Configure your WordPress Permalinks

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Posted 20 Feb 2008 in WordPress

WordPress WednesdaysWordPress is highly customizable, with add-ons such as themes and plugins – but it comes out of the box with many features that can be customized without downloading additional files or having a PhD in computer science.

One of the easiest tweaks for WordPress is the permalinks feature – the permanent links to your individual blog posts and pages.

You can easily configure your WordPress permalinks to ensure that search engines “like” your blog and readers can easily remember links. Think computer and human friendly!

Why do you want to reconfigure your WordPress permalinks?Computer User

Does http://example.com/?p=N look attractive or easy to remember to you?

No way! Reconfiguring your WordPress permalinks gives you greater flexibility in HOW your links are displayed and can be used.

http://www.thepinkc.net/better-blogger/tips-to-get-more-out-of-your-wordpress-blog/ is a great example of a permalink that has multiple functions.

  1. The URL tells readers the category that the post is included in.
  2. The URL tells readers the title (or partial title) of the post.
  3. The URL tells readers and search engines some of the keywords included in the post.
  4. Readers can delete the post title and visit the main category page for “Better Blogger”.
  5. Readers can delete the category name and visit the main directory of the site.

Cool, huh?

How do I get “pretty” permalinks?

It is quite easy!

Navigate to Options > Permalinks in your WordPress Administration Screen.

You should a screen that looks similar to this:

Customize Screen

The default setting is the “ugly” permalink structure I showed you earlier. WordPress offers a few pre-configured options – date and name based and numeric. I do not suggest numeric because it does not provide the keyword support I mentioned earlier, nor does it display human or computer friendly.

Date and name based permalinks are a good option, because it does include the keywords (title) in the URL, but it does not provide information about the category.

WorkingWordPress offers a number of tags, so that WP users can make their own custom permalink structure.

To fit my purpose, and what I think is the BEST option for permalinks, I built a custom structure of /%category%/%postname%/. This code is extremely flexible, as I said before – delete the post name and access category archives. Delete both the category name and post name and access the front or main page of the blog. ❗

You can customize your permalinks in many ways, thanks to the permalink tag structure, but remember that changing the structure of your permalinks affects all of the permalinks on your blog – old and new. If you change the permalink structure after creating many posts, you will end up having many broken links indexed in search engines. So, pick a permalink structure, stick with it and good luck!


WordPress Wednesdays features posts about plugins, themes and general usage of WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system!

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6 Comments

  1. That’s a really good tutorial, if only I used wordpress, I would bookmark that one for sure…. 😀

    • You use Blogger, right? Blogger is pretty good for content management, too. Can’t you customize the permalinks for Blogger, too?

  2. I have no idea – guess I’m just not a geek….

    • I think there is a way – but Blogger does a good job with the default permalinks, IMHO. :)

  3. So there is no way out if you have a long history of using such links? http://example.com/?p=N

    • Probably not, but you could always make a custom 404 page that will direct people to search for your old articles OR use browser redirections from your webhost’s cpanel. Depending on how many articles you have, this may take a few hours to a few days to complete.


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