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How to Set Up a Multilingual WordPress Website

As the world’s most powerful content management system, WordPress lets you build any kind of website. You can start a simple blog, a business website, or an online store.

If you're looking to reach a global audience, the ability to create a multilingual website becomes crucial. A multilingual WordPress site allows you to connect with people who speak different languages and lets you enter new markets and communities.

In this guide, we explore how you can turn your WordPress site into a multilingual platform. You’ll learn how to reach a broader audience without needing to create multiple websites or mastering complex technical skills.

What You’ll Learn

What is a Multilingual WordPress Website?
Adding Multilingual Capabilities to Your WordPress Site
Why Choose a Multilingual Plugin Over a Multisite Installation?
Hosting Requirements and Setup for Multilingual Sites
Web Hosting Account
Domain Names and URL Structures
Setting Up Multiple Domains from Your Hosting Panel
Configuring Your Multilingual Plugin

What is a Multilingual WordPress Website?

A multilingual WordPress website offers content in more than one language. This allows visitors from different parts of the world to read and interact with your content in their preferred language.

With a multilingual website, you can:

Reach a wider audience globally
Improve user experience for non-native speakers
Increase the time visitors spend on your site
Enhance your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)
Show respect for cultural diversity
Expand your brand's international presence

Adding Multilingual Capabilities to Your WordPress Site

WordPress can run in any single language you choose, but it doesn’t natively support multilingual installations. To make your site available in multiple languages, you can use plugins. In simple terms, plugins are extensions that you can add to your WordPress site to introduce new features or extend existing ones.

To make your site multilingual, you simply need to select, install, and configure one of the many multilingual plugins available.

An example of such a plugin is WPML (WordPress Multilingual). Known as the most popular multilingual plugin, WPML lets you easily run a multilingual website with a single WordPress installation and works out-of-the-box with other popular plugins and themes.

Why Choose a Multilingual Plugin Over a Multisite Installation?

When considering how to add multiple languages to your WordPress site, you might come across a different option: setting up a multisite installation. This more technical option requires you to manage multiple sites for different languages.

Choosing a multilingual plugin is better than a multisite installation for several reasons:

Easier content management: A multilingual plugin allows you to manage all language versions of your content within a single site.

Resource-efficient: Large plugins, including the multilingual plugin WPML, do have specific requirements, such as using a newer version of PHP and a memory limit of at least 128MB. However, it’s easier to meet these requirements than to maintain multiple WordPress installations.

Consistent User Experience: A multilingual plugin ensures a consistent look and feel across different language versions of your site.

Hosting Requirements and Setup for Multilingual Sites

To start using WordPress, you need a web hosting account and a domain.

Web Hosting Account

Think of web hosting as your WordPress site's home. It keeps your website accessible and running. Multilingual sites usually have more content and potential for more visitors, so you need strong hosting that can handle this larger demand efficiently.

ServerFreak Hosting stands out here. As an optimized WordPress hosting provider, we offer various plans for your different needs. Our 24/7 support ensures you always get help, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee keeps your site reliably online for a global audience.

Domain Names and URL Structures

How you set up your domain affects user experience and SEO. Your domain name serves as your WordPress website's unique online address. It's how people find you online.

For multilingual websites, you can consider different formats for URLs:

One Domain with Language Directories: With this, you purchase one domain and put each language in its own folder on your main site. For example, the address of the Italian version of your website would be "". For users, it provides a clear, organized path to find content in their preferred language. Search engines like this structure as well because it organizes language-specific content under one main domain.

Separate Domains for Each Language: You can buy a different domain for each language. For example, use "" for the Italian version, and “” for the French version. This custom approach has a more difficult setup and requires a bigger investment. But it provides extra flexibility and shows the site’s language focus, which helps to improve search engine ranking.

Main Domain with Language Subdomains: This method uses your main site address and adds the language code before it. For Italian, it would be "". Using this approach keeps a strong connection to your main domain and offers a clear separation of language content, which is beneficial for your site’s visitors.

Adding the Language as a URL Parameter: Here, you add a language tag to your site's address. For example, for an Italian version, your address might look like "". While easy, it might not be the best for search engines, which prefer more simple URLs.

Choose your domain structure based on your audience's preferences and the local context. For example, country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs), like ".it" for Italy and “.my” for Malaysia, can benefit local branding and SEO.

Moreover, your audience’s preferences may require you to choose between using non-Latin characters or English in URLs. If you were to target users in Japan, non-Latin characters might be better for the local audience. On the other hand, English URLs can be easier to manage and more universally accessible.

Setting Up Multiple Domains from Your Hosting Panel

Please note: This relates to the option in WPML to set up different domains per language.

After buying a hosting plan from ServerFreak, you'll get access to your hosting account and cPanel. A web hosting control panel, cPanel lets you install and manage your website.

Installing a WordPress website in cPanel

After setting up your main domain, you can get started with your secondary domains. To do this, you need to set up a domain alias in cPanel. Essentially, this makes it possible for you to point multiple domains to the same location.

Below, we’ll show you how to set up different domains, but you can also add subdomains in cPanel.

Look for the Domain section in your cPanel dashboard and click on the Create a new domain button. Then:

In the Domain text box, input the domain name you want to add as an alias. For instance, if you have an Italian version, you might enter ""​
Check the Share document root option. This ensures that the alias domain shares the same web pages, folders, and content as your main site.

When you finish filling in the details, click the Submit button to create the alias.

After setting up domain aliases in cPanel, you need to make sure they point to ServerFreak hosting DNS servers. This allows you to manage multiple language versions of your site under one installation.

You can find the DNS settings in the Domains section of your cPanel. Once you update the DNS settings for your domain, it may take up to 48 hours for these changes to come into effect.
After the DNS settings update, test each alias by visiting its URL to ensure it directs to your main WordPress site.

Configuring Your Multilingual Plugin

Once your domains and subdomains work correctly, log in to your WordPress website and install and activate your chosen multilingual plugin.

All plugins support multiple languages and handle translations, but the setup processes may differ. With WPML, for example, a setup wizard greets you and helps you select the languages for your website and choose your method of translation.

An important aspect of this setup process involves choosing the URL format for your multilingual site. This step is where you align your site's URLs with the domain setup you previously chose. By doing this, you make sure that each language version of your website is properly linked to its corresponding domain or subdomain.

Setting up the URL format in the WPML setup wizard

After completing the setup of your multilingual plugin, you can start translating content and making your site available to people all over the world.


Creating a multilingual WordPress site lets you reach a global audience and enhance your reach. By choosing the right domain, URL structure, and translation plugin, you take the first important steps to setting your website up for success.

With ServerFreak Hosting, you get reliable support tailored for multilingual websites. Our hosting plans, combined with 24/7 support, ensure smooth performance and reliability, allowing you to focus on engaging with your worldwide audience.

Updated on: 16/12/2023

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