International Domain Name Registration - What You Should Know

Ensure your website’s global reach with international domain name registration. Learn the benefits and steps to secure your IDN today.. IDNs can be especially useful for businesses looking to expand their reach into overseas markets. You can buy an IDN from an international domain name registrar that on sells the TLDs from the registries. In this blog we look at what IDNs are, how you can register one, and what the top organizations that manage and issue them are.

Domain Name Overview

Before we examine the specifics of an international domain registration, let’s look at what domain names are and how they work.

Domain names are the internet equivalent of physical addresses for websites. They allow users to find your website without needing to memorize a site’s numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address. They consist of the Second Level Domain (chosen by the owner) and a suffix separated by a period, known as a Top Level Domain (TLD) or domain extension. An example of a complete domain name is “”

The Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names into the associated IP addresses such as

When you enter a domain name into your browser, global DNS servers search for the associated IP address, and the web server that the site is hosted on, i.e. where the website’s data and files are stored. The hosting server will respond with the requested information for the domain and return the request to the browser. The process is called a DNS handshake. Once the browser receives the server’s data, it will access and display the correct web page.

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Types of Top Level Domains

There are several types of TLDs, each with their own purpose and designations, that are used to give context for the websites they are allocated to. For the purposes of IDNs, we are going to look at two of the most used domain name extensions.

Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)

These are one of the categories of top-level domains that are maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for use in the DNS of the Internet. The prominent examples include “.com,” “.net,” and “.org.”

Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)

These are two-letter TLDs reserved for specific countries or geographical locations. For example, “.us” for the United States or “.ca” for Canada. While they were created for use by residents of the respective countries using that TLD, certain countries do allow people from outside their region to register them.

International Domain Name Registries

International Domain Name Registries are the organizations responsible for managing the registration of domain names in specific countries or geographic areas. If you are looking at registering an IDN, it is essential to understand how registries operate, as they vary across different regions and the types of TLDs they facilitate. Each registry has its own rules and prices, which can affect availability and cost.

IDN Registry Accreditation

These registries are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of DNS databases. However, they do not deal directly with the public, so you will have to purchase your IDN from an international domain name registrar.

To obtain a domain name for your website, you will need to have it registered with a Domain Registry. The Registry maintains the central database for their specific TLD which contains information about registered domain names, including domain owners’ details, contact information, and registration dates.

When registering a domain name, the provider will submit all the information about the domain’s Registrant to the Registry. The Registry then uploads that data into a centralized database and publishes the Internet Zone files.

Registering ccTLDs

You can register different ccTLDs e.g. .africa for the African region or .us for the United States. However, as we mentioned before, you will need to check your country’s registries, along with the prices for your chosen IDN. Costs will vary depending on the popularity of a specific ccTLD. Additionally, going directly through a registry can be more expensive than using a hosting provider. It tends to be more complicated as well, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

Look for Domain Name Offers

When you sign up for a Web Hosting plan with, you receive a free domain name*. You will also get access to our Customer Portal, a user-friendly, intuitive dashboard, with which you can manage your domain seamlessly. Added to this, our dedicated Customer Support team and a wealth of resources in our Blog and Knowledgebase can provide assistance when you need it

Top International Registries partners with some of the top international registries to provide a range of domain extensions. Some of our suppliers include:


As the regional internet registry for Africa, Afrinic offers domain registration services tailored to the African market. They manage the allocation and registration of internet number resources within the continent.


A global company that provides domain name services and operates a variety of domain extensions. Centralnic is known for its innovation in the domain industry and its role in expanding the domain name space.


One of the largest domain registrars in the world, Tucows offers a vast selection of domain extensions and is known for its excellent customer service and user-friendly management tools.

Famous Four Media (FFM) / GRS Domains:

FFM, now operating as GRS Domains, specializes in generic top-level domains (gTLDs). They provide a variety of new and popular domain extensions that cater to specific industries and interests.


A global provider that operates the registry for .com and .net domains, among others. Verisign is one of the most well-established and trusted names in the domain registration industry.

Public Interest Registry (PIR):

Best known for managing the .org top-level domain, PIR focuses on serving the non-commercial community, but its domains are available to any interested registrants.

International Domain Names Allow For A Wide Range of Characters Reflecting a Variety of Languages

What is an International Domain Name?

An IDN and a standard domain are essentially the same thing. However, the key difference between a standard domain name and an international domain name is the character set used. While standard domain names are limited to the 26 letter Latin alphabet “A-Z”, IDNs allow for a much wider range of characters reflecting a variety of languages.

IDNs are made using a type of encoding Punycode. Punycode changes the language-specific script into a format that can be understood by the DNS to find the IP address associated with a particular website. This allows domain names to contain characters from scripts like Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, and so on.

IDNs allow users around the globe to navigate the web in their native languages. However, it is important to note that not all browsers and systems support all types of language strings, which can lead to issues with users not being able to access your site and visibility on search engines.

Registering an IDN paired with a ccTLD specific to a particular country or region can be beneficial to businesses looking to expand their reach and cater to a more global customer base. It allows businesses and individuals to secure a domain name that better reflects their identity and target audience.

