I have created a multilingual website. Currently, the website recognizes the language that is set in the browser and then redirects to the appropriate page (subdomain). Now I read in some articles that the user, when he clicks on a link, would like to have the exact page that they click and do not want to be patronized. Since the same also applies to the Mobile detection.

So, what is the best way for the user?

  • Automatic forwarding?
  • Demands with pop up?
  • Links to the languages​​?

I.e. if you have English settings you will be redirected to the English version: Football (german url)

Thank you for good advice


+1 For the helpful reply. I will install an indication including link to favorite language as proposed

  • Is there always a 1:1 link between one language version and the other? If not, where would the auto-forward take the user if there isn't an appropriate target page?
    – JonW
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:03
  • For german language i use a .de domain. For other languages i use subdomain.mydomain.com i.e. en.live-skseo.com for english settings. If i haven´t setup a language, it always goes to german version
    – Sebastian
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:09
  • Sorry, I meant is there always a matching page on each language - so if someone sends me a link to a specific English page deep in the site but my browser is in German would the autoforward take me to the German version of that same page? Basically, is there always a German version of every English page (and vice versa)? And if not, where would you get forwarded to if there isn't a matching page in that other language?
    – JonW
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:29
  • 1
    Yes, u have always a simliar link in english or german. After SERVER_NAME/ the link is the same. U can send a english link frome the tables to a german guy and he´ll be redirected to the german version of the tables.
    – Sebastian
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:34

2 Answers 2


If every language version of your site has an own direct-URL: Don't force a redirect.

Here's why: You should mind that in most cases the user will have found the link to your site in a context he's familiar with. Therefore, it's likely that he'll be able to speak the language behind the link he has clicked, even if his browser language isn't the same.

A good way, instead of a redirect the user isn't in control of, is to give him the option to switch the language in a prominent way. You can use a top bar to do that, for example:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • 2
    Your version is probably just an example so you probably already intend this, but I would suggest that the 'this page is available in German' text as well as the button text should be written in German.
    – JonW
    Jan 17, 2014 at 10:23

Whatever you do, it should be very clear to the user. So you can either display the default version and ask the user whether they'd like to go to the browser-language version, similar to what google translate does:

enter image description here

Or you can redirect to the language-specific version and make sure the user is aware of this, like CNN does (although it asks a different question here, the principle is the same):

enter image description here

I think that the latter is the safer option because you're displaying the site in a language that the user definitely knows and you offer them an option to switch to English if they prefer.

  • I agree with you. But i saw something like that: "Avoid automatic redirection based on the user’s perceived language. These redirections could prevent users (and search engines) from viewing all the versions of your site." at support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en#1
    – Sebastian
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:26
  • Yes, that's why you should provide a way back. It can be an opt-in approach, like in the Google translate example, or an opt-out approach like in the CNN example. But both options should be available in any case. Jan 17, 2014 at 9:55

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