Analysis of Federal Executive .govs (Part Deux)

Posted July 7, 2014 | View revision history

In September 2011, in response to the Office of Management and Budget releasing a list of all federal executive domains, I built a small tool called Site Inspector and created a quick analysis of the technology and capabilities that power each federal domain.

Nearly three years later, I resurrected that tool, albeit a bit smarter, and, using the latest list, thought I’d take a look at how things have changed in the time since. Efforts like the Digital Strategy and Open Data Policy have surely moved the needle, right? RIGHT?!

The Highlights:

  • Approximately a quarter reduction in number of .govs (1640 - 1229 = 441)
  • 1000 of those domains are live (about 83%, up from 73%)
  • Of those live domains, about 83% are reachable without the www. prefix, a negligible increase
  • Only 64 sites return an AAAA record, the first step towards IPv6 compliance (up from 10)
  • 250 sites, approximately one in four, support SSL (HTTPS), but only one in ten enforce it
  • 87% of sites use no detectable content management system, about a 5% decrease
  • Of those with a CMS, Drupal is still by far the most popular (100+ sites), with WordPress powering 14 sites and Joomla powering 7
  • One in four sites use Google Analytics (almost a three-fold increase), with a handful of sites using Facebook insights
  • Roughly a third of service advertise that they are powered by open source server software (e.g. Apache, Nginx), slightly more than those that are powered by closed source server software (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Sun)
  • 74 sites are still running IIS 6.0, a ten+ year old server
  • HHS is the biggest perpetrator of domain sprawl with 110 domains, followed by GSA (105), Treasury (92), and Interior (89)
  • 142 domains have a /developer page, 171 domains have a /data page, 146 domains have a /data.json page, roughly 15%
  • 16 domains redirect to, 10 to, 9 to and 8 to

Math’s never been my strong point, so I highly encourage you to check my work. You can browse the full results at or check an individual site (.gov or otherwise) at

Please note: This data is to be treated as preliminary and is provided “as is” with no guarantee as to its validity. The source code for all tools used, including the resulting data, is available on GitHub. If you find an error, I encourage you to open an issue or submit a pull request.


Ben Balter is a Senior Product Manager at GitHub, the world’s largest software development network, where he oversees the platform’s Community and Safety efforts. Named one of the top 25 most influential people in government and technology, Fed50’s Disruptor of the Year, and winner of the Open Source People’s Choice Award, Ben previously served as GitHub’s Government Evangelist, leading the efforts to encourage government at all levels to adopt open source philosophies for code, data, and policy development. More about the author →

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