WPML Review: WordPress Multilingual Plugin

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As the usage of WordPress continues to grow exponentially on a global level, so does the need for proper multilingual capabilities on WordPress websites. Luckily, WordPress can be a joy to use when creating multilingual content, chiefly due to the presence of a fantastic plugin, aptly named WPML (WordPress Multilingual).
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As the usage of WordPress continues to grow exponentially on a global level, so does the need for proper multilingual capabilities on WordPress websites.

Having your site’s content available in several languages makes business sense, after all. In a time when businesses are competing in a global market, you don’t want to leave any potential customers out in the cold just because you haven’t provided content in their native language.

Luckily, WordPress can be a joy to use when creating multilingual content, chiefly due to the presence of a fantastic plugin, aptly named WPML (WordPress Multilingual).

WPML Review: Here’s the 101

Before we delve deeper, let me just give you some points on why I am in love with this plugin:

  • WPML was the first plugin to offer a complete multi-language solution to WordPress users.
  • WPML was created by a translation company that knows how the translation process works.
  • WPML has a fantastic support team behind it, ready to help you out.
  • WPML releases regular updates and improvements, keeping it up-to-date with new WordPress releases.
  • WPML’s feature set is simply unparalleled by any other plugin out there and includes amazing automatic translation powered by DeepL, Google, or Microsoft.
  • WPML costs only $99 for the CMS version and $39 for the Blog version. If you run an agency, there’s a version for unlimited sites for $199.

I think you get the idea, this is one damn solid plugin. Let’s dig deeper and see what this plugin is all about.

WPML Review: Installation & Setup

WPML comes with a handy installer plugin. The installer allows you to register the plugin and install all the components you need.

Once you install and activate that one plugin, you’ll see all of WPML’s components. Start by installing the WPML Multilingual CMS plugin, which is the main one you need.

With the Multilingual CMS plugin installed, you’ll see a message to configure WPML. This starts an easy-to-use setup wizard that walks you through setting up WPML on your site.

Off we go then to start configuring. The first step is to choose the languages of your site. WPML comes with 65 pre-configured languages, or you can add your own custom languages or language variations.

Next is choosing how you want the languages to be set up in your URL. With WPML you get three options, and all of them are good. Personally, I prefer the ‘Language directories’ option as I find it the cleanest. These are the three options:

  • Language directories (like wpml.org/es/ for Spanish and wpml.org/de/ for German).
  • Different domains per language
  • A language parameter added to the URL

A common concern is which URL setup is best for SEO purposes. In reality, they are all good in terms of SEO. If you’re interested, read more about what URL strategy is best for SEO purposes.

The next step is to register your site, which you already did when you activated the OTGS Installer plugin. If you haven’t registered it yet, you can get your site key by clicking Get a key for this site. Easy, right?

Next, you get to decide how to translate your site. You can really choose any way you want, thanks to two amazing translation modes:

  • Translate Everything Automatically does just what it sounds like. It immediately translates all your site’s content using automatic translation. Additionally, If you update your content, WPML updates the translations instantly. Your translations are never out of date, and you never have to translate anything.
  • If you want more control over what gets translated, choose Translate What You Choose. With this mode, you pick which pages, posts, and other content gets translated from the Translation Management Dashboard. Not only do you still have access to WPML’s amazing automatic translation, you can also add your own translations, add other translators to your site, or connect with a professional translation service.

In the final step of the setup wizard, WPML suggests add-on plugins based on the plugins you already have installed on your site. Altogether, these additional WPML components make it possible to translate content from those plugins.

That’s it, setup is complete. I didn’t need to read any guides up till here, it was all very straightforward and intuitive.

Wondering about a language switcher? WPML puts a language switcher in your site’s footer by default, but there are plenty of other ways to add one to your site, too.

WPML Review: How to Use WPML

You have five options for translating the contents of your website:

1. Translate content automatically

WPML’s automatic translation is powered by your choice of DeepL (the default), Google Translate, and Microsoft Azure. You can also choose to review the translations.

2. Translate using the Advanced Translation Editor

You can translate content yourself using the Advanced Translation Editor – a handy side-by-side translation editor with advanced features like spellcheck, HTML-free formatting, and a glossary.

