Originally, the domain part of a web address was all ASCII (so no accents, no emojis, no Chinese characters). This was extended a long time ago thanks

International domain names: where does https://meßagefactory.ca lead you?

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2023-01-24 01:30:04

Originally, the domain part of a web address was all ASCII (so no accents, no emojis, no Chinese characters). This was extended a long time ago thanks to something called internationalized domain name (IDN).

Today, in theory, you can use any Unicode character you like as part of a domain name, including emojis. Whether that is wise is something else.

What does the standard says? Given a domain name, we should identify its labels. They are normally separated by dots (.) into labels: www.microsoft.com has three labels. But you may also use other Unicode characters as separators ( ., ., 。, 。). Each label is further processed. If it is all ASCII, then it is left as is. Otherwise, we must convert it to an ASCII code called “punycode” after doing the following according to RFC 3454:

And then you get to the punycode algorithm. There are further conditions to be satisfied, such as the domain name in ASCII cannot exceed 255 bytes.

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