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Host your site on GovCMS

Hosting agreements

If your agency is ready to sign up for GovCMS, you'll need to provide some basic information and we'll help you choose the right pricing plan.

Your agency will be asked to sign an MoU with the Department of Finance that outlines the responsibilities and roles of everyone involved in the provision of hosting services. The Department of Finance has a contract with our official service provider, Salsa Digital. The MoU creates a back-to-back agreement and it also describes how Finance will manage the service.

Hosting fees are paid 12-month in advance. When you add a site to GovCMS, you will pay a setup fee in the first year in addition to your hosting fees. If you don't choose the right plan, we can make adjustments during the year. As your site traffic grows you may also need to upgrade plans. If something changes that affects the cost of your hosting, we don't just automatically send an invoice, but we will have a chat with you to agree what happens next.

Two hosting options

There are two GovCMS hosting options available - SaaS or PaaS. For most agencies SaaS is the answer; you can then just concentrate on creating great content and focus on user needs.


GovCMS Software as a Service (SaaS) hosting removes the burden of managing your own software, licensing and infrastructure.

Built on Drupal Open Source Software, SaaS is hosted in public cloud infrastructure in Australia. The infrastructure and content management system are security accredited, tested and maintained for agencies as part of the GovCMS service.

The offering also includes procurement and contract management, web protection services and WCAG AA compliant templates and themes.


GovCMS Platform as a Service (PaaS) caters to agencies that need higher levels of control, customisation and flexibility for their websites. 

PaaS is self-managed hosting in a dedicated cloud environment. You get access to do high level customisations, but you'll need a lot more internal expertise. You'll need to do your own security updates and patching, and features like web protection services are optional extras.

Don't immediately jump to the conclusion that you will need PaaS for your website. You'll be surprised to see the range of rich experiences and modern functionality available on the SaaS platform.

Contact the GovCMS team for further information.

A side by side comparison

Table: SaaS and PaaS hosting compared - what's included, what's not 

Software as a Service


Platform as a Service


Agency development capability Low to high Medium to high
Website complexity Low to high Low to high
Drupal code GovCMS distribution only Any version of Drupal
Start with the GovCMS distribution Yes (Required) Yes (Optional, but encouraged)
Customise the GovCMS distribution Ask the GovCMS team for a code review - code certification may incur one-off certification fees - Finance takes on responsibility for updates and maintenance  Yes - agencies remain responsible for customisations
Customise design/look and feel Agencies have complete control over look and feel Agencies have complete control over look and feel
Web protection service DDoS protection, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) cache, and a Web Application Firewall (WAF) are included at no additional charge Not included unless purchased as optional extra
IRAP Assessment Platform and CMS covered by an IRAP managed and maintained by Finance Agency is responsible for IRAP of CMS and all bespoke code. Platform accreditation managed and maintained by Finance
Security updates Platform, Drupal Core and Drupal Modules updated by Finance and service provider at no additional charge Agency responsible for all Drupal updates. Service provider updates platform. Maintenance and security support packages are additional cost.
Commitment to make development effort available to the open source community Yes Strongly encouraged
Penetration testing Included for platform functionality and for modules included in GovCMS distributions. Agencies are encouraged to pen test their sites especially if they have integrated with third-party tools Included for platform functionality only. Agencies are responsible for pen testing of CMS and all modules used.
Benefit from new GovCMS functionality as it is developed Yes, functionality is tested for compatibility with existing code and new features are available at no extra cost Yes, but agency is responsible for regression testing against customisations
Release Management Dev, Staging and Production environments with web interface Dev, Staging and Production environments with web interface
Detailed audit of code and site configuration Mandatory and managed as part fo the GovCMS Distribution. A wide range of tests are automated to ensure code quality and compliance. Optional - tests must be configured by agency. Agency is responsible for code quality and compliance.