Automatic locale/language management for URLs.

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1.1.1 2016-06-21 12:19 UTC

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Last update: 2023-05-24 09:28:25 UTC


Automatic locale/language management through URLs for Yii 2.


With this extension you can use URLs that contain a language code like:


You can also configure friendly names if you want:


The language code is automatically added whenever you create a URL, and read back when a URL is parsed. For best user experience the language is autodetected from the browser settings - but the user can still access other languages simply by calling a URL with another language code.

The last requested language is also persisted in the user session and in a cookie. So if the user tries to access your site without a language code in the URL, he'll get redirected to the language he had used on his last visit.

All the above (and more) is configurable of course.


Install the package through composer:

composer require dlds/yii2-localeurls

And then add this to your application configuration:

return [
    // ...

    'bootstrap' => ['localeUrls'],

    // ...

    'components' => [
        // ...

        'localeUrls' => [
            'class' => 'dlds\localeurls\LocaleUrls',

            // List all supported languages here
            'languages' => ['en_us', 'en', 'fr', 'de']

        // Override the urlManager component
        'urlManager' => [
            'class' => 'dlds\localeurls\UrlManager',

        // ...

Now you're ready to use the extension.

Note: You can still configure custom URL rules as usual. Just ignore any language parameter as it will get removed before parsing and added after creating a URL.

Note 2: The language code will be removed from the pathInfo.

Mode of operation and configuration

Creating URLs

All created URLs will contain the code of the current application language. So if the language was detected to be de and you use:

<?php $url = Url:to(['demo/action']) ?>
<?= Html::a('Click', ['demo/action']) ?>

you'll get URLs like


To create a link to switch the application to a different language, you can explicitely add the language URL parameter:

<?= $url = Url:to(['demo/action', 'language'=>'fr']) ?>
<?= Html::a('Click', ['demo/action', 'language'=>'fr']) ?>

This will give you a URL like


Note: The URLs may look different if you use custom URL rules. In this case the language parameter is always prepended/insterted to the final relative/absolute URL.

If for some reason you want to use a different name than language for that URL parameter you can configure it through the languageParam option of the urlManager component.

Default Language

The default language is configured via the language parameter of your application configuration.

By default the URLs for the default language won't contain any language code. For example:


If the site is accessed with URLs containing the default language code, the visitor gets redirected to the URLs without language code. For example if default language is fr:

/fr/            -> Redirect to /
/fr/some/page   -> Redirect to /some/page

If enableDefaultSuffix is changed to true it's vice versa. Each language including the default language now uses an explicit language code in the URL. URLs without language code are no longer accessible:

/               -> Redirect to /fr
/some/page      -> Redirect to /fr/some/page

Language Configuration

All languages including the default language must be configured in the languages parameter of the localeUrls component. You should list more specific language codes before the similar looking generic ones (i.e. 'en_us' before 'en'):

'languages' => ['en_us','en_uk','en','fr','de_at','de'],

You can also use friendlier names in URLs, which are configured like so:

'languages' => ['en','german'=>'de'],
<?= Url:to(['demo/action', 'language'=>'de']) ?>

This will give you a URL like



The last language a visitor has used will be stored in the user session and in a cookie. If the user visits your site again without a language code, he will get redirected to the stored language.

For example, if the user first visits:


then after some time comes back to one of the following URLs:

/some/page      -> Redirect to /de/some/page
/               -> Redirect to /de/

In the last case, dk will be stored as last language.

Persistence is enabled by default and can be disabled by setting enablePersistence to false in the localeUrls component.

You can modify other persistence settings with:

  • languageCookieDuration: How long in seconds to store the language information in a cookie. Set to false to disable the cookie.
  • languageCookieName: The name of the language cookie. Default is _language.
  • languageSessionKey: The name of the language session key. Default is _language.

Reset To Default Language

You'll notice, that there's one problem, if enableDefaultSuffix is false (which is the default) and the user has e.g. stored de as last language. How can we now access the site in the default language? Because if we try / we'd be redirected to /de/.

The answer is simple: To create a reset URL, you explicitely include the language code for the default language in the URL. For example if default language is fr:

<?= Url:to(['demo/action', 'language'=>'fr']) ?>
/fr/demo/action -> Redirect to /demo/action

In this case, fr will first be stored as last used language before the user is redirected.

Language Detection

If a user visits your site for the first time and there's no language stored in session or cookie (or persistence is turned off), then the language is detected from the visitor's browser settings. If one of the preferred languages matches your language, it will be used as application language (and also persisted if persistenc is enabled).

To disable this, you can set enableLanguageDetection to false. It's enabled by default.

Example Language Selection Widget

There's no widget for language selection included, because there are simply too many options for the markup and behavior of such a widget. But it's very easy to build. Here's the basic idea:

use Yii;
use yii\bootstrap\Dropdown;

class LanguageDropdown extends Dropdown
    private static $_labels;

    public function init()
        $route = '/'.Yii::$app->controller->route;
        $appLanguage = Yii::$app->language;
        $params = $_GET;

        array_unshift($params, $route);

        foreach (Yii::$app->localeUrls->languages as $language) {
            if ($language===$appLanguage) {
                continue;   // Exclude the current language
            $params['language'] = $language;
            $this->items[] = [
                'label' => self::label($language),
                'url' => $params,

    public static function label($code)
        if (self::$_labels===null) {
            self::$_labels = [
                'de' => Yii::t('language', 'German'),
                'fr' => Yii::t('language', 'French'),
                'en' => Yii::t('language', 'English'),

        return isset(self::$_labels[$code]) ? self::$_labels[$code] : null;