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Internationalized Domain Names

Welcome to the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) information area.

This area is designed to document the progress of the implementation of IDNs as well as allow for discussion of issues encountered in implementation. As part of this effort, ICANN hosts a publicly archived mailing list for discussion of IDN implementation issues. All gTLD and ccTLD registries are encouraged to participate in the list.

In October 2002, the Internet Engineering Steering Group approved the publication of three standards-track RFCs that together define the Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA) protocol: RFCs 3490, 3491, and 3492. IDNA supports the use of non-ASCII IDNs in the Internet's domain-name system (DNS). Implementation of the IDNA protocol by DNS registries will allow users to use domain names with non-ASCII characters. After the RFCs were published in March 2003, ICANN and a cross-section of leading IDN-implementing registries worked to develop a set of common-sense "Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names." Version 1.0 of the Guidelines was published in June 2003.

The Guidelines are a list of general standards for IDN registration policies and practices that are designed to minimize the risk of cybersquatting and consumer confusion, and respect the interests of local languages and character sets. The Guidelines call on IDN-implementing registries to employ language-specific registration and administration rules that are documented and publicly available. Registries seeking to deploy IDNs under their agreements with ICANN have been authorized to do so on the basis of the Guidelines. Correspondence between ICANN and those registries that are authorized to implement IDNs is available as Background Material below.

As the deployment of IDNs proceeds, ICANN and the participating IDN registries have agreed to work cooperatively to review the Guidelines at regular intervals based on their deployment experience, and to make any necessary adjustments. We expect that many early issues will be first circulated within the IDN discussion list (below) and hence we encourage as many interested registries as possible to contribute to these discussions.

Background Material

IANA Registry for IDN Character Tables

Deployment of IDNs (ICANN Announcement 20 June 2003)

Guidelines for Implementation of IDNs (version 1.0, by ICANN and leading IDN Registries, 20 June 2003)

Unicode Code Charts (Unicode Standard character contents reference)

RFC 3490 Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications

RFC 3491 Nameprep: A Stringprep Profile for Internationalized Domain Names

RFC 3492 Punycode: A Bootstring encoding of Unicode for Internationalized Domain Names in Applications


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