Accented domain names

What are IDNs? 

Introduced in 2003, IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) are domain names that include non-standard characters. As a reminder, standard characters include: Latin characters, digits (0-9) and the hyphen. 

IDNs were created to address a glaring issue: a large part of the world’s population didn’t use the Latin alphabet to communicate in their native language, yet standard domain names only supported Latin letters.

In short, the uniformity of the domain name language did not fit the project of a worldwide web.

The different codes

There are several kinds of codes used to translate domain name characters into a language computers can process:

  • ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): this was the standard code until IDNs were introduced. It supports Latin characters, digits and hyphens. 
  • Unicode: it supports all international characters, accented or not.
  • Punycode: it converts IDNs into ASCII.

Accented characters & domain names 

International characters can be found:

  • either in the extension itself
    (example: .ευ which matches .eu in the Greek alphabet)
  • or in the domain name
    (example: www.né

Please keep in mind that an IDN and its non-IDN equivalent require two separate registrations.

For example, the domain name is different from www.né they are both independent from each other, can host different content, offers, etc. 

If you would like to protect your brand or company, you will have to register both domain names separately. You’ll then be able to, for example, set up a redirect from one to the other.

In this example, www.né points to