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What to Think About When You're Thinking About Moving to .gov

Most government organizations that want to register a .gov domain name have already established an online home – a website or email address – at a non-.gov domain like .org or .us. We have other documentation to help you request a .gov domain, but the goal of this page is to help your organization think about what steps are necessary to actually transition to a .gov domain.

Moving to .gov is not solely a technical task, although there are some important technological considerations. Given the diversity of organizational types, authorities held, constituents, and underlying IT infrastructure of governments across the nation, the outline below is somewhat generic. This content is best used as a conversation piece between your government organization’s IT professionals (e.g., folks responsible for DNS, web, network, information security), public affairs team (people responsible for public communication online, in print, or elsewhere), and staff or executives responsible for administration. It should generate ideas so you can develop a transition plan.

Technological tasks

Many organizations take advantage of a domain update to upgrade certain infrastructure and/or move it to the cloud. Review what your needs and opportunities are.

Domains and Domain Name System (DNS)

Web redirects and URLs

Email

Identity

Security

Keep in mind that you don’t need to transition everything at once! Many have found success doing the simple (or most pressing) things first and tackling more complicated tasks in time.

Branding

Domain names show up in more places than just online. They’re printed on paper products (like letterhead or business cards), vehicles (painted on or included on license plates), or public signage (advertising, road signs). These products typically have their own refresh period. Consider the right time to update each.

Public communication

Many government organizations share the fact that they've transitioned to a .gov domain name via press release or social media, sometimes before and after the change. These events regularly get picked up online or in traditional media outlets, amplifying your ability to tell the public.

Here are some examples of government organizations communicating publicly about their .gov move:

Press release

Social media

If you announce your transition on social media, tag us at @cisagov. We’d love to help you get the word out!


Is there anything we’ve missed? Something you’ve found work well in your organization? You can let us know at dotgov@cisa.dhs.gov or suggest an edit on this page.