How to Fix Permalinks in WordPress

Permalinks are links from certain blog posts or web pages. These links make it easier for visitors to access web pages at any time. 

The role of permalinks for websites is very important, so they must be used properly. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for your WordPress website to be inaccessible, with a 404 error message. It happened because the WordPress permalink was broken. If so, how to solve it? 

Relax, this article will discuss it in full. However, before fixing it and setting WordPress permalinks correctly, first know what permalinks are, the function of permalinks and the causes of broken permalinks.

Come on, see more!

What are Permalinks?

Permalink is an abbreviation for permanent links. Permalink is the entire URL that is used as the identity of a particular website page. 

As the name implies, permalinks are fixed and each website page has a different permalink. To make it clearer, consider the following permalink example:

Permalink is a full URL that is a combination of a domain name ( xanderblog.com ) and a slug ( how-to-fix-permalink-wordpress ). The slug itself is part of the permalink that refers to specific content.

Permalinks have various structures. Some use additional dates, months, numbers, post names or custom structures. 

On the WordPress website, all of this can be found on the Permalink Settings page on the Dashboard. You can set WordPress permalinks as needed on the page.

permalink settings page

With permalinks, visitors will find it easier to remember or access certain web pages. 

Not only that, good permalinks will also make it easier for search engines to find content pages that are relevant to the keywords that users typed. 

Therefore, using SEO-friendly WordPress permalinks is important to increase the ranking of website content in search engines.

Then, how to make good permalinks?

  • Short and Clear – Make permalinks short and clear to make it easier for website visitors to remember. It is recommended to use a maximum of 5 syllables and a maximum number of 59 characters.
  • Descriptive – A permalink must be able to describe the overall content of the content.
  • Enter Keywords – Placing keywords in the permalink is highly recommended to improve SEO.
  • Use only important words – Don’t use conjunctions that don’t have a special meaning like with, and, to, which, on .
  • Avoid using year numbers – Using year numbers will only limit the chances of your content appearing in the top rankings.
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After knowing what permalinks are and how to create good permalinks, you should also know what permalinks do. Come on, see the article further!

What is the Function of Permalink?

Permalinks have an important role for websites, the functions of permalinks are:

1. Easy Access to Website Pages

The main function of the permalink is to make it easier for visitors to access a page on the website. With permalinks, visitors can directly access the intended page without having to open the main website page.

2. Assist the Google Index Process

Google Indexing is the process of adding and saving web pages to their database. That way, the website can appear on the search page when a user needs it. The use of good permalinks can facilitate this Google index process. 

3. Improve SERP Rank

SERP ( Search Engine Result Page ) is a search result page that is displayed by Google based on the keywords that users are looking for. The higher the ranking of a website in the SERP, the more likely your website is visited.

One of the efforts to increase SERP ranking is placing keywords in the permalink. So, website content is easier to find if the keywords are used to match the content of your content. Examples are as follows:

4. Can be accessed anytime

Permalinks are permanent or do not change. So, the website can be accessed at any time with the same link.

For example, if there are visitors who want to access a website page repeatedly, they can access the permalink. Thus, it is faster to find the desired web page.

It turns out, there are many permalink functions, right? 

However, this function cannot run if the permalink is damaged or has an error. Then, what are the causes of broken permalinks?

What Causes Permalink Damage?

Some of the causes of permalink damage are as follows:

1. Imperfect Updates

The WordPress update step is important to ensure optimal website security and performance. Unfortunately, if the update is not perfect or not compatible, it can actually cause WordPress permalinks to be damaged.

Therefore, before updating a plugin or template, make sure the version is compatible with your WordPress. In addition, make sure the connection is good enough when the update process is running.

To be more secure, do not immediately update. You can take advantage of WordPress staging first. With staging, you can minimize the occurrence of errors on the main website because the change process uses a duplicate website.

2. Changes to the .htaccess Script

The .htaccess file is a special configuration file used on the Apache Web Server. The file contains scripts related to access rights and accessibility of a website.

Apart from that, this file is also used to set WordPress permalinks. If you add or change the code in the .htaccess file, it could be the cause of the broken website permalink.

3. Plugin Installation

Installing a new plugin can also cause damage to post URLs and website pages. The reason is that the plugin may change the script file .htaccess to carry out its functions. Unfortunately, it may happen without your knowledge so the permalink function does not work properly.

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4. Migration or Restore Website

Migrating a website to a new domain or server can also be one of the causes of permalink damage. Of course, if the migration process is not well prepared in terms of settings. As a result, the permalink could be broken.

Whatever the cause, permalink damage is a very annoying thing and must be addressed immediately. Now, let’s see how to fix permalinks in WordPress!

How to Fix Permalinks in WordPress?

