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Internet and Email Domain Name Management Policy 

Department of Information Resources
Adopted November 24, 2010

Purpose, Background and Benefits

The purpose of the Internet and eMail Domain Name Management policy is to provide guidance regarding Internet domain management, registration, and naming and email naming to ensure uniformity across Texas state agencies.

The Department of Information Resources (DIR), on behalf of the State of Texas, provides management, registration, and authorization for the use of texas.gov, tx.gov and state.tx.us domain names. Additionally, as the state’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), DIR’s executive director provides authorization to eligible entities seeking a .gov domain name in Texas.

DIR manages the state.tx.us domain name in conformance with Internet technical document Request for Comment (RFC) 1480, which prescribes conventions for naming Internet domains for state governments, counties, cities, libraries, and other entities located in the United States. Since 2002, the .us domain is available for any United States entity to purchase, and is no longer limited to government entities.

DIR manages the texas.gov domain name in accordance with the authority and naming convention provided to states in Federal Management Regulation (FMR) 41 CFR part 102─173. Section 102─173.35 authorizes states’ Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to approve the use of the .gov domain. The CIO of Texas is the Executive Director of DIR.

To further strengthen Texas government brand recognition, texas.gov has been designated as the primary, outward-facing domain name for state agencies. Because the .gov Domain Naming System structure is exclusive to government use, public trust and citizen confidence will be strengthened in the knowledge that they are using an official Texas government website when accessing a texas.gov site.

Scope

This policy provides information regarding the management, and registration of Internet domains and sets forth criteria for establishing public-facing domain names. This policy applies to Texas state agencies, as defined in Texas Administrative Code, Section 206.3.

DIR, on behalf of the State of Texas, provides the authorization, management and registration of the tx.gov, texas.gov, and state.tx.us domain names in accordance with DIR administrative rule and policy. DIR authorizes eligible entities’ requests for .gov domain names in accordance with FMR 41 CFR part 102–173.

Texas.gov has been designated as the primary, outwardly facing domain name for Texas government entities. Texas state agencies are strongly recommended to migrate to [agencyacronym].texas.gov and rebrand their agency websites and email addresses within a fiscally responsible and practical time frame.

The State of Texas, effective with the adoption date of this policy, will not issue any new state.tx.us domain names to state agencies.

Based on RFC 1480, Texas Institutions of Higher Education should continue using the .edu domain.

DIR is committed to continuing support for  the.tx.us domain name forother Texas government entities, registration for councils of government, and other eligible jurisdictions that currently use or elect to acquire and use the naming convention [jurisdictionacronym].[jursidictionname].tx.us.

Texas government entities, including municipalities, counties, councils of government, utility districts, and other eligible jurisdictions are also eligible for the use of the texas.gov domain name according to 41 CFR 102–173. A schedule for the availability of the texas.gov domain zone for other government entities will be established after a period of evaluation and review.

Agencies with pre-existing domain names utilizing .com, .org, or other top-level domain names, traditionally used by non-governmental entities, should evaluate the domain names for their benefit, risk, and cost.

Policy

1. Management

DIR provides Domain Name Registration services within the texas.gov and state.tx.us domains for Texas state agencies and within the state.tx.us domain for other Texas government entities.

Registration services are provided at no cost to these organizations. DIR is responsible for authorizing and delegating third-level domains for texas.gov and fourth-level domains for state.tx.us. The Texas CTO is responsible for the authorization of any .gov domain name requests.

The General Services Administration (GSA) manages the registration services for the .gov domain throughout the U.S. The state’s CTO must authorize the request for any Texas agency.gov domain and registration with the GSA.  Registration of a .gov domain name requires an annual fee (41 CFR Part 102–173).

2. Registration

Upon request by a state agency, DIR will review, and if approved by DIR, authorize and delegate the agency’s requested domain name to serve as the third-level domain name for the texas.gov identifier. The registration process for domain names is available on the DIR website.

State agency management of sub-domains must comply with State of Texas website standards (1 TAC 206) and applicable email standards.

If an agency determines a second-level .gov domain is necessary for the proper performance of an agency function, the head of the agency must submit a request with justification for the .gov domain to DIR’s executive director. GSA requires the authorization of the Texas CTO prior to the issuance of a .gov domain.  

3. Eligibility Period

A texas.gov domain name in conformance with the Domain Naming Convention in this policy will be registered for an indefinite term.  Domain Names that are authorized but are in exception to the specified Domain Naming Convention are subject to periodic review.

All agencies should periodically contact the registrar at Registrar@texas.gov to update administrative information or other information pertinent to the continued authorization of the domain name. This information enables DIR to ensure the texas.gov domains provide secure, official websites and promote the best possible service to Texas citizens.

4. Domain Naming Convention

For state agencies within the texas.gov domain, the standard agency designation must be its agency acronym, shown as [agencyacronym].texas.gov. Use of the agency name in lieu of the agency acronym may be considered provided the terminology is singularly unique to the agency and is recognizable by the public.

5. Domain Naming Convention Exceptions

Domain names that do not meet the prescribed Domain Naming Convention [agencyacronym].texas.gov or [name].texas.gov are considered exceptions to the policy. General terms such as “recreation,” “benefits,” or “eligibility” without a unique agency identifier are considered exceptions because they do not meet the policy naming convention and do not singularly represent a specific agency/program origin or service.

An agency head or designee must approve the agency’s request for a domain name that is an exception to the specified naming convention. An exception request must acknowledge on the DIR registration form that the requested domain name is not in conformance with the policy and must provide the name of the agency head or designee who has approved the request. DIR consideration of an exception request will adhere to the Exception Request Process and schedule posted on the DIR website.

If an exception is approved, the agency must follow the same registration process for all domain names available on the DIR website.

6. Electronic Mail (email) Naming Convention

As agencies migrate to the texas.gov domain, it is expected that agency email addresses will also be migrated to the texas.gov domain naming convention. The recommended personal naming convention for email is [firstname.lastname]@[agencyacronym].texas.gov.

Definitions and Acronyms

Domain
A region of jurisdiction on the Internet for naming assignment. DIR is responsible for registrations in the texas.gov and state.tx.us domains for state agencies and other Texas government entities. The General Services Administration is responsible for registrations in the .gov domain.

Domain Name
A name assigned to an Internet server that locates the organization or entity on the Internet. Internet Domain Name servers have registries of Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers that relate to the readable text name.

Domain Name System (DNS)
The Domain Name System helps users find their way around the Internet. It translates domain names into the numerical (binary) identifiers associated with networking equipment for the purpose of locating and addressing these devices worldwide.

.gov
This refers to the subscript of those domains ending with .gov. The .gov domain hosts only official, government sites at the federal-, state- and local-government levels, including federally recognized Indian tribes, known as Native Sovereign Nations (NSNs). The .gov domain provides the official and trusted Internet presence for these government entities.

Registrar
An organization that manages and reserves Internet domain names in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries (accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) or national country code top-level domain (ccTLD) authority). The registrar is responsible for maintaining domain name record information about each domain name and managing registration, expiration, re-registration, and the fee collection processes.

Second-level, third-level, and subdomains
The domain name system is designed as a hierarchy. The root is the highest level of the hierarchy, followed by the top-level domain followed by the second-level domain, then the third-level domain. For example, for the domain “agency.texas.gov,” “agency” is the third-level domain, “texas” is the second-level domain, “gov” is the top-level domain, and the “.” is the root. Within the hierarchy, sub-domains exist at any level below the top-level domain.

Citations

Version History

  • November 24, 2010 – Policy adopted; replaces SRRPUB07 and SRRPUB10.
  • November 24, 2011 – Next Review Date