Skip to main content
Resources

Universal Acceptance

Overview
Get Involved
Frequently Asked Questions
Background
Universal Acceptance Timeline
Resources


Overview

Universal Acceptance is a foundational requirement for a truly multilingual Internet, one in which users around the world can navigate entirely in local languages. It is also the key to unlocking the potential of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to foster competition, consumer choice and innovation in the domain name industry. To achieve Universal Acceptance, Internet applications and systems must treat all TLDs in a consistent manner, including new gTLDs and internationalized TLDs. Specifically, they must accept, validate, store, process and display all domain names.

The Universal Acceptance Steering Group is a community-based team working to share this vision for the Internet of the future with those who construct this space: coders. The group's primary objective is to help software developers and website owners understand how to update their systems to keep pace with an evolving Domain Name System. It's primary message is that Universal Acceptance will enable the next billion users to build their own spaces and identities online.

For resources and information, visit https://uasg.tech/.

Top

Get Involved

Ask a Question

To submit questions or contribute additional material that may be helpful in overcoming these barriers, please send an email to GlobalSupport@icann.org with "Universal Acceptance" in the subject line.

Universal Acceptance - Logo

Join the UASG Discussion List
https://uasg.tech/subscribe

Learn More About the UASG
https://uasg.tech/

Top

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Top

Background

Domain names in a TLD must be useable in applications regardless of the written script, length or newness of the TLD. The primary drivers for Universal Acceptance stem from the following elements:

  1. Longer TLD Names: TLDs with names longer than three characters, such as .museum or .plumber.
  2. Non-Latin based TLDs: TLDs with names written in scripts other than ASCII, such as Hindi, Japanese and Greek.
  3. Rapid addition of TLDs: The New gTLD Program spurring very rapid additions of new gTLDs delegated to the root zone.
  4. International Email: The introduction of non-ASCII names in email. While IDNs solved part of the ability to have non-ASCII names for servers, it doesn't solve the ability to have non-ASCII names for mailboxes.

Top

Universal Acceptance Timeline

Pre 2000 – Assumptions born: User interfaces security rules were built according to "valid" TLDs including .com, .gov, .edu, the ISO 3122 two letter codes and ASCII only email addresses (mailbox names).

2000 – Generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion approved in 2000 and again in 2003 – broke assumptions about TLD validity in regard to name length.

  • Generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion approved in 2000 and again in 2003 – broke assumptions about TLD validity in regard to name length.

2010

  • Addition of Internationalized Domain Name country code TLDs – broke assumption that TLDs must be ASCII.
  • Email names extended from ASCII to UTF-8 – broke assumptions about character encoding in email systems and viewers.
  • gTLD expansion approved in 2011; ICANN received 1,930 applications. October 2013 marked the beginning of hundreds of new gTLD delegations – broke assumption about "no/few" changes to Internet's root zone.

Universal Acceptance will be achieved when any person can register and use a domain name in any top-level domain in widely-distributed web browsers, email clients and mobile apps, and when setting up online accounts.

Top

Resources

September 2015 – An Analysis of New gTLD Universal Acceptance in the Web Environment

March 2015 – Universal Acceptance Steering Group Charter

ICANN's Universal Acceptance Initiative Roadmap

Date Content
2014 September Roadmap
2014 August Report of Public Comments: Universal Acceptance of TLDs Draft Roadmap [PDF, 377 KB]
2014 June Public Comment: Universal Acceptance of TLDs Draft Roadmap
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."