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What is punycode and how to use it in a domain

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There are more than 7,000 different languages ​​on planet Earth and covering all of them is practically impossible. In any case, the most widely used are recognized in the standards, including those for domain name registration. In this section we find the punycode, which is a character coding system documented in RFC 3492 and that allows us to use internationalized domain names (IDNA) .


What is the punycode of a domain name?

On many occasions we want to use special characters of a language in our domains. In the case of Spanish we have the letter "Ñ" , which requires punycode coding in order to use it as a domain .

If for example we wanted to register the domain españa.com , we would have to use its corresponding punycode which is xn--espaa-rta.com . You can check for yourself that accessing that domain name will take you to the described domain.


The same happens with any non-ASCII character that we want to use in our domain name, we will have to code it with punycode.

How do I use punycode to register a domain?

In many domain registrars it is not necessary to obtain the domain punycode before registering it, since the process is carried out transparently through the registrar's own interface. An example of this happens in Namecheap , which when trying to register a domain that contains special characters automatically converts it to punycode.

It may happen that we simply want to generate a punycode of a domain, for this we can choose to use an online punycode converter like https://www.punycoder.com/ .

When we access a domain encoded with punycode from a browser, most automatically recognize this type of coding and convert it to its Unicode equivalent that is easier to read.

Advantages and disadvantages of using domains that require punycode coding.

The advantages and disadvantages are the same as we can see when we use text strings with special characters.

We can say that the most common inconveniences are:

  • Some special characters are not available on keyboards in foreign countries , so they cannot write the domain easily.
  • The server configuration can cause certain problems (mail server, HTTP server, etc.) . Generally these problems have a solution, but as they leave the standard configurations they complicate the tasks.
  • Some old or outdated browsers that maintain their use may not correctly recognize domains encoded with punycode.
  • Some social networks and applications give problems when handling this type of domains.

At the other end of the scale we find great advantages:

  • Domains easier to memorize when written correctly.
  • Some brands have their image directly associated with some special character, such as with the letter Ñ. By being able to use this character in the domain, we help reinforce this image.

Now that you know the pros and cons, you can already assess which option interests you most.

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