I'd like to have the backend of Wordpress in English and use a different locale for the frontend

so far I figure out perhaps I could do it by setting in the wpconfig the locale I want to use in the frontend, then add in functions.php something like this:

add_filter('locale', 'mytheme_backendlocale');
function mytheme_backendlocale($locale) {
    if ( is_admin() ) {
        return 'en_US';
    return $locale;

is this the best practice to achieve what I want or should I do it differently?

4 Answers 4


Install the plugin WP Native Dashboard. Then you can set one language for the front-end in your wp-config.php and each user can choose another one for the back-end.
See Change language of comments template for details and a screenshot.


There is a plugin that may be what you need.


  • well thanks, I'll give a look to the code, but maybe won't use it since it's not updated since 2008 and supports up to WP 2.6 only - if I like it and have the ability maybe will try to talk to the developer and update it
    – unfulvio
    Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 11:03
  • oh just checked, it does pretty much the same as the function I wrote above, in another style
    – unfulvio
    Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 11:04
  • Yeah, its old, but seems the only one around. If the code is how you have done it, then I guess the answer is you are on the correct track and its how I would have done it.. cant think of a better way.
    – Andy James
    Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 11:06

Till now, I think that Fulvio's answer's the best one. I'm using that filter even on a multisite setup, with just one line:

add_filter('locale', 'set_admin_locale');
function set_admin_locale($locale) {
  return 'en_US';

Basically sometimes, and in this case, I use multisite for multi-language sites instead of plugins. Also, I have 1 single theme for each language (usually child themes of the main language). So every site of the network has its own language, but on the admin side, I need all teh interfaces in italian.

So what I do is:

  1. I don't use the general WPLANG constant in wp-config.php
  2. I set italian in every site of teh network
  3. In each theme's functions.php I use the above filter to control the frontend language/locale.

NOTE: that filter won't change the admin language, so there's no need to check if is_admin()


If anyone is still looking for that, here is what you should do since version 4.7

function wp_noshor_redefine_locale($locale) {
    if( is_admin() ):

This forces the dashboard to load in English, then you can go to settings, set the language you desire.

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