How to Fix Broken Permalinks in WordPress

Contributed content / By Nouman Ali / 21 May 2020

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

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 quite common for those who use websites daily. It may be a harmless error for the user, and they 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 that is designed to remain unchanged. Before we suggest the steps to fix your broken permalink, you should understand the reasons why this error occurs.

Listed here are a few reasons why your site might be suffering from an issue of a broken WordPress permalink.

3 Steps to Fixing Broken Permalinks in WordPress

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

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:

  • A new plugin installation pay cause interruption with your program files 
  • While restoring your backup files or during migrating WordPress to a different server or domain can result in a broken permalink.
  • Once you have updated a plugin, there might be a compatibility issue resulting in a 404 error
  • 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 you were 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 back to the standard ones. 

  1. Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click on “Permalink Settings.” Once you get there, you need to change the settings away from standard settings. 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, then 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 plays a useful role 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 that can 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 name of the plugin. 
  4. Once done, you can reset the permalink structure. 

An important point to understand 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 which plugin was 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 a number of 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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