Transferring Websites Causes Formatting Issues

Issue | Reason | Resolution


When moving or editing websites that contain foreign language translations (often character-based languages including: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc.), you might see your entire page formatting thrown off or a random display of unidentified characters.


When editing websites that use special character encoding, such as UTF-8, you must ensure that your FTP client is set to transfer files in binary mode.


When editing or transferring foreign language websites, follow the steps below to ensure page formatting and character encoding is kept in tact. Keep in mind, even moving or backing up files directly on the server may cause these issues as well. All files must be secured and transferred in binary mode in order to transfer successfully.

When transferring/editing foreign language websites:

Step 1: Inside of your FTP client, set your transfer connection type to transfer your data in binary mode.

Step 2: After binary transfer is complete, when opening your file in your text editor, be sure to OPEN the file with UTF-8 encoding type.

  • Some website editors, do not have this option by default, when in doubt, you can use Notepad or an equivalent text editor for this option (File > Open; select "UTF-8" encoding type in drop-down box at bottom)
  • Edit/Update code or text you want to change
  • When saving your file, be sure to SAVE with UTF-8 encoding type as well. (File > Save As; select "UTF-8" encoding type in the drop-down box at bottom)
  • Upload files through your FTP client in binary mode

Note: If you are using Adobe/Macromedia Dreamweaver to edit your foreign language sites, be sure to include the proper <meta> tag encoding type and ensure your settings are correct for editing files with UTF-8 encoding types. In our experience, even with these settings, editing these file types can sometimes be problematic.

Note: If you have an English version of your website along side of your foreign language translations in the same root website folder, be sure NOT to transfer the English version in binary mode. Sometimes, transferring English sites that don't need the specialized encoding type and binary transfer often result in seeing extra unidentifiable characters displayed on the page.

TechNote Published By: INFINIT Consulting
*INFINIT TechNotes are provided solely for recommendation purposes and may not resolve each unique case. INFINIT Consulting will not be held liable for any issues arising from implementing the recommendations provided in this documentation.