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Internationalized Domain Names

Overview

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) permit the global community to use a domain name in their native language or script. This is enabled by allowing domain names to have characters from different scripts, beyond the letters (a to z), digits (0 to 9) and hyphen (-), as encoded by the Unicode standard and as allowed by relevant IDN protocols.

ICANN has instituted the IDN Program to assist and promote the multilingual Internet using IDNs. The program is primarily focused on the planning and implementation of the IDN Top-level Domains (TLDs) that include ccTLDs and gTLDs. The IDN Program also supports and undertakes projects geared towards effective deployment of IDNs at the second-level, as guided by the community.

IDN Infographic: Access Domain Names in Your Language

Internationalized Domain Names allow people around the world to access domain names in their local languages

IDN Program Projects

IDN Program has been implementing the following projects focused on IDN Top-level Domains (TLDs):

Root Zone Label Generation Rules (LGR) Icon

Root Zone Label Generation Rules (LGR)

A community driven project aiming to define conservative mechanism for introducing IDN TLDs into the Internet's Root Zone in a stable and secure manner.

LGR Toolset Icon

LGR Toolset

This project is being undertaken to make it easier for the community to formally represent, create, use and manage data related to the Label Generation Rules for different languages and scripts. ICANN intends to deploy the LGR Toolset to assist community to use Root Zone LGR in determining the valid IDN TLDs and their variants (if any) for the different scripts.

IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Icon

IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process

This process has been created by the community to evaluate Top-level Domain labels in different languages and scripts for countries and territories. IDN Program implements various aspects of this process.

IDN Program is implementing the following projects focused on IDNs at the Second-level.

IDN Implementation Guidelines Icon

IDN Implementation Guidelines

The IDN Implementation Guidelines document the recommended practice for registries implementing IDNs at the second-level, through a community led process. These guidelines are designed to promote consistency, and minimize the risk of cybersquatting and consumer confusion.

Second-level LGR References Icon

Second-level LGR References

The Second-level LGR References are being developed on the request of the community to improve consistency in testing of the IDN tables during Pre-Delegation Testing and Registry Service Evaluation Process.

Resources

  • For more information on IDN, useful links and related documents click here
Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."