Internationalized domain names (IDNs)

What are Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)?

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names which contain characters other than unaccented Roman letters (A-Z), digits (0-9), and/or a hyphen (-). For instance, 日本語.idn.icann.org contains Japanese characters.

IDNs refer to the text before the '.COM' or '.ORG' part of the domain. The part after the name (.COM, .ORG, and so on) is called a Top Level Domain (TLD).

Country specific TLDs

A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the part of the domain after your specific name such as .COM or .ORG. Generic TLDs include .COM, .ORG, and .NET and are not specific to any country. 

A country-specific TLD is used for a single country. For example, .DE (Germany), or .CA (Canada). You can view a full list in this Wikipedia TLD article.

DreamHost offers a wide variety of domain names including country-specific TLDs, which you can view in the panel at (Panel > ‘Domain’ > ‘Registrations’). When the Registrations page opens, click the ‘See full pricing’ link.

You can also view a full list at DreamHost Domains Pricing.

International TLDs

International TLDs are different from country specific TLDs in that they use characters other than unaccented Roman letters (A-Z), digits (0-9), and/or a hyphen (-).

DreamHost does not currently support the registration of IDN TLDs. For example:

  • .xn--55qx5d (.网络)
  • .xn--io0a7i (.公司)

These are not currently a component of the ICANN DNS root and thus are not available to all Internet users. See the following Wikipedia page for a full list:

Registering and hosting your IDN

It is currently not possible to register an IDN at DreamHost. However, you can still host it at DreamHost if you've previously purchased it from another company that supports IDNs.

Hosting your previously purchased IDN at DreamHost

If you've already purchased your IDN at another registrar that supports IDNs, you can then host it within your DreamHost account.

To host a previously-purchased IDN:

  1. Convert your domain into punycode, which allows DreamHost to interpret international domain characters. Visit a site such as punycoder.com to translate this into punycode.

    The following example uses the IDN '测试假域名.com', which outputs through punycode as:

    xn--sxqv5g23dyr3a428a.com
  2. In your panel, navigate to the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Manage Domains') page.
    Adding a Domain
  3. Click the Add Hosting to a Domain / Sub-Domain button.
    Adding an IDN
  4. Enter your punycode in the field titled 'Domain to host'.
  5. Make sure the 'Web directory' field also shows this same text.
    Fully Host
  6. Scroll down and click the Fully host this domain button.
    A success message displays notifying you that hosting has been configured.

Most modern browsers display IDNs properly, but if your visitors are not using browsers that support IDNs, they may not be able to access your international domain name with their browser.

NSSET ID

Some international registrars have changed the way they handle TLDs. The registrations no longer include reference to the nameservers themselves but instead they reference an NSSET ID.

You must register a group of nameservers to get this ID, then you can use it when registering the domain. The advantage is claimed to be that you can edit NSSET (change the nameservers) and this is applied to all domains referencing the same NSSET.

The TLDS that are known to use this are:

  • .cz (Czech Republic)

The NSSET ID you must use is "DREAMHOST".

See also

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Article last updated PST.