How to set locale in Ubuntu linux

Too often we can see that locale is not properly set in Linux server. After failed attempts to change environment variables and (re)configure locale using dpkg-reconfigure, not much is left, but to update environment files manually.  Why is correct locate important? Today there is simply too many if not all programs that are dependent on correct locale. Suddenly, after trying to run one of them, you get error that does not give too much sense. Then you start digging and realize that everything points to general system, and finally to locale. So let’s take a look how to configure locale so that your system works the way you expect it to.

We can start with “after the book” example of setting locale using the following:

# export LANGUAGE=en_GB.UTF-8
# export LANG=en_GB.UTF-8
# export LC_ALL=en_GB.UTF-8
locale-gen en_GB.UTF-8
dpkg-reconfigure locales

After the reboot, check your locale issuing the following command:


If you see the 3 aforementioned variables empty and everything else set to POSIX, then you need to manually update your locale configuration. You will need to edit 2 files /etc/default/locale and /etc/environment. Both files should contain the same 3 lines, as follows:


After saving files, reboot your server, and run locale command again. Now you should see all of your locale variables set to en_GB.UTF-8.

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