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.com or .gov, Yes There’s a Difference

The .gov domain is reserved exclusively for government entities in the United States. Using a .gov domain adds a level of trust and credibility to the website, as it signifies that the website is an official government resource. The use of .gov domains are subject to stringent security requirements and are managed by the US. General Services Administration (GSA). This helps ensure that government websites are secure and less susceptible to cyber threats. By using .gov domains, local governments maintain consistency and standardization across their online presence. This makes it easier for citizens to identify and access official government websites. Instituting a .gov domain helps local governments comply with legal and regulatory requirements related to online communication and information dissemination. Overall, using a .gov domain reinforces the legitimacy, security, and the trustworthiness of local government websites, making them reliable sources of information and services for citizens.


The great news is that all levels of government are eligible for the domain change and even more importantly, it can be accomplished FOR FREE. This link, will provide you with detailed directions on how to complete the change and even provides a test input that allows one to search various website titles to see if your desired name is available. The applicant must be a government employee, or be working on behalf of the government, to request a .gov domain. Before you can request your first .gov domain, you will be required to verify your identity with This is a necessary layer of security that requires you to prove you are you, and not someone pretending to be you. You’ll need a state-issued ID, a Social Security number, and a phone number for identity verification. You’ll be prompted to verify your identity when you begin the domain request process. If you have your account and have gathered all the information you need, completing your domain request might take around 15 minutes. They’ll ask questions related to your organization and the domain you desire.

There are several things you’ll need to know to prior to completing the form.

  • Type of government organization you represent.

  • Organization name and mailing address

  • Your authorizing official

  • Current websites for your organization (if you have one)

  • .Gov domain you want

  • Purpose of your domain

  • Your contact information

  • Other employees from your organization

Once submitted, they will review your request. This takes approximately 20 business days so your application can be verified.

  • Your organization is eligible for a .gov domain.

  • The applicant works at the organization and/or can make requests on its behalf.

  • The municipalities requested domain meets the naming requirements.  

The process is not a daunting task and will certainly be a worthy improvement to the municipal operation. Remember you’ll need to update the site direction to other government entities to ensure they are aware of the change.


So, “fire this thing up,” and transition your .com website to .gov.


 About the Author

David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 33 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.

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