This page is no longer maintained and may be inaccurate. For more up-to-date information, see the Internationalization Activity home page.
If a document in a foreign language comes in, a browser may not be able to display it, because the necessary fonts are not available. Several solutions are possible: create a small set of free fonts and assume that everybody installs them, download fonts on demand, transliterate characters, or replace characters by a black blob. Obviously, ignoring undisplayable characters is normally not a good solution.
CSS2 allows style designers to describe fonts to sufficient detail that they can be synthesized from similar fonts, or downloaded on demand.
See the font overview page for more information on fonts.
Microsoft's "core fonts for the Web" are a set of TrueType fonts with wide coverage of Unicode. They can be downloaded for free (see the FAQ).