Multilingual WordPress Sites

After spending many hours supporting two languages (English and Traditional Chinese) in one WordPress blog, I decided to move the second language to a separate blog. I lost the page count on some of my Mandarin posts, but blogging life has got so much easier since then. Here are two plugins I’ve tried and the issues I encountered.

Plugins I tried

My goal was to have one WordPress blog with posts in two languages, with a way to toggle between two languages. There are a few popular plugins out there like WPML, but most are paid. Since I don’t write for any monetary incentives, I was looking for free plugins.


This plugin is open-source (GitHub repository), but I did not have the time to dig in and contribute. The main issues I ran into:

  • The categories widget does work in the secondary language
  • The posts in the secondary language are missing in editor, and thus I cannot edit posts in the WordPress mobile apps
  • The “Read more” block in Gutenberg does not work for posts in the secondary language, and the whole content is shown
  • When uninstalling, make sure to follow the official instructions

It’s possible that these are fixed in the paid version (Polylang Pro), but I didn’t get to try it.

Falang multilanguage for WordPress

Also open-source, but I didn’t see a public repository that takes contributions. Similar to Polylang, Falang also has paid versions while I only tried the free one. I encountered more issues with this plugin:

  • Cannot preview a post (this is certainly a blocker), even after checking the “known issues” in the official website
  • (Same as Polylang) The posts in the secondary language are missing in editor, and thus I cannot edit posts in the WordPress mobile apps
  • Categories are shared by all languages, and I cannot display different ones per language

Themes – trials and errors

It’s also worth mentioning a multilingual blog could appear broken in different ways with each theme. I tried many themes, but couldn’t find a theme that I liked visually and works with multiple languages.

Final solution – multiple blogs

After spending a few days trying out two plugins and searching for themes, I felt like it was time to make a call. Eventually, I created another WordPress site in Mandarin on the same Ubuntu machine and these two sites link to each other via a menu item. I copied the wordpress folder from this blog, so all the plugins and themes were carried over.

Wrap up

Maintaining multiple languages in one blog is not easy, at least with the free approaches that I’ve tried. I was surprised by the lack of multilingual support in the open-source community, but it’s probably a niche use case. also has a blog post on setting up a multilingual site with more options. I felt relieved after switching to multiple blogs and not having to chase issues here and there. I’d love to hear any other ideas!