All About Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs): Explained

What are International Domain Names?

Internationalized domain names (IDNs) are domain names that have characters excluding the unaccented Roman letters (A-Z), digits (0-9), and the hyphen.

Below is an example of IDNs:

  • fußball.tld: Contains Spanish special characters
  • häuser.tld: Contains Spanish special characters

IDNs refer to the text before the. Com or. Org part of the domain. The part after the name (. Com, Org, etc.) is known as TLD (Top Level Domain).

Pros and Cons of International Domain Names

International domain names (IDNs) can be broadly categorized into two types:

  1. Generic Internationalized Domain Names (gTLDs): These include extensions like international,. global, or. world. They are meant to signal a website’s international focus.
  2. Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs): These allow domain names to use characters from languages other than English, like Arabic, Chinese, or Cyrillic.

Below are the pros and cons of each type:

Generic Internationalized Domain Names (gTLDs)


  • Communicates global reach: This indicates informing users that the website caters to an international audience.
  • Easier to find available names: The well-known extensions like .com and others have become saturated, and gTLDs come with multiple offers for locating the desired domain name.


  • Less familiarity: Compared to .com or .org , gTLDs like .international are uncommon and might be unfamiliar to users, potentially leading to lower trust.

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)


  • Improved accessibility: This website is accessible to users whose native languages utilize non-Latin characters.
  • Stronger brand representation: You are eligible to use the brand name in its original form, involving accents and special characters.Cons:
  • Limited compatibility: Whereas IDN support is getting enhanced, some older systems and browsers may not highlight them flawlessly.
  • Potential for confusion: This means considering the characters from different alphabets that look similar leading to typos or users ending up on unintended websites.

Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Target audience: If your primary audience is using languages with non-Latin characters then IDNs become more familiar.
  • Marketing strategy: If you are looking for international exposure for your brand then gTLDs can be the best option.

Eventually, the best choice is based on your user’s goals and target market. You can also consider a combination of strategies like registering both a gTLD and an IDN version of your domain name and redirecting one to the other.

Read: How to Email All Users in WHM?

Explain: IDN Registration Process

      Request the IDN:

You can initiate the process by contacting a registrar that supports IDNs. Hence, these are companies authorized to sell domain names.

       Registrar Converts Characters:

  • The registrar understands your desired domain name in their local language format. It can be any language like Hindi or Chinese.
  • They start converting those characters into a format compatible with the Domain Name System (DNS) using a unique code called ASCII Compatible Encoding (ACE).
  • This translates the characters into a series of letters the DNS can relate it.

    Registrar Submits Request:

    The registrar submits the ACE-encoded version of your IDN to a central system, often the Verisign® Shared Registration System (SRS).

    Validation and Activation:

  • The system approves your request, checking the availability and any other relevant restrictions.
  • If you get approval, the IDN is added to the specific zone files (directories) for the Top-Level Domain (TLD) you select (e.g., .com. .in)
  • Finally, the IDN is propagated beyond the internet, making it globally active.


  • It is suggested to check IDNs registrars before proceeding.
  • There might be restrictions on characters allowed in IDNs. These can involve restrictions like mixing alphabets from unique languages and minimum/maximum character lengths.
  • Further, your web browser and the website itself are required to be IDN-enabled to display and function correctly.

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