",[3] only U.S.-based government entities may register .gov domain names, a result of the Internet originating as a U.S. government-sponsored research network.

Other countries typically delegate a second-level domain for government operations on their country-code top-level domain (ccTLD); for example, .gov.uk is the domain for the Government of the United Kingdom, and .gc.ca is the domain for the Government of Canada. The United States is the only country that has a government-specific top-level domain in addition to its ccTLD (.us), and this distinction is due to the Internet itself originating as a project of the government of the United States.

.gov domains are registered at get.gov.


gov is one of the original top-level domains created in 1984[4] (the other five being com, org, edu, mil, and arpa). The first site registered was css.gov in June 1985.[5]

Beginning in 1997, the General Services Administration (GSA) began administering .gov. In February 2011, the GSA selected Verisign to manage the registry services, replacing Native Technologies, Inc.[6]

Responsibility for the TLD was transferred to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) under the DOTGOV Online Trust in Government Act of 2020,[7] part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

In January 2023, CISA selected Cloudflare to replace Verisign in providing registry services. Cloudflare will also provide authoritative DNS services for the .gov domain.[8]


Many governments in the United States use a .gov domain, though most use .us (e.g., leg.state.nv.us), .com (e.g., myflorida.com), .org (e.g., lacity.org), or other TLDs (e.g., senate.mn).[9] The full list of registered .gov domains is published at get.gov/data.[10]

During GSA's administration of .gov, registration and annual renewal fees peaked at $400 per year.[11] When CISA began managing the TLD in April 2021, all fees were removed.[12]

Federal Executive branch policy requires the use of .gov for civilian agencies,[13] but some U.S. government-related websites use non-.gov domain names, including the United States Postal Service (e.g., usps.com) and various recruiting websites for armed services (e.g., goarmy.com). The United States Department of Defense and its subsidiary organizations typically use the .mil sTLD instead of .gov.


U.S.-based government organizations and publicly controlled entities are eligible to obtain a .gov domain. This includes federal, state, local, or territorial government, as well as any tribal government recognized by the federal government or a state government.[14]

To register a .gov domain, an authorization letter must be submitted to CISA. The signer of the letter differs by entity type, but it is typically an agency's head, chief information officer (CIO), or highest-ranking or elected official.

Historically, only U.S. federal government agencies were allowed to register a .gov domain. In May 2002, GSA proposed a change that would open registration to state, local, and tribal governments in the U.S.,[15] a change that went into effect in March 2003.[16]

In November 2019, before the transfer of .gov to CISA, GSA's authorization process was shown to be weak after someone impersonated the mayor of Exeter, Rhode Island in an authorization letter and successfully gained control of exeterri.gov. In response, GSA said it had implemented additional fraud prevention controls, and CISA advocated for transferring the TLD from GSA.[17]


The DOTGOV Act requires that CISA maintain requirements that “minimize the risk of .gov internet domains whose names could mislead or confuse users”.[18] These include:

The Act also requires that .gov domains not be used for political campaign or commercial purposes, and that domains are registered only by authorized individuals.

.gov has been used to serve certain policy goals. As an action following Executive Order 13571,[20] President Barack Obama restricted executive branch agencies from registering new .gov domains in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary, redundant, or outdated sites.[21] US government agencies used the .gov registrar to make it easy for new registrants to opt-in to HTTPS preloading [22] and to make it easier for the public to report potential security issues.[23]

Use by states and territories

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

State or territory Domain
Alabama al.gov and alabama.gov
Alaska ak.gov and alaska.gov
American Samoa as.gov and americansamoa.gov
Arizona az.gov and arizona.gov
Arkansas ar.gov and arkansas.gov
California ca.gov and california.gov
Colorado co.gov and colorado.gov
Connecticut ct.gov
Delaware de.gov and delaware.gov
District of Columbia dc.gov
Florida fl.gov and florida.gov (redirects to myflorida.com)
Georgia ga.gov and georgia.gov
Guam guam.gov
Hawaii hi.gov, hawaii.gov and ehawaii.gov
Idaho id.gov and idaho.gov
Illinois il.gov and illinois.gov
Indiana in.gov and indiana.gov
Iowa ia.gov and iowa.gov
Kansas ks.gov and kansas.gov
Kentucky ky.gov and kentucky.gov
Louisiana la.gov and louisiana.gov
Maine me.gov and maine.gov
Maryland md.gov and maryland.gov
Massachusetts ma.gov, mass.gov and massachusetts.gov
Michigan mi.gov and michigan.gov
Minnesota mn.gov and minnesota.gov
Mississippi ms.gov and mississippi.gov
Missouri mo.gov and missouri.gov
Montana mt.gov and montana.gov
Nebraska ne.gov and nebraska.gov
Nevada nv.gov and nevada.gov
New Hampshire nh.gov and newhampshire.gov
New Jersey nj.gov and newjersey.gov
New Mexico nm.gov and newmexico.gov
New York ny.gov
North Carolina nc.gov and northcarolina.gov
North Dakota nd.gov and northdakota.gov
Ohio oh.gov and ohio.gov
Oklahoma ok.gov and oklahoma.gov
Oregon oregon.gov
Pennsylvania pa.gov and pennsylvania.gov
Puerto Rico pr.gov
Rhode Island ri.gov and rhodeisland.gov
South Carolina sc.gov and southcarolina.gov
South Dakota sd.gov
Tennessee tn.gov and tennessee.gov
Texas tx.gov and texas.gov
Utah utah.gov
Vermont vt.gov and vermont.gov
Virgin Islands vi.gov
Virginia virginia.gov
Washington wa.gov and washington.gov
West Virginia wv.gov
Wisconsin wi.gov and wisconsin.gov
Wyoming wy.gov and wyoming.gov

