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Configure internationalization (i18n) rewrites

Use internationalization rewrites ("i18n rewrites") to serve different content depending on a user's country or preferred language. Here are some example configurations that you could set up:

  • Serve the same French content to all users who prefer French (regardless of country).
    Example: a homepage with French text

  • Serve Standard French content to users who prefer French, but for Canadian users who prefer French, serve Canadian French content instead.
    Example: a homepage with Standard French phrasing versus a homepage with Canadian French phrasing

  • Serve the same content to all Canadian users (regardless of their language preference).
    Example: a homepage with your site's "default" language but with a Canada-specific feature (like a holiday theme)

  • Serve Canadian French content to Canadian users who prefer French.
    Example: a homepage with Canadian French phrasing and a Canada-specific feature (like a holiday theme)

Firebase Hosting determines a user's country from their IP address and a user's language preferences from the Accept-Language request header (usually set automatically by their web browser).

Set up i18n rewrites

To set up i18n rewrites for your Hosting site, you need to create an "i18n content" directory for all your localized content, then add the i18n attribute to your firebase.json file to point to your new "i18n content" directory.

Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Within your local app directory's public folder, make a separate directory for your "i18n content", then create subfolders for each language and country combination supported by your site.

    In each subfolder, add the content specific for that combination, like holiday-themed homepages or language-specific 404 pages.

    Here's an example "i18n content" directory called localized-files:

    public/
        index.html  // your site's default homepage
        404.html  // your site's custom 404 page
    
        localized-files/
            ALL_ca/
                index.html
            es_ALL/
                index.html
                404.html
            fr/
                index.html
                404.html
            fr_ca/
                index.html
    

    The localized-files/ directory contains separate subfolders for each language and country combination supported by your site. The naming pattern for each subfolder must follow either of these formats:

    • languageCode_countryCode: Contains content specific for users who have that language preference and that country code

    • languageCode: Contains content specific for users who have that language preference, but the content isn't country-specific; basically equivalent to languageCode_ALL

    Refer to the subsection Country and language codes below for more details about these codes. You can use the value of ALL (case-sensitive) to indicate any country (like es_ALL/) or any language (like ALL_ca/).

    The files in a subfolder don't need to have analogous files in the public directory or other subfolders. You can create content that is entirely specific to a language and/or country.

  2. Add the i18n attribute to your firebase.json file and specify the directory that contains your "i18n content". Continuing our example:

    // firebase.json
    
    "hosting": {
    
      "public": "public",
    
      "ignore": [
        "firebase.json",
        "**/.*",
        "**/node_modules/**"
      ],
    
      "i18n": {
        "root": "/localized-files"  // directory that contains your "i18n content"
      }
    
      ...
    }
    

    The directory specified for root must be the name of the directory that contains all your "i18n content" subfolders. If you placed all your "i18n content" subfolders at the root of your public directory, use / for the value of root. Leading and trailing slashes in the root value are optional.

  3. Deploy your "i18n content" and config to your Hosting site.

You can test your setup using cookie overrides.

Country and language codes

When naming "i18n content" subfolders, you must use lowercase for both country and language codes. You can use the value of ALL (case-sensitive) to indicate any country (like es_ALL/) or any language (like ALL_ca/).

Hosting obtains the country code from the user's IP address. Country codes are two-letter ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes.

The language codes are obtained from the user's Accept-Language request header (usually set automatically by their web browser). They are ISO 639-1 codes. Keep the following in mind when using language codes:

  • When Hosting searches for which "i18n content" to serve, it orders the languages based on the quality values in the Accept-Language header.

  • Hosting drops any regional and country subtags in the Accept-Language header, so the language code in a "i18n content" subfolder name cannot contain these subtags. For example, you can't use es-419 or es-US as a language code in a subfolder name, but you can use es.

    If you want to serve specific regional or country content, you can create subfolders that contain the specific language-country content you want to support.

Priority order for "i18n content"

If you set up i18n rewrites, Hosting serves content based on the following priority order:

  1. Reserved namespaces that begin with a /__/* path segment

  2. Configured redirects

  3. Exact-match static content

    1. Language code + Country code (for example, content from fr_ca/)
      The order follows the quality values for each language in the request's Accept-Language header.

    2. Country code only (for example, content from ALL_ca/)

    3. Language code only (for example, content from fr/ or es_ALL/)
      The order follows the quality values for each language in the request's Accept-Language header.

    4. "Default" exact-match static content
      This is content that's outside the "i18n content" directory, like at the root of the public directory.

  4. Configured rewrites

  5. 404 handling

    1. i18n 404 pages
      This follows the same priority order listed above for exact-match static content.

    2. Custom 404 page

    3. Default 404 page (provided by Firebase)

Example for priority order

Let's continue our example from above. We'll use the same example directory and an example request.

  • Example local project directory with an "i18n content" directory (called localized-files)

    public/
        index.html  // your site's default homepage
        404.html  // your site's custom 404 page
    
        localized-files/
            ALL_ca/
                index.html
            es_ALL/
                index.html
                404.html
            fr/
                index.html
                404.html
            fr_ca/
                index.html
    
  • Example request information

    • Language codes: fr, en (French, then English)
      The language codes are ordered based on quality values in the Accept-Language header.

    • Country code: ca (Canada)

According to the exact-match priority order and the quality values for the language preferences, Hosting will search the directories for a requested page in the following order.

  1. public/localized-files/fr_ca/

  2. public/localized-files/en_ca/

  3. public/localized-files/ALL_ca/

  4. public/localized-files/fr_ALL/

  5. public/localized-files/fr/

  6. public/localized-files/en_ALL/

  7. public/localized-files/en/

  8. public/

  9. 404 handling

Which page will be served to the user?

  • Requested page: index.html

  • Requested page: awesome-page.html

Note the following about this search-and-serve of the "i18n content" directory:

  • The localized-files/ directory doesn't actually contain en_ca/, en_ALL/, or en/ subfolders, so Hosting will just skip down the priority list until it finds a matching subfolder for the request's language-country combination.

  • Even though the localized-files/ directory contains an es_ALL/ subfolder, the example request above doesn't include an es or es-foo language code, so Hosting will not search for "i18n content" that matches es.

  • Subfolders called fr/ and fr_ALL/ are equivalent from the perspective of a user's country and language preferences. However, if both subfolders exist, Hosting will serve fr_ALL/ content before fr/ content.

You can change what content is served by using cookies to override the country and language headers.

Here are some ways you can use cookie overrides:

  • Test a feature with different language/country combinations to check which content is served.

  • Enable your users to change the content that they see. For example, you can implement a language picker, then set the user's firebase-language-override cookie accordingly.

To configure cookie overrides, set cookies with both or either of these names: firebase-country-override and firebase-language-override. For example, the following JavaScript code snippet overrides the country code to be ca and the Accept-Language header to be fr,en:

document.cookie = "firebase-country-override=ca";
document.cookie = "firebase-language-override=fr,en";

Language cookie overrides must be a comma-separated list of language codes in order of preference, without subtags or quality values.

Cookie overrides are not reflected in logs.