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И лове РФ

For starters, what's an IDN?

This is a good place to start. IDN, which stands for Internationalized Domain Name, designates a domain name containing "language-native" characters (in other words, non-ASCII). The ASCII character table basically consists of all non-accented Latin characters used in English (yes, ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange). In order to "regionalize" domain names, more and more registries have established the ability to create domain names containing nonstandard characters, or IDNs.

This makes it possible to purchase "bébé.com," for example, which is distinct from (the two domain names can have entirely different owners).

How does it work?

It works in the same way as any other domain name, with one slight exception: accommodations are made for web tools that weren't designed to display non-ASCII characters. Not to worry; these tools catch up quickly. Today, virtually any user with an up-to-date browser can already enter a domain name with accented characters and the website will appear normally.

For example, if I visit the website www.î in Chrome, I'll see http://www.î in my address bar, as opposed to my out-of-date version of Firefox (3.6), which still displays

This isn't a display error, and it is indeed the same website, but in the latter case, the older browser displays the accented form in an ASCII format called Punycode. This is easily identifiable thanks to the "xn--" preceding the other letters.

So what's the point?

First and foremost: localization. Effectively, words can mean entirely different things depending on the accents used. For example, the site will certainly yield different content than mañ, yet without IDN there can only be one site with that name (It's also worth noting that Google knows the difference between the two searches.). This is a great opportunity to stake out a domain name that's perfectly suited to the meaning and language you have in mind.

Gandi already has over 50 extensions that support IDNs, including .com, .net, .eu, .de, and .es.

And while we're on the subject of extensions that support IDN, you should know that .fr IDNs will be available on July 3, 2012. There will be a two-month sunrise period where it will be possible to register IDN versions of domain names for those who already own the ASCII version.

For example, the lucky owner of the domain name will be first in line to register café.fr. And since the .FR rule also applies to the other AFNIC extensions (.re, .yt, .pm, .tf and .pm), they will all be IDN-ready on the same date. And don't forget that the recent opening of these extensions to Europe means that 30 new characters ( ) can now be used.

Slight clarification:

Since AFNIC uses a unique identifier to identify the domain owner, the IDN version of your domain will have to be obtained through the same registrar as that where the ASCII version is registered. Finally, priority rights are only valid on the domain as a whole, i.e. the owner of will have priority over café.fr but not café.re!

So what about .РФ?

Still on the subject of IDNs, the extension .РФ (which translates to .rf, for Russian Federation) is a special case because here, it's the extension itself that is "IDN-ified." It's not the first IDN domain: Egypt (.مصر), Saudi Arabia (.امارات ) and the United Arab Emirates (.السعودية ) secured their respective national IDN extensions on May 5, 2010. However, the .РФ is the first in Cyrillic and the first offered by Gandi. Interest in the French community will be fairly limited, since the .fr extension doesn't accept Cyrillic characters (choose Russian as your language at checkout), but we know that some customers at Gandi will be interested in the novelty of creating a domain with cyrillic characters.

As for the title of this post, it simply means "I love .RF."

Register a .РФ?


If you want to convert a Latin text into Cyrillic, try this link.