What is the default character set for documents?

Hi All

Where can I see the default character set for documents for all virtual sites?
I know I can change the actually character set within the
Virtualmin -> Select Virtual site -> Services -> Configure Website -> Languages

I had to change some of our sites to iso-8859-1 to show the special characters used in Denmark.
But what is the default and where do I change that?

Looking forward to hear from you.

Best Regards
Tim Nielsen


What distribution are you using?

How to set that depends on your distribution… on Debian and Ubuntu, there is a file named “charset” located in /etc/apache2/conf.d/charset where you can specify a default character set with “AddDefaultCharset”.

You can read the specifics of how “AddDefaultCharset” works here:


Hi Andrey

We are running CentOS Linux 5.6, Webmin version 1.550 and Virtualmin version 3.86 Pro.
Isn’t it possible to manipulate the character set within the creation of a new virtual site?

  • Tim Nielsen

Hi Eric

I can’t find the “charset” file as described above.
I need to change this accordingly to iso-8859-1 so that we can use the correct character set on our server.

I just tried to manually change it for a newly virtual site on our setup, without luck.
When doing that in Virtualmin -> Services -> Configure Website -> Language
the server begins to use 100% CPU and the memory just get eaten up.
Every site on the server crashes and I have to reset the server to get it up and running again.

The funny thing is that when I go into the “language” menu it is normally represented by telling me what site I am currently working on.
Such as :

For domain.tld:80

But instead it only displayed the following

For :80

I have now tried to delete the virtual site and create it again and now I see the domain.tld in the header / title?
It now seems to work as predicted, so that I can change the character set for the specific?

But I would like to change the default character set to avoid doing this every time.

Looking forward to hear from you.



On CentOS, I think the default characterset may be set in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf.

Edit that file, and look for a line that looks something like this:

AddDefaultCharset UTF-8</code?

You can change that to be “iso-8859-1” you were looking for.

You can also set that in a specific domain’s VirtualHost block, or even in a .htaccess file, if you’re only looking to change the default in a few places.