Domain Names with Accentuated Characters

Domain Names with Accentuated Characters

Last week, I decided to buy a new web domain with my remaining web cash. I always thought that it would be nice to have a short domain name which will be easy to remember to use as a URL Shortener. Something like came into my mind but eventually it was already registered. So I thought what would happen if I buy cé with the accentuated “é”. Without doing any prior research and being elated by the idea of a brand new domain name, I headed to GoDaddy and found that cé was indeed available.

After proceeding to checkout here’s what happened:

  • On the address bar of my browser; I typed in: cé and surprisingly and unexpectedly the address was converted to:

This is was totally unanticipated and it didn’t appear nice at all. Not cool enough to be used as a URL Shortener. I decided to search upon it only then and unveiled the mystery.

  1. Web domain names are encoded using ASCII which is a limited set of characters that does not include accents or non-alphabetical characters unlike Unicode.
  2. So, for International Domain Names (IDN), non-ASCII characters are encoded using Punycode
  3. This is why my domain cé got translated as


So moral of the story, never, I repeat never try to buy domain names with non-ASCII characters unless you want one of these bizarre, odd and abnormal domain names.


“Learning is experience, everything else is just information” – Albert Einstein