PS (21 April 2010) If all you need to do is make your Hebrew and Greek Unicode look nice please see Phil’s excellent guide at How to Use Greek and Hebrew in Blog Posts (nb. as the post goes on it gets more and more geeky, but the beginning should not be beyond most bloggers).
I am writing this post to help others who have problems with using “International” (Unicode) characters on a WordPress blog installed using their host’s cPanel. Maybe I can save you the hours of searching on the Internetz for the answer :)
The problem I had was that though Unicode (Hebrew etc.) would display and edit fine when I slicked “Publish” it all turned to ??? ?????? ???? which was no use at all.
Some Googling and a few hints from kind friends finally suggested that the problem was the charactersets that the MySQL database (that runs WordPress behind the scenes) was set to use.
You can check if this is the issue by going to phpMyAdmin (in cPanel) click on the appropriate database. On the next screen is a table which includes to the right a collumn “Collation”. The likely problem will be some “tables” have “latin1_swedish_ci” which is (apparently) brilliant for English and other European languages, but no good for other parts of the world, instead of the nice genuinely International “utf8_general_ci”.
The real bummer is that you cannot simply change this here, that would offend the database fairies, so you need to export your blog (in WordPress admin go to Tools and choose “export”).
1. Enter your cPanel and click on the phpMyAdmin icon in the Databases box.
2. Select the database you wish to manage from the drop-down menu on the left
3. Click on the Operations tab in the top menu of your phpMyAdmin
4. At the bottom of the page you will see the collation option. You can now select a collation from the drop down menu and click on the Go button.
Now using FTP backup your blog directory (you may want things like the pictures you uploaded, or your theme with any tweaks you made…) and then change its name on your server. Now you can install a new blog with the old name and in the old directory, it will work fine with Unicode characters :)
Just in WP-Admin “Import” the blog you exported, and then copy by FTP the wp-content/uploads directory into the new blog (that gives your pictures etc.) and also the theme you were using into the themes directory (to restore the look and feel. All that’s left is to delete the default “Hello World” post. If you are like me you already have one of those from the original install ;)
Then change the directory name.