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?!
- 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
AAAArecord, 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
/developerpage, 171 domains have a
/datapage, 146 domains have a
/data.jsonpage, roughly 15%
- 16 domains redirect to whitehouse.gov, 10 to justice.gov, 9 to consumerfinance.gov and 8 to usa.gov
Math’s never been my strong point, so I highly encourage you to check my work. You can browse the full results at dotgov-browser.herokuapp.com or check an individual site (.gov or otherwise) at gov-inspector.herokuapp.com.
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.
Prior to GitHub, Ben was a member of the inaugural class of Presidential Innovation Fellows where he served as entrepreneur in residence reimagining the role of technology in brokering the relationship between citizens and government. Ben has also served as a Fellow in the Office of the US Chief Information Officer within the Executive Office of the President where he was instrumental in drafting the President’s Digital Strategy and Open Data Policy, on the SoftWare Automation and Technology (SWAT) Team, the White House’s first and only agile development team, and as a New Media Fellow, in the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of the Managing Director. His paper, Towards a More Agile Government was published in the Public Contract Law Journal, arguing that Federal IT Procurement should be more amenable to modern, agile development methods. More about the author →