International equivalents

While the use of gov as a top-level domain is restricted to the United States, several other countries have second-level domains of the same name or similar semantics for governmental purposes, including:

Country or Territory Domain Notes
Afghanistan gov.af
Albania gov.al
Algeria gov.dz
Andorra gov.ad
Angola gov.ao
Anguilla gov.ai British overseas territory
Armenia gov.am
Aruba gov.aw Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Argentina gob.ar
Austria gv.at
Australia gov.au
Åland gov.ax Part of Finland
Azerbaijan gov.az
Bahamas gov.bs
Bangladesh gov.bd
Barbados gov.bb
Belarus gov.by
Belgium gov.be gov.be is for national matters, the Belgian Federal Government is using fgov.be and belgium.be
Bulgaria gov.bg Only the Council of Ministers uses this site.
Bosnia and Herzegovina gov.ba
Brazil gov.br
Chile gob.cl or gov.cl
Canada gc.ca All other provinces and territories of Canada: gov.{xx}.ca where '{xx}' is the applicable province or territory's postal abbreviation, except Quebec, which uses gouv.qc.ca, and New Brunswick, which uses gnb.ca
          Quebec gouv.qc.ca Part of Canada
China gov.cn
          Hong Kong gov.hk Part of China
          Macau gov.mo Part of China
Colombia gov.co
Croatia gov.hr
Cyprus gov.cy
Czechia gov.cz
Egypt gov.eg
El Salvador gob.sv
Greece gov.gr
Finland gov.fi
France gouv.fr Stands for the French word gouvernement
Hungary gov.hu
India gov.in
Indonesia go.id
Iran gov.ir
Iraq gov.iq
          Kurdistan Regional Government gov.krd Part of Iraq
Ireland gov.ie
Israel gov.il
Italy gov.it
Japan go.jp
Kazakhstan gov.kz
Kenya go.ke
Latvia gov.lv
Lebanon gov.lb
Lithuania gov.lt
Malaysia gov.my
Malta gov.mt
Mexico gob.mx
Moldova gov.md
Morocco gov.ma
Myanmar (Burma) gov.mm
Nepal gov.np
New Caledonia gouv.nc Part of French overseas
New Zealand govt.nz
Nigeria gov.ng
North Korea gov.kp
Paraguay gov.py
Peru gob.pe
Pakistan gov.pk
Philippines gov.ph
Poland gov.pl
Portugal gov.pt
Romania gov.ro
Russia gov.ru
Singapore gov.sg
Slovakia gov.sk
Slovenia gov.si
South Africa gov.za
South Korea go.kr
Spain gob.es
Sri Lanka gov.lk
Sweden gov.se
Switzerland admin.ch
Taiwan (Republic of China) gov.tw
Thailand go.th
Trinidad and Tobago gov.tt
Turkey gov.tr
Ukraine gov.ua
United Kingdom gov.uk
          Scotland gov.scot Part of the United Kingdom
          Wales gov.wales Part of the United Kingdom
          Guernsey gov.gg British Crown dependency
          Jersey gov.je British Crown dependency
          Isle of Man gov.im British Crown dependency
          Bermuda gov.bm British Overseas Territory
          British Virgin Islands gov.vg British Overseas Territory
          Cayman Islands gov.ky British Overseas Territory
          Falkland Islands gov.fk British Overseas Territory
          Pitcairn Islands government.pn British Overseas Territory
          Turks & Caicos Islands gov.tc British Overseas Territory
Uruguay gub.uy
Venezuela gob.ve
Vietnam gov.vn

See also


  1. ^ "Delegation Record for .gov". Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  2. ^ Postel, John; Reynolds, Joyce (October 1984). "RFC 920 - Domain Requirements". Ietf Datatracker. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Postel, John (March 1994). "RFC 1591 - Domain Name System Structure and Delegation". Ietf Datatracker. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  4. ^ RFC 920, Domain Requirements, J. Postel, J. Reynolds, The Internet Society (October 1984)
  5. ^ Zakon, R. (November 1997). Hobbes' Internet Timeline. Network Working Group. doi:10.17487/RFC2235. FYI 32. RFC 2235.
  6. ^ Lipowicz, Alice (February 3, 2011). "GSA selects VeriSign to manage .gov domain name registry". GCN. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
  7. ^ "DOTGOV Act of 2020". December 27, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  8. ^ Murphy, Kevin (January 16, 2023). "Verisign loses prestige .gov contract to Cloudflare". DomainIncite. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
  9. ^ Schreiber, Paul (April 4, 2021). "State legislature websites, compared". Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  10. ^ ".gov data". get.gov. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  11. ^ "Gov Domain Fee Increase FAQs" (PDF). General Services Administration. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 1, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  12. ^ "A new day for .gov". get.gov. April 27, 2021. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  13. ^ "Memorandum 17-06: Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites and Digital Services" (PDF). Office of Management and Budget. §9, "Use Only Approved Domains". Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2021. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  14. ^ "Eligibility, .gov domain requirements". get.gov. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  15. ^ "GSA Proposes Rule to Make Dot-Gov Domain Available to Non-Federal Government Entities". General Services Administration. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  16. ^ "Federal Management Regulation; Internet GOV Domain". Federal Register. Retrieved September 19, 2021.
  17. ^ Krebs, Brian. "It's way too easy to get a .gov domain name". KrebsOnSecurity.com. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "6 USC 665". Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  19. ^ ".gov domain requirements". get.gov. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  20. ^ "Executive Order 13571". April 27, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  21. ^ Phillips, Macon (June 13, 2011). "TooManyWebsites.gov". Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  22. ^ Dixon, Cameron; Fox, Marina (October 29, 2018). "GSA steps up security for .gov". Digital.gov. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  23. ^ "Binding Operational Directive 20-01". Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. September 2, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2021.