First- and Second-Level Domains, Part 2: No But Really. I Want One.
This is the second post in a 2-part series on first-level and second-level domains.
In my last blog post, I outlined the reasons you shouldn’t have a second-level domain (e.g. somegeorgiaagency.gov). To sum up, the basic reasons were better search results when using a third-level domain (someagency.georgia.gov), and you have to manage your own domain name service (DNS).
If you think the advantages of a second level domain outweigh the extra complexity, there is a process for that.
The federal General Services Administration (GSA) requires State CIOs to approve all second level domains before they will give one to a state agency. We've approved some in the past, mostly for agencies led by constitutional officers and the judicial branch.
A good example was the Georgia court system, which asked for georgiacourts.gov. Because of the separation of powers, and they could point to 24+ other states that had the same separation of .gov domains, we thought the request was reasonable and supported it.
Here are the steps to secure a second level domain:
- Request an exemption through Georgia Technology Authority (GTA). The specific state standard you are asking to be exempted from is SA-03-007 Georgia.Gov Domain Name.
The GSA administers the .gov domain. The GSA requires approval from the State CIO or the Governor before granting a second-level name to the “.gov” domain. GTA will not approve any new second-level “.gov” domains unless you give a sufficient justification to exempt yourself from the standard.
- If GTA grants the exemption, you’ll need to apply for the domain with the GSA. Part of the registration process with the GSA is for the State CIO to provide a letter supporting the request. There is a template for what the letter must contain described in the GSA registration process; we can fill some of that out, but would need the points of contact and description of intended use
In general, we encourage the use of the third-level domains for all requests; Of course, using the Drupal platform, you can use the directory structure as well — for example, dhs.georgia.gov/wic. These can be requested via support.georgia.gov.
- Part 1: Which should I get?