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How to Fix Broken Permalinks in WordPress

How to Fix Broken Permalinks in WordPress

How to Fix Broken Permalinks in WordPress

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You can fix broken permalinks in WordPress by resetting the permalink settings, replacing .htaccess file with default code, and sorting all conflicting plugins.

Updated 08/09/2022

The broken permalink issue, or the “404 error,” is one of the most common issues on a WordPress site. This can be caused by several issues which, in turn, can be fixed via simple steps.

The “404 Page Not Found” error is common for those who use websites daily. It may be a harmless error for the user, who may move on. However, it is a huge issue for the owner of a website.

This error means that you are facing an issue of a broken permalink, or a link to another website designed to remain unchanged. Before we suggest the steps to fix your broken permalink, you should understand why this error occurs.

Listed here are a few reasons why your site might suffer from a broken WordPress permalink issue.

Looking for help fixing permalinks? Hire a top web design agency on The Manifest.

Why Permalinks are Important

As a permanent link to a specific web page, the URL structure of a permalink may seem unimportant at first glance. After all, a post’s URL generally has little to do with the actual content of individual posts other than containing the domain name.

By default, WordPress will add new blog posts or pages with the post ID set as the URL slug. However, website owners should give strong consideration to implementing custom permalinks that reference aspects of the WordPress posts themselves as part of the URL.

Especially if you’re building a new site, forgoing the default permalink structure and creating a custom structure each time you create a new post can benefit your site in many ways.

Here are the top reasons why permalinks are essential to your site's success:

Site Architecture

When looking to build a new permalink structure for your site’s pages, a great page aspect of incorporating into the new URLs is each post’s name.

Using the post title will give your new permalinks advantages over your old permalinks in several areas.

For instance, the overall architecture of your site will improve. With article permalinks referencing their actual content rather than a WordPress-generated unique ID, it will be easier for you to judge the subject of a post simply by looking at its URL.

Post-title-driven URLs can specifically be helpful when building category pages for your site. It will be easy for you and your team to ensure you’re grouping posts in the correct categories.

Another site architecture area where custom permalinks are useful is the process of creating 301 redirects. When these redirects are implemented into your site, anyone who attempts to visit an old URL will be automatically re-routed to a new URL without receiving an error message.

Creating permalinks that directly reference the post's content will allow you to better pick a page to redirect old URLs, whether it's a category page or the location of a new article. This will make building a cohesive site easier for your site administrators.

301 redirects can be set up on WordPress sites using the redirection plugin available on the WordPress plugins page.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Another gain you can net by leveraging custom permalinks on your site is improving your website’s SEO.

When working to make sites more SEO-friendly, you may expect digital marketing experts to use keyword research and competitor analysis to improve weaknesses in the content of your blog posts. You may not expect them to suggest changing the URL structure of posts on your site, though.

Yet, optimizing permalinks can boost your pages’ search engine rankings. The bots that Google uses to build their search engine page rankings consider aspects of page URLs as a ranking factor.

When optimizing a URL for SEO purposes, you’ll want to consider its length, closeness to your homepage, and whether it contains any words or phrases relevant to your target keywords (such as those in your post title).

Making raking-driven changes to your permalinks can be abundantly easier on you and your team when you use SEO plugins such as WooCommerce or Yoast SEO.

User Experience

You may not readily view permalink changes as a means of creating a more user-friendly site. However, proper permalink optimization can make a huge difference in how easy users navigate your site, making them more likely to be satisfied with the site.

The site architecture benefits of custom permalinks also translate to user experience benefits. If visitors to any page on your site can use the URL to easily gauge the path from that page to the home page, they’ll be more likely to explore your site.

Similarly, referencing the post title in your permalinks will indicate to search engine users that a page is relevant to them before they even click on the link.

Custom permalinks to create cleaner URLs will enhance your site's user experience. For instance, by properly configuring the back end of your site’s server you can remove the “index.php” suffix at the end of your page URLs. You may need to work with your web hosting administrator to properly implement these sorts of changes, though.

If you run a news website, you may consider further customization to your permalinks by including the published date. This will help differentiate the URLs of articles with similar topics while ensuring people link to the article referencing the correct subject.

