GovCMS basics

GovCMS is the only service of its kind built by government for government. Learn the basics below.

On this page

What is GovCMS?

Built by government as a whole of government service, GovCMS is available to organisations of any size. It is suitable for websites containing publicly available information up to Official: Sensitive.

Using open source technology (Drupal) on a public cloud platform, GovCMS provides cyber security services.

No matter the size of your team, GovCMS allows you to manage and maintain affordable and responsive websites.

What is SaaS and PaaS?

GovCMS has two service offerings, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Both offerings include web hosting on Drupal, Drupal infrastructure maintenance and website backups.


Our Software as a Service (SaaS) offering means we will do the hard work for you. All you need to do is build your website, and add and maintain your content.

The GovCMS team will be responsible for your sites web protection services and security accreditation. As well as the Drupal security updates and application and infrastructure maintenance. You will also be able to access unlimited application and infrastructure support through the GovCMS Service Desk


Our Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering means you'll retain greater control. If your website needs higher levels of control and customisation this plan is for you. You will retain responsibility for the application layer, including security of your website.

As a PaaS customer, you'll get a tailored proposal that will meet your needs. You can choose the size of infrastructure and bandwidth capacity required for your website. You can also add service desk and infrastructure support.

Who can use GovCMS?

GovCMS is available to all Australian government organisations (that is, Commonwealth and State government).

If your website uses authentication, collects personal information or payments, talk to us early. There are some things you'll need to consider before moving to GovCMS.

What does CMS stand for?

CMS stands for Content Management System. The CMS GovCMS uses is Drupal.

A content management system is an application used to create, manage and update website content.

What is Drupal open source?

Open source software gives users the ability to reuse, change or share the software. It's usually developed in an open collaborative way by a world-wide network of developers all making contributions.  This is one of many reasons the Department of Finance selected Drupal for GovCMS.

The government can save on costs by using open source software. Drupal is free to use. There are no licence fees to install and run the CMS.

You may need to pay an extra cost if you choose to customise codes, make new modules or plugins or create your own templates and designs. You will only need to fund new modules and designs once. It is then available to all agencies using GovCMS and all other users of Drupal.

What to consider

We would love you to join us. Here are some things you need to consider before you make the move.

Do you have the right skills in your organisation to build a website?

We recognise all websites are unique as are the people who manage them. Sometimes organisations have needs ‘outside the box’. That is okay, we’re here to help. Our first tip - consider your needs early. You may need help to create, migrate or maintain your website. Options available to you are listed below.

Drupal services panel

The Drupal services panel is available to help you, using simplified contract management arrangements. All tiers of government can access the panel.

Contact our team, and we will connect you with the panel and send you a copy of the Services Catalogue, which lists available services and fees.

Does your website have any special functions?

Websites provide different functions and vary in complexity. When a website has special functions, we may need to do extra work to get them onto the platform. Talk to us early if your website requires any of the following functions:

  • website authentication
  • collection of personal information. For example, names, addresses and dates of birth
  • financial transactions

Your role

Whether you're migrating an existing website or creating a new one, we will need some help from you.

We recommend you assign the following roles to people in your organisation. In some cases it may be the same person:

  • Product owner - first contact, with full decision-making authority for the website
  • Subject Matter Expert (SME) - person most familiar with the website content, structure and/or technical details
  • Internal technical/ IT contact - to prepare your organisation for the move to GovCMS, answer questions and ensure your network can access the external GovCMS website
  • Domain Name Server (DNS) contact - this may be the same person as the technical contact. They will submit and make the DNS change internally to make the website go live

You may also like to use professional services to help with tasks such as content migration and website design, development and implementation.

Your GovCMS plan includes website hosting and management of the software and platform (or just the platform if you have a PaaS plan). You should also consider how you intend to create and maintain your new website; and how you intend to migrate existing content.

URL Redirects on GovCMS

When you create or migrate a website to GovCMS you will have the ability to use the GovCMS redirect service for your alternate domain. For example the site would have its non-www,, redirect to

Redirects will be arranged by the Finance onboarding team during the build phase. Additional information will be provided.

This service currently does not support additional redirects for legacy domains. Any legacy domains you wish to redirect will need to be organised separately to the GovCMS on boarding process.

This page was last updated on Thursday 5 November 2020