Multilingual WordPress plugins

The question:

I’ve been using WPML to have multilanguage capabilities in my WordPress implementations. Now WPML has gone commercial, and I’m looking for a open source non-commercial replacement.

My main concerns are:

  • It should be easy to use for the content administrator.
  • It should be fairly flexible.
  • It should let me decide the URL structure for each language (subdomain, folder, parameter, etc.)
  • It should perform relatively well (Specially the queries)
  • It should support all major WP features (eg: Custom post types, menus, widgets)

I’m in the process of testing a few plugins, but I’d want to know if any of you have good advice.

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

I’d look into qTranslate. I haven’t ever used it, but it’s the only free alternative to WPML that I’ve ever seen.

That being said, I’d suggest you just pony up the $30-80 for WPML. It’s by far the best-maintained and cleanest multilingual plugin you can get and it’s absolutely dirt cheap, considering what you get. And with their (very reasonable) pricing structure, what you’re really paying for is DEDICATED SUPPORT. That’s a pretty big deal in the open source world.

Also, you’re not looking for an open source replacement, you’re looking for a free replacement. WPML is GPL licensed, so it’s definitely open source.

Method 2

I’ve made many multilingual sites. Started with xLanguage (not maintained anymore) and quickly jumped to qTranslate. It works very well, but at each WordPress update there’s a bit of stress if the plugin will keep working and support requests pop up in WP and qT forums. I’ve never had any major issue, though.
Also, the author was absent from his forums for some time, but he recently posted that he’ll continue to work in the plugin.

I bought a WPML licence not long ago and the learning curve seemed steep, but had an issue with Multisite, felt unsupported in their forum and finally asked for a refund (which is very kind of their part, as this is not usual). End result, I keep working with qT.

Recently I came across this post that points to a brand new plugin: Multilingual Press. The post and one of the plugin’s author is Frank Büeltge, who, IMO, is one the WP wizards around.
The plugin is meant to use WordPress Multisite as a Multilingual platform. The description warns that “Currently in development, but you can test it“. So it may not be suited to a complex live site, but I will surely give it a try as soon as possible.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

Leave a Comment