Choosing an International Domain Name Registration

The process of choosing and registering an IDN follows mostly the same steps to registering a standard domain name. The process can be different depending on the TLD or domain name language, but the general steps are as follows:

Step 1 – Availability

First you will need to make sure that your domain name is available. Use your hosting provider’s domain search tool to check if your preferred domain name is available. If someone has beaten you to it, look at different spelling, your second choice, or try contacting the owner to see if you can purchase it from them using a Whois Lookup tool. Once you’ve confirmed your domain is good to go, you can begin registering it.

Step 2 – Registration

You will then need to fill out the registration forms and provide the required information, such as your contact details and business information and of course, the domain you want to use. Make sure that your information is accurate and up to date to avoid delays or having your registration rejected. You may also be asked to supply additional documentation, depending on the domain or registry being used.

Step 3 – Verification

Once you have submitted everything you will need to pay the registration fee and complete the verification process. Once you have successfully registered it, you take ownership of it.

Step 4 – Renewal

Once your domain is registered, you’ll need to regularly monitor and manage it to avoid losing it. Renew your registration before it expires and keep your contact information updated to ensure uninterrupted ownership.

While the process may resemble that of a generic domain registration, there are some additional things to consider.

Different countries have different rules and regulations regarding domain registration. Make sure you research and comply with all the legal requirements of the ccTLD you plan to use for your domain. This may include providing accurate contact information and adhering to any restrictions or guidelines. This will help you avoid any legal issues in the future.

Additionally, some countries have specific requirements for registering a domain, such as having a local address or representative. Research these requirements beforehand to avoid any registration issues.

Did You Know That International Domain Names Can Have A Positive Impact On SEO

The Benefits of International Domain Name Registration

Localized Prescence

By registering an international domain name, you can create a localized online presence that resonates with your target audience. This helps to build trust and credibility, as customers are more likely to engage with a website that uses their country’s domain extension. For example, customers in the United States may resonate better with a domain name in English with the suffix “.us.”

Positive SEO Impact

International domain names can have a positive impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines often prioritize localized websites when displaying search results to users in specific regions. By having a country-specific domain, you increase your chances of ranking higher in local search results.

Improved Targeted Marketing

IDNs can help allow you to target your marketing efforts to specific countries or regions. You can create localized content, target specific keywords, and implement region-specific marketing strategies to attract and engage local customers.

Protect Your Brand & Reputation

Finally, registering an IDN with a domain name that is similar to your original, can help protect your business’s reputation. It can prevent your competition from redirecting your customers to their website or hackers from setting up phishing sites to steal information.


  1. Domain names are website addresses that replace numerical IP addresses used by computers and servers. When users type a domain name into a browser, DNS servers find the associated IP address and hosting server, which replies to the website’s data.
  2. TLDs are domain extensions that provide context for websites. Two common types are gTLDs which are generic e.g., “.com” and ccTLDs, which are two-letter codes for specific countries e.g., “.us.” for the United States.
  3. Domain Registries manage and maintain central databases with details about registered domains. When a domain is registered, the provider submits the registrant’s info to the Registry, which then uploads it to the database.
  4. International domain names (IDN) can use a wider range of characters than standard domains, allowing for language-specific scripts. Registering an IDN with a ccTLD can help site owners reach a wider audience and better reflect their identity.
  5. Choosing and registering an IDN follows a similar approach to standard domain names. Users must consider browser compatibility for language strings and the requirements for ccTLDs.
  6. Registering an IDN creates a localized online presence, building trust with customers who prefer their country’s domain extension. IDNs can improve SEO, as search engines often prioritize localized sites and enable targeted marketing. Having IDNs like your original domain can protect your business from competitors and hackers.


What languages can be used for an international domain name?

IDNs can be made using characters from different scripts, such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, or Devanagari.

Do international domain names expire?

Yes, international domain name registrations do expire. They can be renewed during their active period or reactivated after expiration, but you risk losing the domain if you allow it to expire.

Will I own the IDN after I register it?

Yes, you own the IDN after you register it. However, you must renew it, usually on a yearly basis to keep ownership.

Are there any additional fees or taxes for international domain name registration?

The cost of international domain name registration can vary and may include additional fees or taxes. These costs can depend on your provider and the specific domain extension you are registering for.

Can I have sub-domains for an international domain name?

Yes, once your international domain name registration has been purchased, you can create sub-domains for it, in the same way you would for a standard domain name.

Are internationalized domain names easily available?

Yes, they are. If your current domain name provider does not have the international TLD that you are looking to register, then you can either look for the registrar on ICANN’s website, or look for the registry that manages the TLD on IANA’s website, note that, registries do not sell TLDs to the public.

Other Blogs of Interest:

What Next After a Domain Name Purchase? Follow these 6 Easy Steps

How to Buy an Expired Domain

Web Hosting Versus Domain Name – All the Facts Explained

How to Buy A Domain Name Permanently

How To Buy an Email Domain – 6 Tips When Choosing

Ts & Cs Apply

Free Domain Registration applies to the following domain name extensions: .com, .online, and is only applicable at time of purchase.

Free Domain Registration depends on the selected hosting plan and only applies on 12, 24, and 36 month billing cycles.

All listed prices exclude Premium domain names.