Suppose you're starting a new web site with the (completely made up name) of "El Niño." Some obvious options for your domain name would be:

  • elniño.com
  • elnino.com

And typically, of course, you'd want both.

But what is the best practice when it comes to domain aliases, etc?

In a perfect world, I think I would want elniño.com to be the primary domain, with elnino.com re-directing (probably via DNS, possibly via HTTP redirects--whatever) to the primary.

But can this this break anyone with an old browser? Does it affect SEO or have any other secondary effects? If so, are there work arounds other than using the strict Latin domain name as the primary?

  • As far as I know, domain names cannot use special characters. That, at least, was the was it was a few years ago. Do you know something I don't- I mean- has something changed??
    – closetnoc
    May 4, 2015 at 23:12
  • 3
    @closetnoc: They can with IDN.
    – Flimzy
    May 5, 2015 at 1:57
  • I don't have specific data, but remember that sometimes the browser will display a non-roman-alphabet domain name using punycode for security reasons. In punycode, your domain name would be xn--elnio-rta.com.
    – Daniel F
    May 9, 2015 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


If I were you, I would certainly take both domains, you wouldn't want someone else to use elniño.com when you have a site called elnino.com.

Point both to the same webspace, but choose one as the cannonical one. It can be either, but personally I would go for the one without accents, because it's sure to work from anywhere and avoids compatibility or codepage/locale settings issues.

The issue now is that for SEO, you have what is called duplicate content. To avoid being SEO-penalised for this, you should declare one which version is the cannonical one. The SE will only index the cannonical version then. Declaring the cannonical version is easy. Just add a link tag to the header of each page, like this :

suppose you have a page

http:// elnino.com /warez/list.html

and since you point elniño.com to the same webspace,

http:// elniño.com /warez/list.html

will serve the same content. That page should contain a tag like this in its < head > section :

< link rel="canonical" href="http://elnino.com/warez/list.html" / >

and the SE will be cool with it. Do this for all pages.

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