URLs on SF.gov

URLs on SF.gov are structured to show users where they are and how they got there. They reassure our users that they are on a single, consistent website. 

URL names prioritize what San Franciscans need from the City, so the shortest URLs are given to services.

URLs use the title of the page, with dashes between words. Small words, like and, the, or are skipped. We add structure to the URL for non-service content. 

Standard URLs work well within the site, and we will not change the URL structure of SF.gov for new URL requests. 

The most effective way to get a strong, short URL is to create strong page titles focused on what users are coming to SF.gov to do. http://sf.gov/get-immigration-legal-help is a full URL, but should be short enough to fit on most advertising.



  • User and SEO friendly

  • Consistent and predictable

  • Short and simple

  • Memorable

  • easy to type

  • everything a user can reach on your site should have a distinct URL that a user can bookmark and use later to reach that same location

  • Services-oriented

  • We spell things out rather than use acronyms in long/full URLs. Short URLs may use acronyms. 

General guidance

  • use dashes to separate words

  • omit articles (a/an/the)

    • Automatically removed: a, an, as, at, before, but, by, for, from, is, in, into, like, of, off, on, onto, per, since, than, the, this, that, to, up, via, with

  • be lowercase

  • match the title of the page, when possible


List pages

Department homepages



Department homepages are the pages for any government department, agency or public body.

Department pages are within the /department directory. The full title of the department is turned into the URL. 

Sub-departments are nested within their parent departments.

Short URLs for departments

Departments can have a single short URL. By default, this is the shortest version of the organization’s name in common use (which may be an acronym).

Short URLs for other groups

Other divisions, groups, campaigns, and initiatives may request short URLs only if they need it for public promotional materials. 

The short URLs for groups within parent departments default to including the parent department name or acronym. 

  • sf.gov/gsa/oca for the Office of Contracts Administration within the General Services Agency

If a sub-department is particularly high-profile, they may have a short URL with only their name, excluding the parent department.

  • www.sf.gov/mohcd for the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development within the Office of the Mayor

More examples:



Topic pages gather transactions, services, policies, departments, news, events related to a theme or “tag”. 

Topic pages are within the /topics directory.  




For MVP, the only service content types we have are transaction start pages and media (ie. PDF forms). Later, we may have other content that is related to a service or a transaction -- explainers, eligibility rules, fee charts, etc. Later later, we will have actual digital services.

Transaction start pages

Transaction start pages come right after the top-level domain, with no subdirectory. The URL uses the name of the service, including the verb. Note that “a” would be removed from “Apply for a cannabis equity permit”

Other service content, such as separate pages for eligibility info, process explainers, media, etc, is added to the base URL.

More examples:

More guidance about URLs on SF.gov