What are internationalized domain names (IDNs)?
Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names that contain characters other than unaccented Roman letters (A-Z), digits (0-9), and the 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, etc.) is called a TLD (Top Level Domain).
Country specific TLDs
A TLD (Top Level Domain) 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 would be used for a single country. For example, .DE (Germany) or .CA (Canada). You can view a full list at Wikipedia.
DreamHost offers a wide variety of domain names including country specific TLDs which you can see in the panel at Registrations. When the Registrations page opens, click the link.
You can also view a full list at dreamhost.com/domains/pricing.
International TLDs are different from country specific TLDs in that they use characters other than unaccented Roman letters (A-Z), digits (0-9), and the 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. View the following Wikipedia page for a full list:
Registering and hosting your IDN
It is currently not possible to register an Internationalized domain name at DreamHost. However, you can still host it at DreamHost after purchasing it from another company that supports IDNs.
Hosting your IDN
If you've already purchased your IDN at another registrar that supports IDNs, you can then host it within your DreamHost account.
- First, you need to convert your domain into punycode. This example uses the IDN of 测试假域名.com. Visit a site such as punycoder.com to translate this into punycode.
- This will output punycode such as 'xn--sxqv5g23dyr3a428a.com'.
- In your panel, navigate to the Manage Domains page.
- Click the Add Hosting to a Domain / Sub-Domain button.
- Enter your punycode in the field titled 'Domain to host'.
- Make sure the 'Web directory' field also shows this same text.
- Scroll down and click Fully host this domain.
- A success message displays notifying you that hosting has been configured.
Keep in mind that 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.
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".