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Can a domain name include special characters?

It is possible to register a domain name containing special characters such as accents or some punctuation.

However, choosing a domain containing these characters is not without consequences. It is therefore better to be informed before selecting your domain name.

The limits of a domain name containing special characters

A web standard called Internationalized Domain Names (or IDN) has defined standards to allow the use of characters that are not available in the English language. It allows the conversion of characters to use completely different alphabets, such as Arabic or Chinese.

The various accents used in the French or Spanish languages are therefore authorized (éà, á, â, ã, ä, å, æ, ç, è, é, ê, ë, ì, í, î, ñ, ò, ó, ô, õ, ö, œ, ù, ú, û, ü, ý, ÿ, and ß), as well as point (.) and hyphen (-).

However, English remains the main language used on the web, and the SEO language par excellence. Anglophone users generally use a range of characters defined by the American Standard Code for Information Interchange_ known as ASCII.

ASCII characters do not include accents and are generally limited in terms of special characters. Including one or more accents in your domain name can therefore limit the potential audience of your website.

Moreover, this can also be a handicap for referencing your website. Several search engines favour sites whose names comply with ASCII standards.

Updated on: 03/05/2023

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