Should we localize URLs for default language or not?

by Thịnh Phạm   Last Updated September 24, 2016 09:01 AM

I have a website running in English and Japanese and the default language is Japanese.

What are the advantages of one over the other solution:

  • Solution 1. When accessing, you will see only Japanese. When accessing, you will see only English.

  • Solution 2. When you access, it will redirect you to, where you will see only Japanese. English site is still

Answers 1

I think it’s better to include the language code for the default language, too. Quoting the pros from my answer on Stack Overflow:

  • If you decide to change the default language, you don’t have to change your URLs.
  • Consistency.
  • It allows you to redirect from / based on the visitor’s language preference.
  • It’s a signal that your site is available in multiple languages.
  • It’s easier for users that want to change the language from the URL.
  • It allows users of external search engines to search for pages in the default language only (; where would find pages in all languages).

On the root page you could either provide links to both sites (similar to what Wikipedia does), redirect according to the visitor’s language settings (or based on IP), or redirect to the default language.

August 24, 2016 18:14 PM

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