5 FAH-8 H-340


(CT:WEB-22;   11-16-2020)
(Office of Origin:  IRM/BMP/GRP/GP)


(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

a. The Department of State uses both internal and external networks, including the Internet, intranets, extranets, and demilitarized zones (DMZs).  The Internet has no access controls and is publicly accessible while other networks, at a minimum, require a user name and password to access.

b. Website development of unclassified systems may require the use of a Dedicated Internet Network (DIN).  Refer to 5 FAM 871 ENTERPRISE NETWORKS and 5 FAM 872 DEDICATED INTERNET NETWORKS (DIN)

c.  Website development for ClassNet/SIPRNet must be accomplished on a classified workstation or classified development network.

d. Any workstation/network used for website development purposes may not serve as the operational repository of images, files, or other information associated with a website.


(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

All Department websites (post, bureau, program offices, etc.) must request a domain name.  The structure of the main Department public site follows a hierarchy based on Under Secretary/bureau with a small number of specialized websites using other names.  The intranet and post Internet domain names follow a hierarchy based on localities, bureaus and offices (e.g., post.state.sbu or bureau.state.sbu).  This structure provides for more unique names, more easily located names, and the Department identification.

5 FAH-8 H-342.1  OpenNet Standards

5 FAH-8 H-342.1-1  Domain Names

(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

Domains are containers that hold the computer names associated with Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.  On OpenNet, the domain structure uses top-level domain .sbu (dot-sbu) and second-level state.sbu.  A subdomain that indicates the organization typically includes postname.state.sbu or bureauname.state.sbu.  Other naming conventions may be adopted, but must contain the state.sbu second-level domain, to distinguish intranet sites from the public sites that use state.gov.

Common examples of Intranet domain names:

Intranet.ds.state.sbu, intranet.hr.state.sbu

Med.m.state.sbu, wha.p.state.sbu

a.m.state.sbu/sites/gis, j.state.sbu/tip, e.state.sbu/stas

5 FAH-8 H-342.1-2  Host Names

(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

a. Hosts are computers or other devices that can be identified by an IP address and that provide web based services.  Host names must use the following naming standards:

(1)  Post/Bureau websites:  OpenNet websites associated with a post or bureau must use the domain name of the organization, and as appropriate, its parent organization.


m.state.sbu is the address for the Under Secretary for Management website.

eap.p.state.sbu is the address for the Bureau of East Asia Pacific Affairs (EAP), which is organizationally part of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (P).

(2)  Office websites:  Websites associated with an office must be identified by an alias consisting of part of the office symbol and the bureau/post domain name.


irm.m.state.sbu/ops is the address for the Operations Office in IRM (IRM/OPS) website.

b. Forbidden Host names:

(1)  Domain Name Server (DNS) host names may use a combination of alphabetic and numeric characters, but must begin with an alphabetic character.  The only other character which may be used is a dash or hyphen (-).  No other characters are authorized, including underscores.

(2)  OpenNet websites must not use "www" which is reserved for use on the Internet.

5 FAH-8 H-342.2  ClassNet Standards

(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

The Domain structure and naming standards for ClassNet are the same as for OpenNet except that the top level domain is .class instead of .sbu, and .sgov.gov is a ClassNet domain name alias.


openforum.state.sgov.gov is the address for the Secretary’s Open Forum.

5 FAH-8 H-342.3  Internet Standards

(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

There are four second-level domains approved for Embassy, Consulate, Mission, and U.S. Interest Section public Internet websites.  The Under Secretary for Management (M) mandated in 2007 that the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) must host these sites in its Content Management System.  IIP also hosts the Virtual Presence Posts.

5 FAH-8 H-342.3-1  Post Domain Names

(CT:WEB-11;   10-30-2015)

a. Embassy:  The second-level domain name for Embassy public Internet websites is "usembassy.gov".  The third-level or host name will be the city in which the embassy is located.


