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Recent Improvements to ICANN's IDN Table Review Process

18 August 2021

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) allow for users around the world to use domain names in their native languages. Promoting broad and secure use of IDNs has been a focus for the community and ICANN organization (org). In June 2021, ICANN org completed several significant improvements related to IDN tables. An IDN table lists all characters that a top-level domain (TLD) registry operator (RO) supports for domain name registration, including script specific variant definitions and rules. The updates incorporate the significant amount of work done by the community over the past few years on the technical design considerations and the linguistic details of IDN tables.

This project started with a review of the IDN tables published in the IANA Repository of IDN Practices. The repository is a destination for ROs and registry service providers (RSPs) to publish IDN tables. It was created to support collaborative development of IDNs by sharing registry IDN registration rules. ICANN org worked with generic top-level domain ROs and RSPs to ensure all the contractually approved IDN tables are available in the repository.

ICANN org also finalized and published 21 additional reference Label Generation Rules (LGRs) in Arabic, Bangla, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Georgian, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Hebrew, Kannada, Khmer, Lao, Malayalam, Oriya, Sinhala, Tamil, and Telugu scripts, and Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, and Thai languages. There are now 46 reference LGRs published. ROs and RSPs can use these reference LGRs, which are pre-vetted for security and stability considerations, when creating their own IDN tables before submitting to ICANN org for review and posting to the repository.

To bring increased consistency and transparency in IDN table reviews, ICANN org developed and launched the IDN Table Review Tool. This self-service tool is designed for ROs and RSPs to evaluate their IDN tables using the reference LGRs before these tables are submitted to ICANN org for review. To learn more about the IDN Table Review Tool and how to use it, please refer to the recorded webinar.

To support ROs, ICANN org has streamlined the process by which IDN tables are submitted and reviewed at ICANN org. This includes the IDN submission process, a dedicated IDN Service: Add, Modify, or Remove (IDN Service). This is now available in the Naming Services portal (NSp) used by contracted parties for service requests. In addition, ICANN org developed a more efficient process as part of the Registry System Testing (RST) service to review IDN tables when submitted in NSp as part of the IDN Service or for Material Subcontracting Arrangement (MSA) service. RST is used in pre-delegation testing or when an RO changes its RSP. This contributed to the larger effort to bring more consistency to IDN table reviews across the Registry Service Evaluation Process and RST services.

We encourage you to subscribe to ICANN announcements and blogs so you can stay informed about future IDN developments and improvements.


Sarmad Hussain

Sarmad Hussain

Senior Director IDN and UA Programs