Those Pesky Question Marks For Special Characters - Solved


Nov 1, 2013
cPanel Access Level
Root Administrator
For months now we've been blighted by an issue on our servers running cPanel, where special characters appear as question marks on websites. Or even worse, they display nothing and cut off the content.

I spoke to cPanel about this (in the form of a support ticket), our server supplier, and even some of our experienced in house developers, but no one could fix it/ It was pretty much a merry go round of one department blaming another department.

Well after months of searching, testing and experimenting, I believe I've finally found a solution - hence me registering for this forum, so if others come across this problem, it might fix their issues too. (my ears are bleeding from the amount of charset/encoding essays and tests I've run)

I actually found the solution here:
View topic - Character encoding issue | InMotion Hosting

In essence, the changes that need to be made are at account level - although I'm sure someone will advise if this can be done at server level where all accounts are fixed.

Two simple things:
To fix question marks on cPanel servers

Put this into .htaccess
suPHP_ConfigPath /home/[cpanel login name]/public_html

Put this into php.ini in the users root folder (include the pre-pended ; )
;default_charset = "utf-8"


Staff member
Apr 11, 2011
Hello :)

Thank you for sharing the solution that helped resolve your issue. Please note that this guide assumes a server is running suPHP as the PHP handler and that php.ini customizations within the accounts are not restricted.

Thank you.