Native language characters in domain names

An fi-domain name may contain Finnish native characters (e.g. å, ä and ö) that differ from the Latin alphabet. The majority of software converts these characters into a form that is accepted by name server systems. However, not all software and keyboards support native language characters.

Internet name server systems can only process the traditional letters (a to z) of the Latin alphabet. In order for name servers to accept native language characters in domain names, the characters must be converted into another form.

Software, internet browsers and email programs that support national domain names automatically convert them from plain text into a form readable for name server systems.

However, due to technical restrictions, it is not recommended to use a domain name containing native language characters as a primary domain name.

Permitted characters in domain names

The permitted characters in fi-domain names are the letters from a to z, the numbers from 0 to 9 and the following native language characters:

An fi-domain name must not begin or end with a hyphen-minus. A domain name must not begin with characters xn--. The ACE form (ASCII Compatible Encoding) of a domain name containing native language characters always begins with characters xn--.

Rights to domain names containing native language characters

Fi-domain name holders have no priority to a domain name that corresponds to their domain name apart from native language characters (å, ä, ö). Such domain names, too, are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

However, regardless of whether a domain name contains native language characters or not, it can be considered to be based on a protected name or trademark that contains native language characters.

For example, both domain name åäö.fi and domain name aao.fi would be considered to be based on the protected name or trademark ÅÄÖ. Instead, if the protected name or trademark was AAO, the only domain name considered to be based on it would be aao.fi.

IDN converter

An IDN converter converts a domain name that is in plain text or consists of special characters into punycode.

A domain name is always entered as punycode in the domain name system. For example, the punycode form of the domain name viestintävirasto.fi is xn--viestintvirasto-7kb.fi.

IDN converter allows you to see the punycode form of your domain name even before you apply for the domain name.

Technical restrictions of browser software

The latest versions of most browser software support domain names containing native language characters. The most popular of them are Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Safari.

Technical restrictions of email addresses

If domain names containing native language characters are intended to be used in email addresses, the sender's email program must support such characters. The support in many email programs is still rather insufficient, and therefore it is recommended to check this directly from the manufacturer of the program.

Due to technical restrictions, it is not recommended to use a domain name containing native language characters in an email address. Few email programs support IDNs. Without IDN support, the domain name has to be used in an impractical coded form. For example, info@ääkkönen.fi in coded form is info@ xn--kknen-fraa=0m.fi.

Keyboard support for native language characters

It can be difficult or even impossible to type fi-domain names containing native language characters using a foreign language keyboard. Without keyboard support, one solution for entering native language characters in Windows operating system is Character Map program.


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