Reducing the Number of Federal Websites

Content From: Miguel Gomez, Director,, and Senior Communications Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: September 06, 20112 min read


President Obama, Federal Register

On June 13, 2011, President Obama launched the Campaign to Cut Waste, calling on federal agencies to target wasteful spending, improve government effectiveness, and help guide visitors to information.

There are almost 2,000 separate "domains" (see the bottom of this page for a definition) across the federal government, and many more websites buried under those domains. One of the campaign’s first steps is to target duplication and waste among federal websites, and to make it easier for visitors who are trying to find online information about federal policies, programs, and resources.

Between now and December 31, 2011, the White House has ordered a moratorium on the creation of any new federal domains. In addition, all Departments and agencies have been ordered to do a detailed inventory of all their domains and to shut down or consolidate 25% of those by the end of September 2011.

In response, departments and agencies are evaluating their (and and sites and making plans to improve the way they provide online information. One key way of doing this is for federal departments and agencies to work together to create and support consolidated, consumer-focused, topic-based websites, like and, both of which aggregate content from multiple HHS agencies and across the federal government as well.

Also as part of this process, all federal departments and agencies will be submitting Web Improvement Plans to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Those draft plans will be posted for public comment on October 11, 2011, and we will notify our readers when that occurs. Please consider commenting!

Not clear on the difference between a domain and website? According to OMB:

Domain: A domain is a registered name on the Internet. It allows an agency with that domain to have exclusive rights to that name so it can’t be used by another entity. In the Domain Name System hierarchy, “.gov” is considered a top-level domain (along with .com, .org, etc) A second-level domain is a domain that is directly below a top-level domain. For example, in, “epa” is the second-level domain of the “.gov” top-level domain. A single domain may contain multiple, sub-domains as part of its hierarchy (for example, and are sub-domains of These sub-domains are sometimes also referred to as “microsites.”

Website: A website is the domain name plus the hosted content. A website is considered unique if it’s managed independently and has its own design, navigation, or infrastructure. For example, is its own website, but it also contains multiple websites underneath, such as and