One of my dear friends in Russia subscribes and reads my blog :) how cool is that?
Well, we also discovered that her comments that she posts in Russian (using Cyrillic characters) don’t get saved properly into the database, and are displayed as a bunch of question marks ‘??????’
As I suspected, the character encoding was not set right. Older version of WordPress had latin1-swedish collation as default (weirdly enough). Latest version had this corrected, and the default is utf8, and you can also specify it in settings in wp-config.php file (as described in this Codex article):
To fix this issue on existing installations, open your MySQL console (command line, MySQL Admin or PhpMyAdmin), backup your database (just in case), and follow these steps:
Starting from the top, the database level, let’s make sure that the database encoding is correct:
ALTER DATABASE my_wp_database CHARACTER SET utf8;
Table level: make sure your table collation is set correctly:
ALTER TABLE wp_comments CHARACTER SET utf8;
Column level: set collaction on individual columns within your table.
alter table wp_comments change comment_content comment_content LONGTEXT CHARACTER SET utf8;
alter table wp_comments change comment_author comment_author LONGTEXT CHARACTER SET utf8;
While this applies to all the new tables within this database, it does not change encoding of the existing tables. So that’s why, we’ll need to go a bit deeper to the table level.
Again – this change will be effective for all new columns within this table. For existing columns, we’ll need to go down one more level.
This will not change your existing data, but going forward, your comments will be saved and displayed with correct encoding.