3. Send content to translators from the Translation Management Dashboard

Add translators to your site and you can easily send them content to translate from the Translation Management Dashboard. They can also easily review automatic translations.

4. Connect with professional translation services

WPML partners with dozens of professional translation services that provide top-notch quality translations. You can send content directly to them from the Translation Management Dashboard, and they can upload the translations directly to your site.

5. Manually creating posts and pages in other languages

If you want to have different content in your secondary languages – not just a direct translation – or, if you have the Multilingual Blog account type, you can create new posts or pages that are linked to the original as translations.

Having such features makes WPML ideal for the smallest website to the biggest WordPress-based news or magazine websites.

Most people will probably want to try automatic translation since it’s the quickest and easiest way to translate your whole site – especially if you don’t speak any other languages.

Of course, you can use automatic translation by choosing the Translate Everything Automatically mode during the setup. As soon as the setup is complete, WPML gets to work translating your site.

If you want to Translate What You Choose, simply pick the pages and posts you want to translate, the languages you want to translate them into and choose Translate automatically.

Automatic translation isn’t free – it costs credits to use it – but when you purchase WPML, you get a big package of free credits to try it out. Plus, if you sign up for the pay-as-you-go option, you get your first 2,000 credits for free each month.

WPML Review: Reliability & Support

WPML is super stable and won’t cause any problems to your site’s performance or SEO optimization. This is a plugin that has been performing consistently well for a number of years, so you can rest assured that you are building on solid ground.

A website’s content is its most valuable and important component, so you need to be sure that whichever multilingual plugin you choose will work well not only now but also a few years down the line. That’s why a proper team backed by a successful company is so important for a multilingual plugin. In the case of WPML, it is backed by OnTheGoSystems, which is the company that is the creator of the Toolset suite of plugins.

If anything does go wrong, WPML has a world-class support team ready to help 6 days a week. You won’t have any problem getting answers to your questions, as WPML support is fully staffed and there’s always someone ready to supply help when you need it. Few other plugin developers can count on a support department as efficient as that of WPML.

True to their multilingual roots, WPML provides support not only in English, but also in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Italian, Hebrew, and Arabic.

WPML Review: Pricing

As mentioned earlier, WPML comes in three flavors, the Multilingual Agency, Multilingual CMS, and the Multilingual Blog version.

If you have a blog and want to translate it yourself, the Multilingual Blog version will give you the most important component and will let you provide multilingual content to your users using manual translation.

On the other hand, for any other website, I highly recommend purchasing the Multilingual CMS account as you get full features with no compromises. At that price, it’s a real steal for the functionality that you’re getting.

It allows you to translate every aspect of your site, right from within the WordPress admin panel. Your clients will be able to use WPML’s advanced translation management capabilities, which include translator roles, job queues, and email notifications. You can use automatic translation, translate content from page builders, and can translate WooCommerce stores. Did I mention there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee?

WPML Euro Pricing

WPML Review: Showcase

The proof is in the pudding as they say, so be sure to check out a few WordPress sites that have implemented multilingual functionality using WPML. Browse around and see how easy it is to switch languages for a user.


WPML is hands-down the best multilingual plugin I’ve used. It takes the potential complexities of translation out of the equation and leaves us with a pleasant way of adding more than one language to a website or blog.

I hope this review helps you in deciding whether WPML is for you or not. If you have any questions please go ahead and ask away in the comments section, I’ll update the review periodically if I need to add more information that is requested by WP Mayor readers.

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Jean Galea

Jean Galea is an investor, entrepreneur, and blogger. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and Spotlight, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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25 Responses

  1. To be fair, we are in 2022

    WPML is the worst plugin ever build for WordPress. If you want performance, use Polylang.

    I have been created over 500 websites, and worked beside that on multiple other websites. And it’s the same over and over again. If there is WPML activated on the page, I spend time on my own to migrate to Polylang.

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Michael. We’ve actually started comparing translation plugins here:


      What about WPML makes you call it the “worst plugin ever” though? Your actual experience could help more readers understand the concerns you’ve had with it.

