IDN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What are IDNs, and what is their relationship to the .BIZ domain?

IDNs are domain names that are spelled using native language, non-ASCII characters that may not appear in the English alphabet. The .biz registry currently offers IDN registrations in 15 languages, for your convenience and use. More will be coming in the future.

How do IDNs work?

Typically, when a browser sees a host name, it sends a request to the DNS resolver service. The resolver service then sends a request to a domain name server to return an IP address corresponding to that host name. When the IP address is returned, a connection is made to the appropriate Web server.

In the case of IDNs, when a browser sees either (1) a non-ASCII character host/domain name in its location bar, or (2) a URL with a non-ASCII domain part embedded in a web page, the application is required to convert the non-ASCII characters into a special encoded format (Punycode) using only the standard ASCII subset characters. Punycode is the official IETF standard that has been approved for converting IDN domains into machine-readable and resolvable ASCII domains.

Punycode is required for IDN conversion because a restriction (that only a subset of ASCII characters be used in URL/URI at the network protocol level) is still enforced, even though IDNs have been introduced.

How do IDNs work in a browser?

When a compliant browser receives input for an IDN, it converts the native language IDN into Punycode. In other words, the native language IDN is converted into an ASCII string (prefixed with xn--) that can then be looked up at the TLD nameserver to determine the location of the website. The xn-- prefix was accepted as the IDNA standard by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on February 14, 2003.

Browsers that support this functionality include Netscape 7.1, Mozilla 1.4, Opera 7 and Firefox 1.0. It is anticipated that all later versions of these browsers will also support IDNs.

What is the registration process for IDNs in the .BIZ domain?

The registrant must first contact an ICANN-accredited registrar and submit the IDN request.

The name(s) to be registered in the IDN database must be converted into the alphanumeric representation based on the Punycode IDN standard. (The registrar performs the conversion of the IDN local language characters into the equivalent Punycode.)

The unique IDN is placed into the Neustar registry IDN database.

How does an end user access an IDN website?

In a compliant browser (e.g., Netscape 7.1, Mozilla 1.4, Opera 7, Firefox 1.0), simply type the IDN in the address bar or click an active link. The browser does the necessary conversions and the IDN resolves to the desired site.

Does the .BIZ IDN solution adhere to the approved ICANN guidelines?

Neustar’s IDN solution does meet the ICANN guidelines. Our implementation is a standards-compliant service that enhances the user experience and does not deviate from adopted standards.

Neustar’s IDN implementation is compliant with ICANN IDN guidelines and the approved IETF standards (RFCs 3490, 3491, and 3492). Other registries that launched IDNs prior to the adoption of these standards may or may not be compliant.

Where can I purchase IDNs for .BIZ?

Registrars that support various IDNs in the .BIZ domain can be found here.

Will the .BIZ Whois show only Punycode for each IDN?

Neustar’s web-based Whois and Port 43 Whois output will display both the registered Punycode name (Unicode HEX sequence representing the registered IDN) as well as an HTML-encoded display of the IDN name in its native language form.