Sub-domain or Sub-directory?

The correct URL structure

Before setting up a WordPress site as multi language website, you should consider which URL structure you want to use. In addition to a top-level domain or subdomain, a sub-directory can also be considered.

top-level domain
Using top-level domains is the most time-consuming method of setting up a multilingual website in WordPress. Each country has its own website , which also has its own SEO strategy and site strength. Accordingly, it is necessary to put more work into the individual pages. A WordPress multi-language website can be set up with a multi-site installation and domain mapping or as a standalone installation.


Setting up WordPress as a multi language website with a subdomain is one of the most common methods . Like the top-level domain, WordPress can be set up in multiple languages ​​as a stand-alone installation or multi-site.


Like the subdomain option, setting up a WordPress multi-language website as a sub-directory is the most common. In addition to installation as a stand-alone and multi-site, a multilingual website with a sub-directory can also be set up as a single page with a plugin .

Set hreflang tags

You should set hreflang tags to ensure that search engines assign the languages ​​correctly and that no duplicate content is created on pages in the same language from different regions .
If you have set up your website bilingually in German and English with WordPress, the hreflang tags look like this:

German site:

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="de">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en">

English site:

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="de">
<link rel="alternate" href="https://" hreflang="en">

For more languages, add the appropriate hreflang tags to your WordPress multi-language site.

Comprehensive translations

Smaller parts such as captions, keywords or contact details should also be correctly translated on your WordPress multi-language website. A partially translated page will not deliver the same user experience as a fully professionally translated website. You should try to translate every single page. If the user changes the language on a sub-page, it is important that the page is displayed in his language. Website operators often redirect users to the start page if the translations are not available. This can result in an increased bounce rate as the user is not getting the information they want to read.

In addition to the text on the page, search engines also read URLs and file names. Therefore, you should also translate URLs, image files and PDFs into the respective language.

Automatic translation tools such as DeepLGoogle Translate and alternatives tempt you to have your website texts translated with little effort and often free of charge. However, these tools are not yet accurate enough to always find the right choice of words for the respective context. Technical terms and information that have to be adapted for the respective target country (localization) require language knowledge, research or manual processing. Even if you work with keywords, you often cannot translate them directly. Language usage and culture of the target country have a strong influence on this. Depending on the purpose of your WordPress website, you should prefer working with professional translators.