Domain Names Now Available in Non-Latin Characters

Complete domain names can be registered in non-Latin characters for the first time as of May 5 with three Arab nations the first to have internationalised domain names (IDNs) placed in the DNS root zone, ICANN announced.The three new top level domains (TLDs) are:

  • Egypt: مصر (Egypt)
  • Saudi Arabia: السعودية (AlSaudiah)
  • United Arab Emirates: امارات (Emarat).

“All three are Arabic script domains, and will enable domain names written fully right-to-left,” said Kim Davies, Root Zone Services Manager of ICANN.One of the first websites operational as a result of the introduction of IDNs was for the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology whose domain name is وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر“If your software does not have full IDN support, this might not work exactly as expected,” Davies wrote on the ICANN blog. “You may see a mangled string of letters and numbers, and perhaps some percent signs or a couple of “xn--“s mixed into the address bar. Or it may not work at all.”These are the first IDN ccTLDs to appear online as a result of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process which was approved by the ICANN Board at its annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea on 30 October 2009.To date ICANN has received a total of 21 requests for IDN ccTLD(s) representing 11 languages including Chinese, Russian, Tamil and Thai. A total of 13 requests have successfully passed through the “String Evaluation” (the second stage of the process) and are hence ready for the requesting country or territory to initiate the request for TLD Delegation (the final stage of the application process). As of today, the first three of these have been delegated into the DNS root zone, which means they are available for use.More than 20 countries have applied for an IDN ccTLD. For a list of those IDN ccTLDs to have passed the fast track string evaluation, see has now become the first non-Latin script to be used as an IDN ccTLD. Arabic is among the most highly used languages on the Internet today. The Middle-East has an average Internet penetration of just over 20%, and shows a big potential for growth. Users in the region will now have easier access to the Internet, with the ability to use their primary language for the entire domain name.