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How right-to-left domain names work in practice

Depending on your language, new TLDs might be about new opportunities to the left of the dot.

When ICANN unveiled the list of top level domain name applications at a media event in London last summer, some in the community were upset that Arabic IDNs were presented left to right instead of right to left.

Some scripts, including Arabic and Hebrew, are read from right to left.

This really hit home for me a couple weeks ago when I was writing about the registry agreement for شبكة. Whenever I paste that into WordPress, the cursor jumps to the left of the word instead of the right.

So how does this work in practice? If a language is to be read from right to left, is the top level domain not “right of the dot”?

Indeed, that’s the case.

I reached out to a couple companies to learn more about this.

ARI Registry Services provided some concrete examples.

As it turns out, most major browsers have localized versions. These versions handle the scripts, accounting for reading right to left.

Here’s an example for the already delegated country code domain امارات. or .emarat. This is from the aeDA’s (.ae Domain Administration) web site:


The second level domain is to the far right, followed to the left by dot, then the top level domain, and / directory page URL.

If you imagine Domain Name Wire in Arabic, this page:


would look something like


So in some countries, right now they aren’t getting excited about expanding opportunities to the right of the dot. Instead, they’re buzzing about expanding to the left of the dot.

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  1. Steve says

    Everyone knows those idn.com names are crap. 😉 I’ve had more traffic and offerrs for my idn.com’s this year than ever! Go idn.Com’s!!!!!

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