We offer DNS masking, which allows you to show searchers search.YOURAGENCY.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.YOURAGENCY.gov but not search.subagency.YOURAGENCY.gov.

  1. Create a search subdomain for your domain. If search is already in use in your environment, you could use find or findit as your subdomain.

  2. Create a CNAME in your external DNS records for search.YOURAGENCY.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.YOURAGENCY.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.search the DNS record would look like this:

     search.YOURAGENCY.gov   CNAME  abc-gov-search.sites.infr.search.usa.gov
  3. 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.

  4. 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 search.usa.gov/search to search.YOURAGENCY.gov/search.

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).

Did you know? 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.

Did you know? Once the CNAME is set up, if visitors to your site happen to truncate the URL in the browser bar to https://search.YOURAGENCY.gov (without any parameters), they’re automatically redirected to your agency’s homepage at https://www.YOURAGENCY.gov.

Did you know? Most of our customers use a search.YOURAGENCY.gov mask (such as search.nih.gov). If the search subdomain is already used by another application, you can use find or findit, such as find.irs.gov or findit.state.gov. We no longer support other subdomain patterns.