domain names are coming
IDN domain names are coming
If you have never heard of IDN domain names, you likely soon will.
This is because the most used and popular internet browser in the
world, Internet Explorer (IE7), is set to begin resolving them by
This means people from all over the world will finally be able
to communicate websites, domain names and urls in their native languages.
Many people feel this will mark a turning point in internet history.
But just what is IDN and why are they so important?
IDNs are domain names that are written in foreign languages like
Chinese, Japanese or Russian. IDN stands for Internationalized Domain
Name. Most domain names that people are familiar with are written
using the latin/english 26 character alphabet (or numbers), in an
encoding called ASCII. This is because the internet was designed
from the beginning to work using ASCII. IDN allows for the use of
non ASCII characters in domain names.
IDN presently acheives this by using what is known as Unicode,
a foreign language encoding, to display the foreign language domain.
The IDN can be converted by the browser via a number of algorithms
to what is known as Punycode, which is an ASCII version of the IDN,
which can easily resolve with the current internet system.
Punycode domains can be identified by their "xn--" beginning.
The web browser performs the conversions and resolves the domain
name into the correct Unicode language.
Up until now, only a few browsers could/would support IDNs. There
have also been issues with IDNs regarding security and what is known
as IDN spoofing and homograph attacks, where similar looking characters
could be used to create look alike domain names.
But with IE7 on board, and developing security refinements, the
world moves closer to global IDN resolution. With IDN, people all
over the world will be able to type domain names in their languages.
Businesses will be able to advertise their sites in the correct
language. The internet will begin to realize its promise as a truly
global, international and diverse medium. Read more about IDN domain
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