Internationalized Domain Names

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What Are Internationalized Domain Names?

A standard domain name may consists of only the letters "a" to "z", the numbers "0" to "9", and dashes ("-"). On the other hand, Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are Internet domain names that may consist partly or entirely of characters other than English letters, numbers, and dashes. As such, IDNs may include letters with diacritics, as is the case of many Latin-based languages, or characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, or Chinese. Since the standard for domain names does not permit the inclusion of such characters, much work has been invested into finding a solution around this problem. The explored solutions included changing the domain name standard as well as agreeing on a method to convert Internationalized Domain Names into standard ASCII domain names while preserving the stability of the Domain Name System (DNS).

Browser Support for IDN 

Most modern browsers are capable of navigating to IDN websites.  IDN browsing is a standard feature in the following free popular browsers:

IDN Plug-in for Older IE Browsers & Outlook

VeriSign, Inc., the registry for the '.com' and '.net' Top Level Domains (TLDs), provides a FREE IDN plug-in solution for Internet Explorer (IE) 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0 as well as the Outlook email client. The name of this plug-in is i-Nav. For more information on i-Nav or to download it, please visit: IDNnow. i-Nav is available for free to both users and webmasters who wish to redistribute it through their websites.

The Main Advantages of IDN

IDN has numerous advantages, chief among them:

  • Effectiveness: IDN enables you to reach your target markets in your customers' and partners' languages and scripts of choice, as IDN eliminates the need to translate or transliterate your brand into ASCII (English) characters for use as web addresses. Indeed, IDN eliminated the confusion created by transliteration.
  • Branding & Identity: IDN enables you to expand and safeguard your Internet identity in both domestic and international markets. Hence, IDN enhances brand communication.
  • Improved Online Experience: IDN makes it possible to provide web surfers with an improved Internet navigation experience, as IDN eliminates the web addressing confusion caused by transliteration.
  • Standardization & Stability: The IDN technology is based on stable international standards that permit anyone, anywhere, to reliably navigate the web in their favorite languages.
  • Globalization: The IDN system is powered by a global infrastructure.

IDN Example: