This is one: http://🍺🏈💻🎸.ws
Go Ahead. Click it.
I promise it’s safe.
That’s an emoji URL.
Pretty neat huh?
Last night I accidentally stumbled across this article – You Can Now Visit Norwegian Airlines Using an All-Emoji URL
That’s cool I thought. I wonder how it works.
Which then led me to this article.
Which then led me to creating my own emoji URL. The magic behind all of this is something called “Punycode“. If you don’t want to read the Wikipedia article, it boils down to this: It’s basically a text version of a binary table. As you add and arrange emoji’s (or any character, really) a unique ASCII hash gets created. For the emoji’s in the URL above, the Punycode is:
And here comes the final bit of joy – take some Punycode and register a domain name with it. Any very-modern browser will translate the emoji to Punycode and then do the DNS lookup to see where it is supposed to go. If you click on the emoji URL again –http://🍺🏈💻🎸.ws – you’ll notice that the address bar will quickly change to the Punycode domain name of xn--xj8h2dwb17d.ws. I then just told my registrar to URL forward back to this blog.
There are a few caveats with emoji URL’s –
Either the .com domain doesn’t support emoji URL’s, or someone bought up all the emoji URL names already. I’ve found a lot of success registering with .ws as the Top Level Domain. So be prepared to use some less well known TLD’s.
Not all emoji’s show up on all devices yet, so hold off on using brand-new emoji’s. For example, I had trouble with the global soccer (association football) emoji but oddly the (American) football emoji showed up everywhere just fine.
Not every registrar plays nicely with emoji URL’s. I stumbled upon name.com and they do an amazing job. Look inside my control panel. They don’t show the domain in Punycode, they show it in emoji instead.
Emoji URL’s are supposedly an easier way to type in a URL on a phone than a fully spelled-out domain name. However, on Windows Phone the keyboard brought up by both Internet Explorer and Opera Mini don’t let you enter emoji’s. Depending on your Android keyboard, it is supported and iOS seems to support it as well. (I haven’t tested on all devices if an emoji URL actually works, just that the keyboard in the browser let’s you enter them).
It’s also not supported on older desktop browsers however both IE11 and whatever version of Chrome I have running on Windows seem to work fine.
You need one more website to convert your emoji collection to a Punycode. I used Punycoder
Copy the emojis into the left hand side of Punycoder and click “Convert to Punycode” to get the ASCII representation. Once you have a string of emoji’s you want, go register a domain name somewhere.
As mentioned above, I used name.com. I have no loyalty to them other than my primary registrar didn’t seem to want to play ball. I tried a few and name.com seemed to work well and charge only $15 for a .ws domain name.
The only major problem I have with an emoji URL is that I don’t think it really saves time in entering a URL. I find I spend way more time looking for the emoji’s than it would take to type in a “regular” URL – including fixing typo’s.
But that’s not the point is it?
My website has an emoji URL and yours doesn’t. So that makes me better than you. Right?
Isn’t that how it works?