Public Services > Central Government

GDS explains dropping of ‘gsi’ from government email

David Bicknell Published 18 December 2017

.gsi element of Whitehall and town hall email addresses will end by March 2019 to be replaced by organisations’ own domains


The head of the Public Services Network at the Government Digital Service (GDS) has been explaining the thinking behind the government’s plan to drop the ‘.gsi’ from central and local government email addresses.

In a blog , Mark Smith discussed the move which will affect users in both Whitehall and local councils as .gsi is phased out over the next year ahead of a March 2019 target date after which no-one will use a .gsi email address. 

Smith said the use of .gsi, which has been an element of government email addresses for more than 20 years, is “restrictive”, adding that the government will move away from the old infrastructure that it is fixed to. Instead, organisations will use their own domains, such as,,, or another relevant domain.

The ‘gsi-family’ of email domains, which also include, or, and the underlying private government network, the Government Secure Internet, began operating in 1996 so that government agencies could communicate more securely and reliably.

Smith suggested that email security is now built into the messaging services that government uses every day, and, he said, there are better and more efficient ways of achieving the security levels government needs. Because the old email domains were fixed to a legacy network infrastructure, he added, government email has become costly, restrictive and cumbersome to maintain.

“Migrating away from it gives far more flexibility and commercial control to departments and local authorities,” said Smith. “Email is one of the easiest and most widely used ways for government to interact with citizens. Moving away from ‘.gsi’ will help increase citizens’ confidence in the authenticity of emails they receive from government.".

Smith said organisations across government are currently working on migration plans and will be contacting their staff to let them know when and how the changes will happen. Both GDS and the National Cyber Security Centre will be providing guidance and technical support to organisations, he said.

Smith added that both the old and new domains will work concurrently, promising that no emails will be lost or undelivered, with centrally managed contact lists and distribution lists updated automatically.

He concluded, “Ending the dependency on ‘.gsi’, and migrating to a new domain will ensure that the security of government emails continues, the likelihood of falsified email addresses decreases, and that departments and local authorities have more control over the commercial aspect of which email system they use.”

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