Punycode Converter

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About this tool:

Punycode Converter is a free online IDN Encoder/Decoder that Encodes/Decodes the IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names). IDN Converter converts the domain name having special characters (Unicode) to Punycode encoding (ASCII-Compatible Encoding) or vice-versa.

What is an internationalized domain name (IDN)?

IDN domains refer to web addresses with special characters.

The internet is continuously globalizing, and most of them prefer to use it in their native language. That shift in user behavior led to the change brought on by introducing the International domain name in 2003.

Till 2003, domain names were allowed to only consist of

  • Latin alphabets
  • The numbers 0 to 9
  • Hyphen

This limitation can be viewed in terms of Domain Name System (DNS) working, the system responsible for converting the domain name into its corresponding IP address. That system operates on American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) name scheming. In addition, that system is built on English keyboards and is not representative of an international project like the internet.

To compensate for that significant drawback, the Internationalizing Domain Names in Application (IDNA) system was introduced. That system was responsible for defining the standardized translation from Unicode to ASCII, making it possible to display every known alphabet in internet domains.

The IDNA system is considered the biggest revolution in the internet world. That system is beneficial for individuals using Asian, African, or Arabic character systems because it allows every Unicode character to be used in IDN. However, the selection does vary, as domain registries can determine which special characters can be used for registration individually. That means the symbols vary depending on which top-level domain (e.g. .com, .org, .ca, etc.) is used.

How does IDNA work?

Most of the internet infrastructure supports the ASCII character set. To ensure that these internationalized domain names work, each IDN available in Unicode is translated into an ACE string based on the ASCII character set. Following this, URLs featuring characters with accents or umlauts are displayed; on the other hand, the server continues to process the addresses as ASCII compatible. The conversion from Unicode to ASCII occurs at the client-side and is based on a standardized coding process called Punycode.

The RFC 3492 standardized Punycode, developed to display the Unicode character string into ASCII characters without losing any quality. All the non-ASCII characters are removed from the domain name, coded, and separated with hyphens. The code sequence contains information about the Unicode characters and their position in the domain name. In addition, each character string coded this way starts with prefix xn, which specifies that the character string is IDN encoded according to IDNA and Punycode standards.

IDN Form: café.com

ACE String: xn--caf-dma.com

The prefix xn is followed by the domain name (all non-ASCII characters removed), then tagged with special coded characters separated by a hyphen.

When you wish to register an IDN, you first must encode it using the Punycode system and then register that encoded version.

When the user enters the URL in its browser bar containing IDN, the browser first converts the IDN into Punycode and then resolves the domain.

How to use the Punycode Converter to convert a Normal Text to Punycode or Punycode to Normal Text?

To avail of that facility, perform the following steps.

  • Open the Punycode Converter - Convert Unicode Characters to ASCII.
  • Enter an IDN domain (bücher.com) in the text space mentioned for that purpose.
  • From the drop-down, select the "Convert to Punycode" option.
  • Click on the "Convert Now" button.
  • The tool will process your request and provide your encoded IDN domain form in the "Result" section.
  • The result will be in that form (xn--bcher-kva.com).
  • Copy that encoded IDN domain, and paste it to the desired location for further use.

Note: To decode the encoded IDN domain, select "Convert to Text" from the drop-down. The remaining procedure is the same as mentioned above.

What is the difference between IDNA2003 and IDNA2008?

In IDNA2003, international URLs were normalized before the Punycode coding, using the nameprep method. That method converted the uppercase letters to lowercase letters, removed control characters, and transferred equivalent characters into a unified form.

However, nameprep was removed with the introduction of IDNA2008. Now, IDNA does not specify any normalization. Instead, it suggests an algorithm that converts the uppercase letters to lowercase letters.

Why register IDN Domains?

Even though the internet infrastructure is built-in English, only 10% of the world population is native English speakers. The most spoken language in the world is Chinese, which uses an entirely different set of characters than the Latin alphabets that English uses. Imagine having to access the internet but does not have any idea about the English language. Therefore, IDNs are the solution to that problem.

As Internet usage rises worldwide, that number will likely grow in the future, making international domains an ample opportunity. Registering your IDN domain is the best opportunity to connect with a non-English-speaking audience. As your website and domain, both will be in your native language resulting in getting a better response from your native users.

If someone registered a domain name, will it also be the registrant for the IDN version of that domain name for all available languages?

With registering an IDN domain, you can reach your target audience in their local language and provide them a user-friendly interface for more comfortable interaction with the company if their local language is not English.

However, it's currently impossible to register your domain in all languages variants because of the complexities of foreign languages. Because sometimes, a single word has different meanings in different languages, or sometimes a single word has several meanings in the same language.

Why we have to select a language when registering an IDN domain?

ICANN restricts that IDN domains must be associated with a particular language, called a language tag. So, the appropriate language rules can be applied to the domain name if needed.

Not all TLDs support all languages. The domain registries individually decide which special characters can be used for registration. Therefore, while purchasing the domain name, you must select the language that matches the characters you are using in your domain.