How to Change the Default Language on WordPress


WordPress is a truly universal blogging tool and content management system, used and viewed by millions of people from around the world every day. By default, WordPress is installed in the English language. Now, if English is not your first language, understanding the different elements of the dashboard can prove quite difficult and customizing your website will be hindered as a result. Fortunately, among its many powerful features, the WP CMS allows users to blog and manage content in a multiple languages, and modifying the dashboard so that it appears in your native tongue can be done in just a few steps.

Using the WordPress Language Plugin

As always, the easiest way to do anything in WordPress is to use a plugin. The plugin I recommend using to run a localized WP site is the “WordPress Language” plugin. This plugin is powerful and easy-to-use and will change the language of your dashboard in just a few clicks.

To install the plugin go to Plugins > Add New on the left-hand menu of your dashboard and type in “WordPress Language.” When WordPress has found the plugin, click on “Install Now” and “OK” and let WordPress take care of the installation. Once installed, click on “Activate plugin” and locate the plugin amongst the list of others that are installed.

The WordPress Language plugin will provide your dashboard with a language switcher at the top of the screen, next to the “+ New” option. To change the language, simply click on the switcher and select your preferred choice from the drop-down list.

Changing the Language Manually

Using the plugin to change your WordPress dashboard language is always the preferred method; however, for those that like to dabble with the code, the process can also be done manually.

To change the language by modifying the code, the first thing you will need to do is visit: Here you will find the language files you need.

Languages are displayed with two lower-case characters and two upper-case characters; for example, for French/Français and for Spanish/Español. You will need to download the .mo file for your language and copy it to the “wp-content/languages” file in your server directory. If you have used no language other than English, you will need to create a new /languages folder.

Next, locate the “wp-config.php” file in your WordPress directory and open it up in “Text Editor”. In the file, find the line that says:

define ('WPLANG', );

And enter you language code so that the line looks like this:

define ('WPLANG', 'fr_FR');

Close the file and visit your WordPress dashboard; it should now be in the language that you require, making it easier to produce and manage content.

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