Setting default languages for users and visitors

You can configure which language version the system displays to users when they arrive on the website.

Configuration for registered users

The website culture displayed to registered website users depends on each user’s Preferred content culture setting.

Users can change this setting for their account:

  • in the administration interface, on the Details tab of the My profile application
  • on the live site via the My account web part

Website administrators can adjust the setting for users in the Users application (when editing users on the General tab).

Depending on this configuration, users either see the content in their preferred culture (if available), or in the website’s default content culture (if set to (default) or if the preferred culture is not available).

Note: The act of logging in does not change the currently selected culture, so the setting only has an effect if users are already logged in when they first reach the website (e.g. when using Windows authentication).

Configuration for anonymous visitors

You can also configure the default content culture that the website displays to anonymous visitors. This can be done separately for the main website domain and for individual domain aliases:

  • Sites -> edit a site -> General -> Visitor culture - used for visitors accessing the website through a URL containing the main domain name.
  • Sites -> edit a site -> Domain Aliases -> edit an alias -> Visitor culture - used for visitors accessing the website through a URL that contains the domain alias.

The values can either be set to one of the cultures available for the website, or to (Automatic), in which case the user’s browser settings are used (for example, in Internet Explorer, you can set the default language in Tools -> Internet options -> General -> Languages).

Setting the default language for specific domains

Using the Visitor culture settings of the site and its domain aliases (described in the section above), you can configure the system to use a different default language based on the current domain. For example, if you use the following domains:

  • (main domain)
  • (domain alias)
  • (domain alias)

You can set English, German and French as the default cultures for the domain and domain aliases (respectively). Now, when a visitor arrives at, the website automatically displays its French content.

Refer to Configuring URLs for multilingual websites for additional information about cultures, domains and URLs.