Skip to main content

A new day for .gov

April 27, 2021

.gov, now at no cost

CISA now administers the .gov top-level domain (TLD), a milestone required within 120 days of enactment of the DOTGOV Act. Since that day, we’ve:

A new price for .gov

In conversations with current, former, and potential .gov registrants, one concern was raised above all others: the price of .gov domains, $400 per year. Though .gov is like a gated community – a digital space that’s only available to genuine U.S.-based government organizations – government IT administrators have often found the higher price hard to justify to their management in the face of lower-cost alternatives, typically priced at less than $20 annually from other TLDs. This is felt most acutely by smaller municipalities and the election community.

Since most other TLDs do not restrict who can obtain domains, it can be hard to tell whether a online service that purports to be from a government is genuine. That impacts the public, who may be susceptible to cybersecurity or other real-world harms related to impersonation attempts. Similarly, these attempts can be successful at impersonating government officials to other officials inside government.

There’s perhaps never been a more important time for the public to know where to get official government information online. So, in order to remove unnecessary barriers and reduce the credibility of malicious impersonation attempts, .gov domains will be available at no cost for qualifying organizations beginning today.

A new standard for .gov

What’s it take to qualify? The requirements to obtain and maintain a .gov domain have been updated, an action also required by the DOTGOV Act. In addition to edits made for clarity and comprehension, here’s a summary of key substantive changes:

The full diff between the current and prior requirements is also available for review.

It’s a new day for CISA’s DotGov program, and we look forward to getting the governments of the United States on the internet – securely.


Here’s some answers to questions you may have:

How does the removal of fees affect the DOTGOV Act provision that makes Homeland Security grant funds available for “migrating any online service” to .gov?

Migrating may include more than a registration fee. FEMA, which manages the Homeland Security grant program, has already documented in their preparedness grants manual that “migrating online services to the ‘.gov’ internet domain” may be part of the proposed expenditures within a qualifying government’s “investment justification” (IJ) submission.

Does the removal of fees also apply to federal agencies?

Yes. Federal agencies will not be charged a registration or renewal fee.

Since .gov domains are available at no cost, do you still need a billing contact for my domain?

For now, billing contacts remain a part of the .gov registrar and will need to be included in domain authorization letters. Since there is no billing function, however, you may consider it like a second administrative or technical contact. We anticipate updating the registrar soon so it doesn’t require a billing contact.

Do domain authorization letters still need to be notarized?


Will refunds be available to organizations who recently paid for a .gov domain?

Unfortunately, no.