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We are launching our website in Spanish and are probably going to call it

espanol.mydomain.com

Since the real spelling is español, ideally we would allow people to type español.mydomain.com.

Is that something that is possible today? Can we use this character in domains and sub-domains?

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Wouldn't this hinder any other users from visiting the site (for example, I don't know off the top of my head how to type the ñ. –  Mitch Dempsey May 18 '10 at 1:07
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i presume it's the version of the site that would be in spanish, and therefore most viewers would have keyboards with those character sets. –  cpbills May 18 '10 at 1:20
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@webdestroya: Do you speak Spanish? –  Dennis Williamson May 18 '10 at 1:24
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@webdestroya - 1) the comment isn't particularly relevant to the question, 2) you can easily create a cname for the non-unicode version to point to the unicode version for those who don't have that language installed on their machine –  Mark Henderson May 18 '10 at 1:35
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I see webdestroya's point, that using non-ASCII characters will limit the people who might use the site. Similarly not using the character will also limit them from people who would expect the domain name to be spelled properly. It's really for the domain owner to determine what is more likely (or just buy both if they think both are likely). –  Chris S May 18 '10 at 1:41
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, you can use "español" as a subdomain as well as a domain. When a user types "español.mydomain.com" into their browser, it will be translated into Punycode and the request will be made to that URL which would look like "xn--espaol-zwa.mydomain.com".

As a test, I set up that subdomain on one of my domains and in configuring it, I used "xn--espaol-zwa" instead of "español".

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you could have just gone to the verisign conversion tool mct.verisign-grs.com –  Jim B May 18 '10 at 4:35
    
Sysadmins will definitely need to know about the punycode version. Apache configs and SSL certs will need the punycode, not the UTF-8 version. –  Alnitak May 18 '10 at 8:56
    
@Jim: That's true if all I wanted to do was get the Punycode, but I wanted to test my configuration and its functionality. –  Dennis Williamson May 18 '10 at 9:15
    
@ChrisS - you're splitting hairs. IMHO anyone reading your comment would reasonably assume that you had meant the sysadmins running the IDN sites! –  Alnitak May 18 '10 at 21:38
    
I still think it's worth explicitly stating that end users never need to know the Punycode version; sysadmins who run IDN sites need to know, and just about nobody else. (@Alnitak, compromise?) –  Chris S May 18 '10 at 23:18
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What you are looking for is called an Internationalized Domain Name (IDN). Yes it is possible on most ccTLDs as well as some of the more traditional TLDs.

Wikipedia Article
.com info from verisign

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You beat me by 26 seconds... as usual... –  Mark Henderson May 18 '10 at 0:22
    
@Farseeker: sorry i'll be slower next time ;) –  Zypher May 18 '10 at 0:47
    
plz kthxbai :-) –  Mark Henderson May 18 '10 at 0:52
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Sure you can use it. The punycode version is xn--espaol-zwa.mydomain.com. It doesn't matter if the TLD (.com) allows IDN names, because is a third level domain and in .com is up to you what you put in the third level. Your main concern is with the browser support with idn, but now is natively supported in the last versions of firefox, explorer, and chrome, by the way.

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