gTLDs, ccTLDs, New Domains—these may be familiar terms to you if you’ve been around the domain scene for a while, but what about IDNs? These special types of domains are less well known than their counterparts, but serve as a huge opportunity for those who don’t speak English as their native language.
So what is an IDN?
Internationalized domain names (IDNs) allow individuals to register and use domain names in their local language and script. This promotes a multilingual internet by allowing those who speak different languages to register domains that use non-English characters.
How do IDNs work?
Take, for example, the Unicode domain 曲奇饼.商店 which converts to xn--mtsx13a9q3b.xn--czrs0t in Punnycode.
Web browsers that support IDNs will show domains in their intended, non-English language—so in this case, it would display the Mandarin domain, 曲奇饼.商店. If, however, you were browsing the web on a standard English browser the associated Punnycode domain, xn--mtsx13a9q3b.xn--czrs0t, would display instead.
How can I register an IDN?
A variety of IDNs in multiple languages are available at Name.com, and can be registered through our Punnycode to Unicode converter. Browse this article on IDNs for more information on how and why to register your own.