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IDNA encoding

 

IDNA encoding may be illustrated using the example domain Bücher.example. (GermanBücherlit. 'books'.) This domain name has two labels, Bücher and example. The second label is pure ASCII, and is left unchanged. The first label is processed by Nameprep to give bücher, and then converted to Punycode to result in bcher-kva. It is then prefixed with xn-- to produce xn--bcher-kva. The resulting name suitable for use in DNS records and queries is therefore "xn--bcher-kva.example.

 

Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA) is a mechanism defined in 2003 for handling internationalized domain names containing non-ASCII characters.

Although the Domain Name System supports non-ASCII characters, applications such as e-mail and web browsers restrict the characters which can be used as domain names for purposes such as a hostname. Strictly speaking it is the network protocols these applications use that have restrictions on the characters which can be used in domain names, not the applications that have these limitations or the DNS itself. To retain backwards compatibility with the installed base the IETF IDNA Working Group decided that internationalized domain names should be converted to a suitable ASCII-based form that could be handled by web browsers and other user applications. IDNA specifies how this conversion between names written in non-ASCII characters and their ASCII-based representation is performed.

 

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