  2. This is by far the WORST translation plugin to exist. For a very long time it was the only one with many options. Not anymore.

    It is FULL OF BUGS. There are issues with every site being built. tickets have to be opened all the time to get simple things to work.

    I have never set up a full website with WPML without having to open a ticket. Not once. And support? By far the worst out there. I’m really hoping that with their new pricing structure, some money will be put into the quality of code and support.

    After at least 3 years of giving them a chance, it is time to move on for me.

  3. Hi Jean,

    I am a staunch defender of WordPress almost since its inception and I think WPML was wonderful when it was a free plugin ;))

    Over time, it seems that wordpress has put aside the option of creating web pages with different languages with no additional cost (free)

    Do you know if someday it will be implemented in the source code of WordPress the ‘translation process’ to various languages as already makes in others CMS?

    Thanks in advance.

    Greetings from Barcelona!!

    1. Hi, I have asked this question several times to the lead developers of WordPress, and every time the answer has been that it is unlikely that it will be included in the foreseeable future. The reason is that they have a policy of only putting in core those features that will be used by 80% or more of the user base. While multilingual functionality is used by thousands of people it is nowhere near that 80% figure.

  4. WPML does not modify URLs in the site, except (of course) adding language information to them. Depending on how you configured WPML, you can arrange languages in domains, directories or with a language argument. Besides adding language information, URLs in your site should not change.

    Before we release any version of WPML, we do a complete functional test, as well as performance measurements. WPML allows to translate everything in the site. This means, also translating texts that come from other plugins and from the theme. Therefor, performance also depends on the other plugins active in your site and your theme.

    WordPress updates normally require updates to the plugins and theme in your site. Before you update WordPress, you should check that all plugins are compatible with new versions. If you are running an older version of WPML, you may see errors when updating to a newer WordPress version. The reason is, at the time that version of WPML was released, the new features in WordPress did not exist yet. WPML is always compatible with the newest versions of WordPress, ahead of their release.

    If you want me to look at specific support threads, please paste their links here.

  5. I have been using the WPML plugin for some time… what was to follow was a nightmare… we ran the plugin for a 2nd language for quite some time… and then figured that the plugin was quite a resource hog – as measured by: P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). We saw that 70% of the resources consumed on our website were by this Plugin. And that by removing WPML we could speed up response time of our website by up to 50%.

    So we decided to uninstall the plugin and run the 2nd language manually. What was to follow was and still is an ongoing nightmare.

    WPML the plugin from hell, will modify the database irreversibly. So that after uninstalling the plugin the database is compromised.

    The result is that permalinks on the website are wrong. We had countless conversations with WPML support and they could not provide a solution. So we have now programmer working on this manually changing links in the site… back to what they are supposed to be.

    All hell broke loose when we upgraded from WP version 4.3 to 4.4 – that is when the links in the site got screwed up.

    And we have to pay dearly for this reparation of the site. Our programmer is still working on getting rid of the damage that WPML did to our website.

    So be very careful betting your site on the WPML plugin. For us it turned out to be a huge mistake.
    And we had to learn that their support sucks greatly.

  6. Hi Jean! Just noticed your last comment here, I actually do know a better plugin for multilingual WordPress sites 🙂

    Bablic.com is a startup I’m a part of, and we recently launched our WordPress plugin. The beauty of Bablic, compared to WPML, is that you don’t have to create additional pages, menus and so on!

    You just enter your WordPress URL on our homepage at Bablic.com – choose from machine or human translation to start. You can then, right from our user-friendly editor, right-click on any element on your site to manually edit it. That includes text, images and even CSS.

    It really is a unique solution.

    Try it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂


  7. This seems to me that this article has been sponsered by wpml!
    If its supposed to be review then one should write both good and negative things about the Product!!
    WPML is not for those who has no knowledge of PHP. Atleast one should be familiar with the language inorder to solve many minor errors which comes with this plugins.The more you use WPML the more error or bugs you see down the line..
    I’ve been told to reinstall old version of wpml inorder to solve a bug. All the translation has been done. And when you think and feel everything is going fine a bug caused by WPML Plugins appears and your day is gone solving this problem.

