What is an IDN?
What is Internationalised Domain Naming (IDN)?
IDN is a system that enables registrants to register a domain name using a language other than English. This is important in some countries where there are differences in keyboard, character length and ability to type domain addresses in English, which has been the requirement until recently.
IDN allows a domain to be registered in a language other than English and to use the standard language characters and symbols available within that language to define the domain name.
Why would I want to use IDN?
IDN is really useful if your target audience primarily speaks a language other than English. For example, if you wanted a web site for a German hotel called the "old green castle", until recently, it would have to be "altegrueneschloss.com". With IDN, you can now use the correct German, "altegrüneschloß.com", which is far more natural.
While this example does not show the great potential for IDN-related domain names, when you consider languages in asia which use glyphs and symbols unrelated to latinate letters, the usefulness of the system is apparent.
How do I use it?
Each registry currently provides IDN support for a varying number of languages. Some registries, of course, provide no support at all. If an IDN is important to your domain naming, review the IDN details for the domain you prefer before registering.
To register a new domain using IDN, you will need to expressly identify the related language during registration. Each registration must be specific to a particular language, because of the method of translation used.
Note, when an IDN-enabled domain name is viewed in a standard English browser, the address will not relate to the name of the domain. The name will be very different as registries use punycode to provide the translation of the domain name. Our example domain name would read as: xn--altesgrneschlo-egb07b.com in an English-speaking browser. For this reason, it may be appropriate to register a separate domain name suitable for other language users to find your domain.