How to Mask Your Domain
We offer DNS masking, which allows you to show searchers
search.example.gov (instead of
search.USA.gov). Follow these steps to mask your domain. Please note that due to limitations in the size of our SSL certificate, we are only able to offer top level domain masking: i.e.,
search.example.gov but not
searchsubdomain for your domain. If
searchis already in use in your environment, you could use
finditas your subdomain.
Create a CNAME in your external DNS records for
search.example.gov. Point it to
yoursitehandle.sites.infr.search.usa.gov. Your site handle is listed on the settings page in the Search Admin Center.
For example: if your site handle is
abc, the DNS record would look like this:
search.example.gov CNAME abc.sites.infr.search.usa.gov
NOTE: if your site handle contains a
., please replace it with a
-in your DNS record, e.g., for site handle
abc.gov.searchthe DNS record would look like this:
search.example.gov CNAME abc-gov-search.sites.infr.search.usa.gov
After your DNS record has been added, email us to request to be added to our SSL certificate. If your CNAME is not on our SSL certificate, browser security warnings will appear when your search results page attemps to load over
HTTPS. It generally takes a few days for these requests to get through our queue.
Your domain mask will work as soon as these two steps are complete.
Important Note: If you have a CAA record, please allow
letsencrypt.orgto sign certificates for your domain. We use LetsEncrypt as our certificate provider, so this allows us to add you to our SSL certificate. If you do not have a CAA record, you do not need to take any action. Learn more in the LetsEncrypt CAA documentation.
When your DNS record is in place and you have received confirmation that your domain mask has been added to our SSL certificate, change your search box’s form code action from
Troubleshooting tip: Many agencies have both internal and external DNS. Be sure to update your external DNS records (step 1) before changing your form code (step 2).
- Any search site within your domain may use the same domain mask and CNAME record, even if the CNAME is not associated with that particular site’s handle. To implement an existing mask for a search box, just do Step 2, above.
- Once the CNAME is set up, if visitors to your site happen to truncate the URL in the browser bar to https://search.example.gov (without any parameters), they’re automatically redirected to your agency’s homepage at https://www.example.gov.
- Most of our customers use a
search.example.govmask (such as search.nih.gov). If the
searchsubdomain is already used by another application, you can use
findit, such as
findit.state.gov. We no longer support other subdomain patterns.