If the WordPress permalink is damaged, an error will appear when the website is accessed. To fix this, you can try the following five ways:

The first way to set WordPress to fix WordPress permalinks is to reset the structure. Here are the steps:

1. Please login to the WordPress admin dashboard page.

2. Go to the Settings menu > Permalinks to set WordPress permalinks.

3. Change the Common Settings option that originally used the default settings to other options. For example, if you previously used Numeric, then change the WordPress permalink setting to Post name. Then, click Save Changes.

reset permalink structure

4. Change Common Settings back to default settings after that. For example, return Common Settings to Numeric. Click Save Changes and you will see a notification message that the permalink structure has been updated successfully:

successfully reset permalink structure

5. Reopen the website URL that was previously inaccessible.

If the URL is accessible, it means that you have successfully fixed the WordPress permalinks. If the error still appears, you can try the next method to set WordPress permalinks.

2. Disable Plugins

Permalink damage can also be caused by problems between plugins. The solution, try deactivating the plugins installed in WordPress one by one, how:

1. Go to the WordPress admin page and access the Plugins menu > Installed Plugins.

2. Deactivate one of the installed plugins.

deactivate recently installed/updated plugins

3. Reset the permalink as you did in the first method. 

4. Access the page that previously showed an error message when accessed.

5. Repeat the deactivate plugin steps on the next plugin if the error message still appears.

We recommend that you disable the plugin starting with the newly installed or updated one. If you have found the plugin that is causing the permalink damage, uninstall the plugin.

If you wish to continue using the plugin, please contact the plugin developer to report the problem. Or, you can ask in the community forums to find out what plugin issues are causing WordPress permalinks to break.

3. Ganti File .htaccess

If the two methods above have not succeeded in overcoming WordPress permalink damage, the error may be caused by an error in WordPress settings in the .htaccess file.

To check and fix it, you can restore the .htaccess file to its default configuration. Following are the steps:

1. Go to the main folder of the WordPress website. You can access it using an FTP client like FileZilla or through the File Manager menu in cPanel like we did in this tutorial.

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2. Find the .htaccess file, then right-click on the file and select Rename.

rename file .htaccess

3. To disable the file, please replace the file with a different name. In this tutorial, we renamed the file to .htaccess1. Then, click Rename File.

rename old .htaccess file

4. Create a new file named .htaccess in the /public_html directory to replace your old .htaccess file.

create a new .htaccess file

5. Right-click on the .htaccess file you just created and select Edit. Then, copy the default .htaccess file script below into the new .htaccess file.

 

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# BEGIN WordPress
 
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
 
# END WordPress
script kode default file .htaccess

6. Don’t forget, to click the Save Changes button to save the changes to the .htaccess file.

7. Check the permalink of the website URL that was previously error or inaccessible.

4. Use 301 Redirect Plugin

The next way to solve WordPress permalink errors is to use the Simple 301 Redirects plugin. 

These plugins can help to redirect requests to other pages on your website. So, if someone accesses the old URL on your website, the page will be redirected to the new URL.

How to use the Simple 301 Redirects plugin is quite easy, here are the steps:

1. Go to the Plugins menu > Add New, then install and activate the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

install plugin simple 301 redirects

2. If it has been activated, access the plugin in the Settings menu > 301 Redirects.

3. Enter the old permalink in the Request field and enter the new permalink in the Destination column. Then, click ADD NEW.

using the simple 301 redirects plugin

By using a 301 redirect, later requests that go to the old permalink will be redirected to the new permalink (destination) that you have added.

5. Re-indexing

Permalink errors can still occur if search engines store old link information. In fact, you’ve updated the permalink structure.

Although search engines will index websites according to the latest permalink structure, it’s a good idea to help with the process. The trick is to create an XML Sitemap in WordPress to manually re-index your website.

Those are five ways to fix WordPress permalinks. If the error still appears, there could be another problem. 
Try to remember what changes you made before the error appeared. For example, if an error appears after updating, try restoring a WordPress backup so that the website can be accessed again.

Conclusion

Permalink is a permanent website page link as a gateway to access your content. As an important part, make sure to set WordPress permalinks properly, yes.

If the permalink is broken, visitors cannot access the website and will immediately leave. In fact, it will have an impact on SEO as well later.

Therefore, you must immediately fix it in the five ways above, namely:

  1. Reset Permalink Structure
  2. Disable Plugins
  3. Ganti File .htaccess
  4. Use 301 Redirect Plugin
  5. Re-indexing

The method above is already from the easiest, you know. Use the one that best suits the problems you face, ok? 

If the permalink function works well, your SEO efforts will be more optimal. But, SEO strategy is not just about permalinks, there are many other things that must be optimized as well.

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I am Omotunmihse Temitope (Xander), A Contents Writer, Web and Graphic designer, and A pro blogger who has a passion for blogging and has taken blogging as part of my daily activities.
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