The Importance of Non-English Characters in URLs: URL Encoding and Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)


In the modern Internet age, URL (uniform Resource Locator) is the standard way for us to enter it in browsers to access web pages. The characters contained in most URL are standard English letters, numbers, and some special characters. However, URL can also contain non-English characters, which provides more flexibility and convenience for users around the world.

In this article, we will explore the importance of non-English characters in URL, how to deal with them, and related best practices.

The Importance of Non-English Characters in URLs

Non-English characters in URLs are essential for catering to the diverse linguistic needs of global users. They allow websites to be more inclusive and provide a localized experience to users from different language backgrounds. By incorporating non-English characters in URLs, we can enhance the usability and accessibility of the internet for a wider audience.

URL Encoding: Ensuring Accurate Transmission

URL encoding is the process of converting non-English characters into a standardized format that can be safely transmitted and interpreted by web browsers and servers. Since URLs are primarily composed of ASCII characters, non-English characters need to be encoded to ensure their proper handling. URL encoding replaces non-ASCII characters with a % sign followed by two hexadecimal digits representing the character's ASCII code.

Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)

Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) allow the use of non-English characters in domain names. This means that users can enter URLs in their native languages, making it easier to navigate the web and access websites with non-English characters. IDN plays a crucial role in promoting linguistic diversity and cultural inclusivity on the internet.

Best Practices for Non-English Characters in URLs

When using non-English characters in URLs, it is important to follow best practices to ensure compatibility and optimal user experience. Here are some key considerations:

1. URL Encoding: Use URL encoding to represent non-English characters accurately. This ensures that the characters are transmitted correctly and can be interpreted by web browsers and servers.

2. Readability vs. Usability: Strike a balance between using non-English characters for readability and ensuring usability across different platforms and browsers. Some characters may not display correctly on certain devices or may cause compatibility issues.

3. Compatibility: Ensure that both the user's browser and the server hosting the website support non-English characters in URLs. This may require configuring the server and implementing proper character encoding settings.

4. Testing and Validation: Thoroughly test URLs with non-English characters to ensure they function as intended. Validate the URLs using online tools or browser extensions to identify and resolve any encoding or compatibility issues.

By following these best practices, we can leverage the power of non-English characters in URLs to create a more inclusive and user-friendly web experience for global audiences.


Non-English characters in URLs, when used properly and in accordance with best practices such as URL encoding and ensuring compatibility, can greatly enhance the accessibility and usability of websites for users from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

URL encoding ensures accurate transmission of non-English characters, while Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) enable users to directly access websites with non-English characters in their domain names.

By embracing these practices, we can foster linguistic diversity and inclusivity on the internet, creating a more connected and accessible global online community.