What does a customer do when they want to generate Web traffic to their site, but the visitors they’re trying to reach will be using non-ASCII characters on their keyboards? The solution is Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). An IDN is a domain name where the non-ASCII characters have been converted to ASCII to be read in web browsers. Non-ASCII characters can range from the entire character system found in Japanese or Hebrew to a few special characters found in French or Italian.
What does an IDN look like? Let’s take a look at BJÖRGVIN.COM. Since this name has a non-ASCII character Ö, the IDN domain will be XN- -BJRGVIN-B1A.COM. The XN- – indicates the domain is encoded, BJRGVIN-B1A is the ASCII version of the original name, and the .COM extension is standard and requires no encoding.