    If you have time and nerve to use multilanguage site( specially WebShop) with this plugins then go ahead.But mind you, if you want to have a professional look for your site then stay away from this plugin because sooner or later out of nothing you will see error coming. the latest error which i got and which seems to be very common is as follows:-
    Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 805306368 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 32 bytes) in /test/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/lib/xml2array.php on line 15

    1. As I said earlier this is not a sponsored article. Do you know of a better product for multilingual websites? If so I’d love to know about it. Till then WPML remains the king of multilingual plugins.

      With regards to errors, I doubt WPML would be so successful as it is today if it had so many errors, keep in mind that it’s in use by many thousands of websites (if not millions). I would suggest you sort this out with their helpful support team, it might very well be a server config issue.

  8. Please state that this is a sponsored and paid review. Essentially an advert. If only WPML was as good as you state. Please see the thousands of support posts – most never resolved (but quietly buried).

    it’s a shame as many parts of it are great and it is the best WP plugin. It just seems that the testing phases simply aren’t adequate as on almost every new release they introduce site breaking bugs or even worse re-introduce existing bugs that were previously fixed. And they have publicly admitted this.

    I beg any decent software house at their to take up the challenge and build a better solution. Until then we’re stuck with WPML….

    1. This is not a sponsored and paid review. I still believe that WPML is the best multilingual plugin for WordPress. It might not be perfect, however it is still the best option available. I must also add that I know the guys behind the plugin are always looking for feedback and are ready to make improvements to their plugin, so if you have specific things you want improved just list them here and I’ll have someone from WPML take a look and respond to you.

  9. Thanks for a really detailed review and instructions.
    Can I check that if I already have the content translated that it can be added easily?
    Would this be by using CAT or is this not necessary?
    Thanks again 🙂

    1. Hi Julie, can you explain in more detail what your question is, I’m afraid I didn’t quite understand it.

      1. Sorry not explaining myself very well!
        The content has already been translated by my client and I would like to add it straight into WordPress rather than have WPML translate it and wasn’t sure if this would be added as a new page in the usual way or if it had to be added to WPML somewhere?

        1. No problem Julie, WPML doesn’t translate content for you, it’s just an interface that makes WordPress multilingual, which means that with WPML you can enter your content in more than one language.

  10. I agree with William – great product, but support is bad. I’m using it as standard with U Design theme which they claim on the site is fully compatible. It appears it is not. Support spent two days asking me questions which made me doubt their levels of competence. Then I got passed to the development team. I’ve been with their “compatibility” team for the last 48 hours and not a word from them apart from “thank you for your patience”. I’m now 4 days down the line with no answers and a weekend coming up.

    By the way the support for U Design theme was amazing – plenty of intelligent suggestions within hours (which is quicker than I would expect) but unfortunately didn’t solve the issue. They went well beyond which is completely at odds with the WPML folks.

    1. This seems like an exception Tim, you are definitely right in expecting to wait less for an answer, but in general WPML have great support and are one of the longest established companies in the WordPress scene, even offering support in multiple languages.

  11. One of the best introductions to a plug in that handles complicated tasks. Certainly takes some of the fear out of the process for me.

    However, I do worry about some things. My site uses a lot of plug ins, two of them essential, and both complex: All-in-One Calendar and Business-Directory. How do I check compatibility? Also I am using a brand new theme, Ant Magazine 1.1, released about 3 months ago. How do I check compatibility in advance of purchase of WPML?

    Also my blog/website is heavy on multi-media, using lots of embedded video and audio. Might that pose a problem for the translated page?


  12. Great Advert for WPML!!! The software is fairly good but has a few gaps for sure. Support is very very average. Don’t expect questions answered quickly – the average seems to be quick on initial questions then anything from 12-72 hours for followups.

    1. Thanks for stopping by William, would love to have your views on the ‘few gaps’ you mention. As for support, I think up to 48 hours is quite standard in the industry. More than that would indeed be something to take note of. My own experience with WPML support is good though, it probably depends on the complexity of the questions asked as well.

  13. Congratulations, very nice article! You wrote as our support member, great points and valuable information.

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