What are International Domain Names (IDN) ?

Most of us know that a domain name is nothing but the web site name part in any URL. Till now we are using the standard ASCII based domain naming architecture across world. This can only allow us to use English characters to express any web address. But web is highly globalized place where English is just one of the many languages. How can we use any language to express URLs around world ? How does the internet can understand these languages?

International Domain Naming (IDN) brings up the solution for this. This standard was originally proposed in 1996, but implemented in 1998. A system called Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA) was evolved in this process. This process uses an algorithm called ToASCII and ToUnicode to resolve unicode in to ASCII across world. Read more at ICANN

The current generation browsers such as IE 7, Mozilla FireFox, Opera supports these algorithms natively. Windows Vista URL system also supports IDN natively. IE 6 users will have to download an activex control to use this feature on web.

Let’s see how an IDN web site URL looks like…

You can observe that IE 7 is showing a small info icon next to the URL bar. If you click on that, it will show you the IDN information for that web site as shown below…

Currently few domain registrars are supporting this IDN standards. “*.in” (India) domain extension is currently supporting Hindi IDN’s and will be supporting Tamil and Malayalam very soon.

Some of the IDN Registrars…

www.domainpeople.com

www.ipmirror.com

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2 Responses to What are International Domain Names (IDN) ?

  1. Omi Azad says:

    You forgot to mention that *only* Mozilla Firefox 1.5+ and Microsoft Internet Exploder 7 works on this. 🙂

  2. Savvy? says:

    No, I did mentioned.

    please check the following para

    “The current generation browsers such as IE 7, Mozilla FireFox, Opera supports these algorithms natively. Windows Vista URL system also supports IDN natively. IE 6 users will have to download an activex control to use this feature on web.”

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