Use of International Domain Names

What are International Domain Names?

International domain names are basically labels that are displayed in software applications as Internet domain names in language specific scripts. These languages primarily are in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi or Latin alphabets. However, the internationalized domain names are created using ASCII standards ie; (American Standard Code for Information Interchange.) Initially these ASCII codes were developed from telegraphic codes that were commercially put to use as a seven-bit tele printer code from Bell data services.

The concept of international domain names or (IDN) was put forward by Martin Durst in 1996, which was then adopted and implemented as a standard application in numerous domains that are high end. Although, the domain names that use non-Roman alphabets support ASCII characters, there are numerous applications or web browsers that restrict them. 

How do the International Domain Names Work?

The IDN works through a defined system known as International Domain Names in Applications or IDNA that came forward in the year 2003. This proposed mechanism was used for maintaining all the IDNs containing non-ASCII characters. The ASCII is a character encoding scheme that puts all the English alphabets in order. All the conversions between ASCII to non-ASCII domain name categories are done by using algorithms that are named as ToASCII and ToUnicode. These algorithms are applied to a single label and not to the whole domain name, while creating a domain name.

However, till 2007, the most used character encoding system was US-ASCII, until the emergence of UTF-8, yet another character encoding system that represents every character in the Unicode character set.

Problems Faced by Entrepreneurs While Launching Websites in English

The IDN system however, is not beneficial for those business enterprises who want to launch their websites in non-English languages. This is because their diacritics probably comprises of languages like French, German or Spanish or have non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese etc, which cannot comply with the ASCII standards. It is because of these constraints that such businesses are barred from establishing a strong customer base, while portraying a weak online presence amongst masses across the globe.

The first web browsers that supported IDNA system were Mozilla 1.4, Netscape 7.1, and Opera 7.11. There are several domain name service providers who offer services to the customers who want to purchase domain names and increase their online presence. Some of the popular service providers of domain names are GoDaddy and BB-Online etc amongst others.

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