Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)

Internationalized Domain Names were created in 2003 to cater to the growing number of non-English speaking users as the internet was becoming global.

Standard domain names (that is, domain names only consisting of latin characters, digits 0 to 9 and hyphens) are unable to faithfully transcribe most languages, which can be limiting for web users around the globe. And it only seems fair to give all internet users the opportunity to create content in their native languages.

What are Internationalized Domain Names?

IDNs are domain names that contain non-Latin characters, digits or hyphens. In the context of domain names, special characters mostly include accented letters and letters from different alphabets: Greek, Cyrillic, Latin extended, etc.

Those characters can be used in:

  • The domain extension itself (for example: .ευ, which is the Greek equivalent of the .eu)
  • The domain name (www.né

Not all domain extensions (also called TLDs) support IDNs. Please refer to the extensions list to find out which TLDs support IDNs.

How are special characters represented?

ASCII is the most widely used coding system for data transmission, which means most electronic communications are encoded in ASCII. But it doesn’t include any non-latin characters from A to Z.

Therefore, a solution needed to be found to make IDNs ASCII-compatible.

In order to be processed by electronic devices, IDNs are converted to ACE (ASCII-compatible encoding). IDNs converted to ACE always start with “xn--” followed by what is called a Punycode.

  • The “xn--” prefix informs devices that what follows is the conversion of an IDN.
  • The Punycode is what makes it possible to convert special characters into ASCII.

Example: www.né =

Use our Internationalized Domain Name converter to translate your own IDN into ACE.

Why is that conversion important?

When someone types your domain name into their browser address bar, a request is sent to a DNS (Domain Name System) server. The nameserver will then resolve your domain name to an IP address.

It’s that resolution that allows users to access your website.
Without ACE, nameservers would be unable to process your internationalized domain names and no one would be able to access your website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Netim supports characters of the following alphabets:

  • Greek
  • Cyrillic
  • Latin extended (accented characters used in Spanish, Danish, French, Finnish, etc.)

There is no risk involved in registering an IDN. IDNs were introduced in 2003 and have been used worldwide ever since.

Yes, they can. You can choose to include accented characters and other language-specific characters in your domain names.

Keep in mind that domain names with and without special characters (accents...) have to be registered separately. Both versions will be completely independent from each other, require separate hosting plans, etc.

Yes, most programs now allow you to include IDNs in your email address but some restrictions may apply depending on applications.