What Is .gov Domain?
.gov is a sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) in the Domain Name System of the Internet, which only government entities use. .gov is one of the original top-level domains created in 1984, while the first website with this domain, css.gov, was launched in 1985. Currently, there are about 5,300+ .gov active websites on the Internet.
In Which Scenarios Should You Use the .gov Domain?
While the intended scenario for a .gov domain was for all government entities, nowadays, only the USA can obtain a .gov domain for:
- Websites of federal and local agencies
- Professional websites of state or territorial entities
- Online presence of other publicly controlled entities
You can register .gov domain only if you’re launching a website for government activities. Also, you need to be located in the USA. If you’re fulfilling these two requirements, the next thing that .gov implies as a requirement is submitting an authorization letter to CISA.
This is a must because GSA’s authorization process failed in November 2019 before the transfer of .gov to CISA. More precisely, someone impersonated Exeter, Rhode Island’s mayor, in an authorization letter and successfully gained control of exeterri.gov.
You can register your .gov domain on get.gov by complying with CISA’s requirements. In other words, the .gov domain name must correspond with the requesting entity’s organization’s name or services. Also, only federal agencies can use generic terms, and they can also combine them with state or local municipality names.
Besides agencies, .gov regulations allow even legislative branches to use the .gov abbreviation. However, the US Congress and the US courts authorized personnel within these government organizations can register and use .gov domain names.
Furthermore, most of the non-federal domain types need to include the two-letter United States postal abbreviation or state name equivalent. More so, you can’t use .gov domains for political campaigns or commercial purposes and only authorized individuals can register .gov domain.
The last rule was imposed after President Barack Obama restricted executive branch agencies from registering new .gov domains so that he could reduce unnecessary, redundant, or outdated sites.
How to Buy .gov Domain?
.gov domain is available only for US entities that are connected to the government. You can register .gov domain via get.gov after checking whether the desired name is available on Whois Lookup. But before you start, make sure to understand the .gov requirements so you don’t face any allegations.
Steps on How to Buy .gov Domain
- Prepare all necessary documents – you need to be part of an authorized government entity and submit an authorization letter to CISA if you want to buy .gov domain. This is because not everyone can register a website with this domain.
- Register .gov website via get.gov. You can later transfer it to a trustworthy registry that supports .gov domains.
- After CISA approves your application, choose a suitable domain name that doesn’t go against the rules and purchase it. Then, you should verify it, and once you receive an URL address, you’ll become the official and the only owner of the .gov page.
- Activate the domain and protect it by implementing advanced domain privacy features. Although CISA comes with robust features, you should also set strong passwords, two-factor authentication, registrar lock, SSL certificate, domain status notification, and limited access. Due to this, your domain name system (DNS) will avoid potential cyberattacks.
Our Recommended Places to Register
While you can’t register .gov domain on another platform except for .get.gov, you can transfer your domain to another company. So, here are our top choices:
The first on our list is GoDaddy. This registrar offers robust security features, such as DNSSEC, that Norid recommends, SSL certificates, and Web Application Firewall (WAF). As this is the largest domain registrar, you can transfer your .gov domain if you decide you want GoDaddy to host your official site.
Namecheap is another reliable registrar that supports .gov domains. But besides only selling domains, Namecheap allows you to migrate your .gov site on its web host and get a two months free private email, an SSL certificate, and 24/7 customer support.
Last but not least, you can also choose HostGator as your web host and get a free domain migration. As a result, you’ll be covered by encryption, SSL certificates, and DDoS attack prevention. On top of that, you can even benefit from 24/7/365 support.
Perfect partners for your .gov Domain
Hosting – the first step is to register .gov domain, but the second step is to choose a reputable web hosting service. This will help the website stay safe, and it will also enhance its performance. Thankfully, you can find the best web hosting provider on this site.
SSL Protection – If your domain doesn’t utilize SSL protection, Google and other search engines will decrease its rank, and your website will seem unprofessional. To avoid this, you should implement an SSL certificate that usually comes with your web hosting plan or buy it from a third party.
Premium DNS – By having a premium DNS, you’ll stay safe from DDoS attacks. These are among the most common forms of cyberattacks that seriously threaten your business. By avoiding them, you’ll improve your business safety and prevent data breaches.
Private Email – Government websites must look professional, which is why you need a private email address. Besides being more secure than Outlook, Yahoo, and Hotmail, private emails allow you to create an address with your domain name in it. As a result, users won’t doubt your reputation, and they’ll contact you easily.
Domain Information for .gov
|Minimum Registration Period
|Maximum Registration Period
|Minimum Renewal Period
|Maximum Renewal Period
|Is Domain Privacy Supported
|Are IDN Domains Supported
|Is RegistrarLock Supported
|Is DNSSEC Supported
Popular .gov Domains
Here are some of the most popular .gov domain name websites:
- usa.gov (Ahref’s rank: 92) – usa.gov is the official web portal of the United States federal government.
- irs.gov (Ahref’s rank: 92) – irs.gov represents the revenue service for the United States federal government, which is responsible for collecting US federal taxes.
- state.gov (Ahref’s rank: 91) – state.gov is a website of the first administrative arm of the US executive branch.
.gov Domain Alternatives
.gov can’t be substituted with another domain extension and still keep its authority, but you can launch a similar website with the following abbreviations:
- .com – This is the most popular domain name extension that guarantees your reputation.
- .net – As around 5.18 billion people use .net, you’ll indeed seem professional.
- .org – This can be an excellent alternative for .gov as it will give your website a taste of professionalism, trustworthiness, and authority.