Change WordPress language (without re-installing WP)

So, you have just installed WordPress successfully – and now you realize that you would want to run WP in a different language? You basically want to change the WordPress language after install – without re-installing it? Great. I know the feeling.

WordPress is available in many different languages – as far as I know over 70 language packs are currently available – and of course there is also for example a German version of WordPress. So basically you could just download the version in the language you prefer and install it as it is. But that’s not what this article is about.

I recently need to change one WordPress installation to German language. There are many guides, tutorials and how-to’s available that describe how to change the language – or I would actually rather prefer to say they ‘claim’ to describe how to change the language. What most of the guides actually describe is how to do a complete a WordPress installation in a different language.

But sometimes you just want to change the language or add another language, without actually installing WordPress. And of course that is very well possible. All you basically will need are the corresponding language files that are usually located inside the folder languages under wp-content. When you do a standard installation these files are however most likely missing.

WordPress German Language Version

WordPress German Language Version

Basically you have two options. Either you download the ‘localized’ installer – there is for example a German installer available right here “WordPress in deutscher Sprache“ > You can then find the language files inside the languages directory.

Or you download  the language files you need directly and put them inside the folder languages manually. You can find a directory of various languages / language files  over here:

wordpress change languageAfter uploading the language files you can choose the language from the options page in WordPress administration section as shown in the screenshot. Previously you first had to edit wp-config.php – with newer WordPress versions that is no longer necessary. You may however still find this note: „Note: The WPLANG constant in your wp-config.php file is no longer needed.“

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