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Internet Gets Multi-Lingual Web Addresses

Internet Gets Multi-Lingual Web Addresses

Non-Latin Internationalized Domain Names coming to the Internet...

Thanks to a new regulation passed at a recent the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ) meeting in Seoul, Internet addresses will soon be able to contain non-Latin characters.

The move, stated as one of the biggest changes in the Internet’s 40-year history, will open the Internet up to more users around the world as addresses could be characters as diverse as Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Hindi and Cyrillic.


Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and CEO, said:

“This is only the first step, but it is an incredibly big one and a historic move toward the internationalization of the Internet…

“The first countries that participate will not only be providing valuable information of the operation of IDNs [Internationalized Domain Names] in the domain name system, they are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online – people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives.”

Until now, only the domain name itself could be in non-Latin script, while the web address ending – .com, .org, etc. – had to be given in Latin script.

Internet addresses work by using the Domain Name System (DNS) which allows the machines connecting computers on the internet to take web addresses such as, and turn them into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses – the strings of computer-readable numbers that identify websites.

ICANN developed IDNs after spending the last couple of years building a translation system that allows web addresses written in non-Latin scripts to be converted into the correct IPs.

Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board, said earlier this week:

“We’re confident that it works because we’ve been testing it now for a couple of years, and so we’re really ready to start rolling it out.”

Countries will be able to apply for domain names in their native script from November 16 and the first new domains are expected to go live next year.

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One Comment

  1. I speak multiple languages and English isn’t my first. However, I think web address should be in English. It needs to be uniformed and standardized. If you include other characters it will only make it more confusing and prevent people from visiting your website. If you are ONLY interested in having people from one language group visiting your website then maybe this will help, but I think it doesn’t make a difference if your URL was in English and your website was in Chinese.

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