The content of a website can appear in any language, but domain names have generally been limited to the characters used in English. Since the majority of the world speaks a language other than English, this can present a significant barrier to internet access for many cultures.
Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) refer to the ability to use characters from any language (e.g., á, ç, è, ñ, ö) in domain names. While there is common agreement that introducing IDNs is a worthwhile objective, there are inherent technical challenges complicating implementation. In addition, the Domain Name System (DNS) that links text-based website names to their numeric IP addresses primarily uses the ASCII character set, which is not designed to support languages other than English.
Working with standards-setting bodies and the engineering community, .ORG helped spearhead efforts to find effective IDN solutions. Today, a simple, efficient encoding method called Punycode is used to register domain names in native languages by translating non-ASCII characters into characters allowed in host name labels (ASCII letters, digits and hyphens) and back again.
If an IDN that is registered and has a character variants according to the appropriate language authority, then those IDN variants will be reserved and restricted for registration by the registry.
IDNs are currently available for .ORG registration in the following:
|IDN Language Script/Policy||IDN Language Tag||Effective Date|
|Russian Cyrillic||BS, BG, BE, MK, RU, SR, UK||19-Feb-2011|
.ORG continues to work on resolving IDN difficulties to make the internet more accessible in as many languages as possible.
Additional resources about IDNs include:
- IDN Frequently Asked Questions
- .ORG Extended Characters
- IDN Standards and Guidelines
Go to Find a Registrar to locate one that offers IDNs.