Take the 2-minute tour ×
WordPress Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for WordPress developers and administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been looking through Wordpress' codes and they're mostly using PHP's regular string functions, like strlen, strpos, etc. Yet I know Wordpress supports utf8, so how does it do that?

Does it overload the regular string functions with multibyte string functions?

If so, is that a good idea in practice? If not, then how do they do it?

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 25 '13 at 11:09

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

add comment

2 Answers 2

Wordpress is written in PHP. As far as I know, PHP doesn't support any character encoding (UTF-8, UTF-16, ...). It just assumes the text to be ASCII encoded.

The actual encoding and decoding is done by your browser. When you write a post, your browser sends the text you just entered as UTF-8 to the server. Wordpress just stores it in the database.

The encoding is specified in Wordpress' HTML code:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

This instructs the browser to use "UTF-8" for all text on the page. This includes the actual text on the page as well as all input fields.

So, Wordpress doesn't handle UTF-8 itself. It let's the browser handle it. (This is also means, if you'd specify a different encoding for the backend and the frontend pages, you'd get garbage text on the frontend.)

As a note: Unlike PHP, MySQL is UTF-8 aware. So, for example, a search for non-ASCII characters yields the correct result because the search is handled by MySQL rather than Wordpress.

share|improve this answer
add comment

No, WordPress doesn't support unicode natively. But it's an easy fix.

Open up your wp.config in your root.

Find these lines:

/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('DB_COLLATE', '');

Just comment 'em out:

/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
//define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
//define('DB_COLLATE', '');

Now it won't display unicode as a ? ... so you're all set.

share|improve this answer
I'm not sure you understood my question. Wordpress has multilingual support. You can have posts and so on in utf8. I want the database charset to be utf8 and collation to be utf_general_ci. I get that part. But I have studied Wordpress' PHP files and I don't see any mb_string functions, so I'm trying to understand how Wordpress is able to work with utf8 strings! –  J Johnson Mar 23 '13 at 6:01
add comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.