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Foreign language users

We are a US-based company with a significant presence in our field around the world. We want to start a section of our forum for speakers of another language, initially just one section but we also want to be ready if sufficient interest is generated to mirror our current forum structure in this other language and eventually in other languages as well.

Do we want or need separate XF installs for each language or can we have forums and sub forums on our current install?

Is there a list of supported languages?

Advice, war stories, etc., would be appreciated from others who've been down this road before.


@Brogan, thank you - that's a simple policy, easy to understand. I am not concerned about cost - if we need multiple installs, we'll create them.

But I am concerned about language and managing it - would love to hear from other international organizations who are using XF in multiple languages about their choices.



Well-known member
You will indeed need separate installations to be able to cater to different countries and languages, because a xenforo installation can handle only one main language. And therefore google will index a xenforo install as one language.

We tried to get subforums with different languages off the ground on vbulletin (which has the same approach to languages) but it didn't work as Google would only give us millions of English speaking users a month, but none for our forums in German or Dutch. So we stopped with adding more languages.

In terms of usability you would want to have separate 'new posts' functions because it annoys people to have to seek out content in their language between a sea of threads in other languages. Xenforo has no function for this on the same install.

There are other considerations which can be found in my suggestions here.

I think its best to have multiple installs so that you can keep languages separate. You can connect installs with a multisite addon if you need this. Mind that if the multisite addon breaks with an upgrade of xenforo or an addon then this will break all multiple installs. So only use this if you implement a very cautious upgrade policy.

Another approach is to use social groups. Nobita social groups has a language setting per group. This full featured addon is in constant development and there are always hotfixes coming out for it. You could test if this method is suitable for you.
I'd love to hear more about Nobita. What is it? I found a few things to read but a one-paragraph description would be nice, and in particular, it would be nice to know if it addresses what seem like the two biggest concerns: New Posts showing multiple languages, and Google results.



Well-known member
For Nobita Groups to have a language, you will need to install the corresponding language pack.

There may be another problem with having a lot of languages in a single installation. IIRC there are issues if you install a lot of language packs on the same install of xenforo. I know that having a few styles on a big board already causes long delay with upgrading or anything that requires deferred.php to run. IIRC having many language packs will cause the same performance issues.
I have 180 social groups relating to countries/languages. I wonder what would happen if I install that many language packs on an active big board? I suspect this would be unwise to do.

@Mike could you please comment on this?


XenForo developer
Staff member
Styles are pre-compiled per language, so you will have increased compilation time per language installed (roughly a linear increase in time).

The language cache (some amount of information and a small set of phrases for each language) is loaded on every page, so a large number of languages will also increase the size of that.
I asked on Nobita's resource page (?) about having many languages, and got a response that tells me his add-on might be less than ideal for this. That seems to be what's being said above in this thread as well, although things like language cache loading times are above my technical level in this.

So I'm back with my original question - is multiple installations the way to go, and is there then an add-on to somehow tie those multiple installations together in some ways?

I am, to be specific, looking to roll out a Hungarian forum immediately, but we have people in Czechia, in Slovakia, in Poland, in Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and the list goes on. I'd say I'm looking at needing most of the languages in Europe within the next year or two, and I would love to have a handful of languages rolled out within a couple of months. I want to roll them out one at a time, and I'd also consider some combination of Nobita's and separate installs if that's practical, e.g., I could see Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland all together, and managing it given the size of my user base in different countries, e.g., we have a lot of users in Italy but not many in Spain so I could combine those two.

I can't imagine I'm the first person to need to do this, but perhaps ...

Thanks in advance.



Well-known member
@rafass might be able to chime in here. I know he was (or still is) running multiple languages on a single installation without any special add-ons.
Yep, without addons I handle multiple language easily with just conditionals. and template modifications. works like a charm. thanks Snog for your help with that customizations.


Well-known member
Yep, without addons I handle multiple language easily with just conditionals. and template modifications. works like a charm. thanks Snog for your help with that customizations.
Yeah, I knew we talked about it a bit but I don't know what the final changes were. That's why I referred to you in my post. ;)