3 Steps to Fixing Broken Permalinks in WordPress

Here are three easy steps you can follow when you want to change or fix a broken permalink:

  1. Reset the permalink settings
  2. Replace .htaccess file with default code
  3. Sort all conflicting plugins

4 Reasons Why a Permalink Might be Broken

There are several triggers of broken permalinks.

If you are trying to find the root cause of your broken link, the following reasons could be playing an important role in causing the 404 error:

  1. A new plugin installation pay cause interruption with your program files 
  2. While restoring your backup files or during migrating WordPress to a different server or domain can result in a broken permalink.
  3. Once you have updated a plugin, there might be a compatibility issue resulting in a 404 error
  4. Any changes with your .htaccess file can result in a broken permalink 

Investigating these causes my involve looking through your website’s directory pages.

3 Steps to Fixing a Broken Permalink

An app development service can help you sort your issues, but with our help, you can fix your broken permalink on your own! Here is put a step-by-step guide to help you fix your broken permalink.

1. Reset the Permalink Settings

As obvious as it sounds, most people forget the first thing they need to do is to reset their permalink settings.

permalink settings

Double-checking your permalinks settings helps you save time and energy. If there is a small glitch in the settings, you can quickly get past it and fix your broken link immediately.

Don’t be completely sure that there is no issue with your settings simply because you didn’t do anything recently. A small issue can occur while updating your software version or migrating your files. 

Changing your permalink settings is quite simple. Follow the steps mentioned below to quickly revert your permalink settings to the standard ones. 

  1. Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click on “Permalink Settings.” Once you get there, you must change the settings away from standard ones. For instance, change it back to “numeric.” 
  3. Once you have done this, you need to select a “standard-setting” again and save changes. 
  4. Go back to your WordPress site, and check the post or the site pages. 

If the permalink is fixed, you can be thankful that the issue was nothing more than a slight glitch in your settings. However, if the issue persists, you need to follow the next steps below to find the root cause of the problem and fix it.

2. Replace .htaccess File With Default Code

The .htaccess is one of the core files that run your WordPress website. This file is useful in carrying out several important tasks on your site. You can use it to add and customize several features on your website such as improving security and increasing traffic.

With the .htaccess playing some of the key roles on your website. There is a possibility that if this file is changed or altered in any way, it may lead to the much dreaded “404 error.”

Here are a few steps to help you sort your .htaccess file and replace it with a default one. 

  1. Select the “File Manager” option through the hpanel. 
  2. Once you get there, select the domain you are using and click on “Go to File Manager.”
  3. You can now select the “public_html” folder and select “.htaccess file.”
  4. Right-click on the file and rename it with a different name.
  5. Once you have renamed the old file, select the “New File” icon and name the file “.htaccess.” 
  6. Write the code below in your new .htaccess file and click on save. 

The above solution will most likely be able to solve your problem with the .htaccess file.

Once you have followed the steps above, go back to your WordPress site and see whether the error occurs again.

If the issue is still there, go on to the next step.

3. Sort All Conflicting Plugins

If you have followed the first and second steps and are still facing an issue, then, most likely, your WordPress has an issue of conflicting plugins.

conflicting plugins

You can start with disabling the most recently installed plug-in to see whether it has been the one causing the conflict. However, if disabling the recently-installed plugin is not solving the issue, then you may disable all the plug-ins collectively. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and Navigate to your Plugins menu. 
  2. Click on “Installed Plugins.”
  3. Click on the “deactivate” button next to the plugin's name. 
  4. Once done, you can reset the permalink structure. 

An important point is that the issue could be created due to two conflicting plugins. There is a chance that if any of these plugins are installed separately, it won’t cause an issue.

The above steps will eventually help you identify the plugin causing an issue.

If this plugin is crucial for your running website, you can try to activate it once you have deactivated the rest. However, if it is not that important, you should let go of it since it might result in a conflict later and cause issues.

Fixing Permalinks Is Key to Success on WordPress

While we’ve run through many different processes, we hope we’ve provided you an easy guide to troubleshooting 404 errors.

By altering plugins, changing the .htaccess file, or changing permalink settings, you can ensure your WordPress site is always functional.

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