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Why has there been a lot of weird characters added to my domain name?

If you have received a confirmation with a domain name that looks strange and begins with xn--…
It is because you have ordered an IDN domain. Below is a brief explanation of IDN domains.

What is IDN domains?

IDN stands for Internationalized Domain Names and refers to domain names with characters that lie outside of the domain name system's character set, which only covers the characters a-z, 0-9 and dash. For .SE-domains it applies to characters å, ä, ö, é and ü.

The only differences between IDN and common domains are really the characters that are used and how they can be handled by the browser, keyboard, and other applications.

Since the domain name system technically only handle characters a-z, 0-9, and dash, a system with transcoding is used to represent IDN in the domain name system DNS. This is done with ACE (ASCII Compatible Encoding) which uses a special prefix, xn--, in front of encoded IDN domains.

To handle IDN domains (with e.g. characters å, ä, ö, é or ü) it requires customized applications. The latest versions of the major browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and others have IDN support as standard.

Can I use IDN characters in my email address?

Today only a few e-mail applications support IDN domains. Most e-mail software doesn't support internationalized characters. It is not yet possible to write directly with these characters in "sent to" or "from" fields of e-mail messages. However, you can use the ACE coded representation of an IDN domain (such xn--drnare-xxa.se for drönare.se) in the e-mail program. It does not mean that the programs support IDN in that part of the address to the left of the at sign (@) in the e-mail address. That is a functionality that does not exist yet.

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