Instructions and requirements for alpha.canada.ca subdomains
Government of Canada departments and agencies can use alpha.canada.ca subdomains to deploy and test experimental web applications and services. This domain is meant for continually evolving “alpha” prototype products that are still in development and are not ready for full public use.
For more mature products that are still under large-scale active development, teams can use the beta.canada.ca subdomain.
Subdomain naming conventions
Web applications and services on alpha.canada.ca use the following naming convention, aligned with the URL model in the Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification:
For simplicity, each service has a separate subdomain name in each language (to avoid longer bilingual URLs). In cases where departmental acronyms are bilingual, or where the service name is bilingual, the same web addresses can be used for both languages.
Departmental acronyms are used as the “top-level” subdomain, in front of alpha.canada.ca, to avoid naming conflicts with individual services. Only the official acronyms established under the Federal Identity Program will be used to represent departments and agencies.
For Government of Canada-wide applications and services, teams can request a unique top-level subdomain instead of using a departmental acronym. (For example, service-name.alpha.canada.ca.) These requests must be approved by both the Digital Transformation Office and the Canadian Digital Service.
To request a unique top-level alpha.canada.ca subdomain, start by contacting the Digital Transformation Office at TBS.
This subdomain is meant for experimental and prototype web applications and services that are under active development by product teams. To be deployed on alpha.canada.ca, a web application or service needs to meet the following criteria:
- hosted on public cloud infrastructure
- open source on a publicly-visible repository
- automatically deployable via git operations
- use HTTPS
- actively developed within the past four months
In addition, the web application or service must include the following elements:
- an “alpha” banner to indicate to users that it is a prototype service
- a feedback or issue-reporting method (either email address, web form, or public issue tracker)
- a “nofollow” meta tag or robots.txt file to prevent indexing by search engines
Web applications and services hosted on alpha.canada.ca are subject to automated security and compliance auditing. Applications and services that no longer meet the criteria above, or that have unresolved security vulnerabilities, will be automatically removed from the domain name listing system. Product teams will be notified by email at least ten days in advance of an automated removal.
To add your web application or service to alpha.canada.ca, make a pull request to the DNS repository. Once approved, these DNS changes are propagated automatically and should be visible within 24 hours. Upon receiving approval, provide contact information for your alpha product to the Digital Transformation Office at TBS.
For technical support or questions, email the Canadian Digital Service Platform team.