What is a Cyrillic Domain Name and how does it work?

February 11, 2016

I recently had a great opportunity to build a website in Russian. It’s an interesting experiencing building a website in a language I don’t understand, but what’s even more interesting is accessing the website when my keyboard can’t even type the domain name.

Have you ever seen a domain name that looks like кто.рф? Probably not, because these domains aren’t easily indexed by Google and usually reside on Google’s nemesis search engine in Europe: Yandex.

A Cyrillic domain is a domain name that’s in a different language. Accessing them can be pretty strange as well… copy and paste кто.рф into your browser, like Chrome, and see what happens.

Your browser will convert it to English characters, and the domain name will look like: http://xn--j1ail.xn--p1ai/. That’s a pretty ugly domain name, but it works! Copy and paste http://xn--j1ail.xn--p1ai/ into your browser and it will also load кто.рф.

The internet really is a strange place.