Ottawa.usembassy.gov and canada.usembassy.gov are the addresses for the Embassy Ottawa’s public Internet website.

b. Consulate:  The second-level domain name for Consulate public Internet websites is "usconsulate.gov".  The third-level or host name will be the city in which the consulate is located.  Because there may be multiple cities with consulates in a single country, use only the city name for consulate sites.


montreal.usconsulate.gov is the address for Consulate Montreal’s public Internet website.  Do not use canada.usconsulate.gov.

c.  Mission:  The second-level domain name for Mission public Internet websites is "usmission.gov".  The third-level or host name will be the city in which the mission is located.  Alternately, the acronym of the mission itself can be used.


geneva.usmission.gov is the address for the Mission Geneva’s public Internet website.

osce.usmission.gov is the address for the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

d. U.S. Interests Sections:  The second-level domain name for U.S. Interest Sections public Internet websites is "usint.gov".  The third-level or host name will be the city in which the U.S. Interests Section is located.

e. Country Sites:  Country names are linked to either a menu standard home page with links to all the official U.S. Government web and social media sites in that country or to the existing main embassy site if there is only one site in that country.  The second-level domain name for country public Internet websites is "usembassy.gov".  The third-level or host name will be the name of the country.  The use of country names in the URL is not mandatory.


japan.usembassy.gov (multiple Department of State offices).  This name points to a page with links to all U.S. diplomatic public Internet websites in the country.

argentina.usembassy.gov (only one Department of State office).  This name points directly to the existing U.S. Embassy’s public Internet website in Buenos Aires.

NOTE:  The domain name structure for embassies will change to the two-letter country code, plus usembassy.gov, as IIP implements a new hosting/content system, due to be complete during CY 2017.

f.  Virtual Presence Post sites:  Virtual presence posts do not have a chancery or other physical building with staff that work and live in the host city. The top-level domain for these posts is usvpp.gov. The third-level or host name will be the name of the city.

Examples: Bangalore.usvpp.gov, Mindanao.usvpp.gov.

g. Sites in other languages:  The third-level domain name for Embassy, consulate, mission, or other websites in other languages is the name of the language, plus the usual standard for the site.

Examples: French.belgium.usembassy.gov, Japanese.nagoya.usconsulate.gov.

    NOTE:  As of the publication date of this section, IIP will no longer approve new usconsulate.gov or usvpp.gov domain name requests.  This naming structure is phasing out as IIP implements a new content/hosting platform.

5 FAH-8 H-342.3-2  Required Domain Names

(CT:WEB-22;   11-16-2020)

Department public websites must use a state.gov domain name or .gov according to the naming convention for posts.  The top-level name .com is strictly prohibited.  Others, such as .net and .org, may be used for specific purposes see 5 FAH-8 H342.3-4.  Only one domain name per website may be used unless an exception is granted, for specific technical or programmatic reasons.

5 FAH-8 H-342.3-3  Domain Names for Public Internet Sites

(CT:WEB-22;   11-16-2020)

The Bureau of Public Affairs (PA) manages the main Department website.  For other public websites with a primarily domestic audience, domestic bureaus and offices must use state.gov as part of their URL, unless an exception has been requested and approved (see paragraph 2 below):

(1)  If the bureau or office is hosting interagency websites, a .gov extension is required at a minimum.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has suspended all new top-level domains.  Use state.gov names instead.  Where relevant, justifications should demonstrate the interagency content and need for interagency sponsorship that precludes the use of a single agency, e.g., state.gov, in the domain name.  The Chief Information Officer (CIO) must approve all top-level .gov domain name requests.  Applications for new domains are then submitted to and reviewed by the Office of Government-wide policy at the General Services Administration (GSA).  GSA administers all .gov URLs.  Once approved, IRM submits top-level URL requests to GSA on the sponsoring bureau’s behalf;

(2)  Websites maintained by non-governmental entities sponsored by the Department are considered "information dissemination" and must be approved by the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA/WM).  The domain names for such sites will depend upon the review of the content and management of the sponsored sites;

(3)  IIP and PA approve requests for new or changed domain names and forward them to the IRM Enterprise Network Operations for processing.  IRM will assist with any redirects that may be needed on a temporary basis to guide website visitors to the new site; and

(4)  The concern that a private entity may use a domain name that is not .gov (i.e., country.usembassy.com) in a misrepresentative way is not valid justification for reserving this type of domain name.  If such misrepresentation should occur, you must notify the Office of the Legal Adviser which will take appropriate action, including referral to the Department of Justice.

5 FAH-8 H-342.3-4  Password Requirement for Internet Sites for Internal Business

(CT:WEB-19;   02-12-2019)

a. If a Department website is on the Internet or an extranet, but is for internal business (whether for employees or specialized audiences with content not relevant to general public), it must have an authorization scheme with one account per user, and a password that conforms with the standard Department password construction requirements found at 12 FAM 623.3 to obtain access. And display a system use information banner, per 12 FAH -10 H-112.7-1c.

b. The intent is to prevent easy access to information that is not meant for public consumption.  PA, IRM, and IIP will review the creation of such sites closely as appropriate.

5 FAH-8 H-343  Through H-349 Unassigned