I would like a Greek word (Ἀπὸ) to render on a page like it rendered right here. If I copy Ἀπὸ directly to a page via the Wordpress interface, it shows just fine in both the interface and on the actual page. However when I use some PHP to read it out of a MySQL table and add it to a page, it renders ??? instead of Ἀπὸ.

Before you think it is messed up in the database, it renders as expected in Sequel Pro. However I did notice something interesting in its interface. You can select "View Using Encoding..." If I select "UTF-8 Unicode BMP (utf8)" or "UTF-8 Full Unicode (utf8mb4)", it works. If I select "UTF-8 Unicode via Latin 1", I get ???.

The database encoding is: UTF-8 Unicode (utf8)

The database collation is: utf8_unicode_ci

The table reports the same encoding and collation.

If I view the source of the page that gives me "???" I see:

<meta charset='utf-8'>

What am I missing?

1 Answer 1


wp-config.php includes scope for settings for "DB_CHARSET" and DB_COLLATE. Are those settings operative? How do they correspond to the your actual database settings.

If the config settings are operative, it might you might try it with them commented out.

Edit: On reflection/research, I would set the db_charset and db_collate settings.

There are other possibilities (such as making sure that the file is set to UTF-8 and not UTF-BOM). No doubt you have researched widely, but this question from 2012 resonated in terms of the db content appearing sound, but printing as "????". I refer you to "PHP MySQL Greek letters showing like ???? marks" where

  • I tried it with them both commented out, with DB_CHARSET = "utf8" and DB_COLLATE = "", and with DB_CHARSET = "utf8" and DB_COLLATE = "utf8_unicode_ci" -- they all continue to display ???. All I did was edit wp-config.php each time and refresh the page with the Greek characters. Is that enough or does something have to be restarted somehow? Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 5:08
  • changes to wp-config are rendered immediately. what is the meta charset on a page when the Greek characters are displayed accurately?
    – Tedinoz
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 14:25
  • The same:<meta charset="UTF-8"/> Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 20:17
  • I know this seems/is being pedantic, but your two meta tag examples are not the same. The one that is working has the tag in double quotes and utf-8 is rendered in caps. It also has an end tag, though I don't believe that is necessary - so it can be ignore. I think the main thing is the double quotes, but I would try caps as well. As a matter of interest, how is the meta field being inserted into your header bloginfo (charset)?
    – Tedinoz
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 6:10
  • I don't find it pendantic at all. :-) To test this, I entered the same Greek characters to the page that is partially created with PHP reading from the MySQL database. The Greek text I entered directly in the Wordpress interface renders properly and the exact same text read from the database displays question marks. Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 19:02

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