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How to change the default character set for a website

To change the default character set for all sites on a Apache web server, you will need to edit the Apache configuration file (/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf). Find the line that starts with "AddDefaultCharset" and change the character set to the one you wish to use.

For example, on a Fedora Core 1 VPS by default this line would read:

AddDefaultCharset UTF-8

If all your websites were in Spanish, you would most likely wish to change this to the Latin-1 character set (ISO-8859-1) like this:

AddDefaultCharset ISO-8859-1

You would then need to save the Apache configuration file and then restart the Apache web server. On a VPS hosting account, you can restart the Apache web server in the HSPC control panel at System tab > Server Management > Web Server. Click on the Restart button to restart Apache.

But what if only some of your sites are in Spanish? To change the default character set for a single site you will need to create a file named ".htaccess" in the root web directory for the site. In most cases, this location will be at /home/siteadminuser/ Substitute the actual site admin user for "siteadminuser". Substitute the actual sitename for "". In that .htaccess, place one line that reads:

AddDefaultCharset ISO-8859-1

If the .htaccess file already exists, you can add the above line to that configuration file.

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