WordPress Tutorial

How to Fix Broken Permalinks in WordPress

How to Fix Broken Permalinks in WordPress

Introduction

Undoubtedly, WordPress is one of the most user-friendly content management systems out there. However, a slight tweak can sometimes go wrong and make your website or a few permalinks inaccessible. Are your WordPress permalinks not working and gives 404 errors? Well, fret not! We just got it all covered. In this WordPress tutorial, we will show what steps to take in order to fix broken permalinks.

Before we proceed further, it is important to know why WordPress permalinks may break and display the 404 page not found errors.

Things That Can Break WordPress Permalinks

  • Updates
    Updates are necessary for the safe and secure functioning of WordPress. It is crucial to update plugins, themes, and WordPress itself to ensure maximum security and performance. However, there is a chance that certain updates will break your permalinks, thus making your posts and pages inaccessible to the audience.In short, the cause could be an incompatibility between your plugins, theme, or WordPress version.
  • Installing plugins
    At times, installing a new plugin can also break your permalinks. New plug-in installation may also break WordPress permalinks, especially the ones that fiddle with your .htaccess file.
  • Changes in .htaccess file
    .htaccess is a special configuration used on Apache Web Servers. It deals with the permissions and accessibility of a website. You can also use it to change certain settings and values. Furthermore, this file is used to create WordPress permalinks. Adding custom code to .htaccess may at times result in broken permalinks. If the file has been recently tweaked, updated or altered, chances are high that this might affect your permalinks too.
  • Migrating or restoring your website
    Permalinks in WordPress might also not correctly function if you migrated or restored your website on a new server.

Whatever the case may be, these are just a few of the probable causes why your permalinks might encounter issues. That being said, let’s have a quick look on how to deal with broken permalinks in WordPress.

How To Fix Broken Permalinks?

Now, we will cover the top 3 most popular solutions to fixing broken permalinks in WordPress.

Option 1 – Resetting permalinks structure

If you are facing faulty permalinks, the first step you need to follow is to reset your permalinks structure. To do this, follow the following steps:

  1. Log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. In the left navigation panel, click on Settings > Permalinks.
    Permalinks section in WordPress settings
  3. Remove your standard permalinks settings to an alternative setting. For example, if currently, you have Numeric settings, then change it to Post-name. Do not forget to Save Changes once done.
    WordPress permalinks not working. Resetting process via wp dashboard.
  4. Now, change it back to your standard setting (Numeric in this case), and click on Save Changes once again. If you did everything correctly, you will also see a confirmation screen.
    Wordpress permalinks updated
  5. Next, open your website and try to access your previously inaccessible pages and posts.

If everything seems to be alright, you’re done with the fixing of WordPress permalinks. However, if you still get a 404 or Page Not Found error, try to follow the next option.

Option 2 – Disabling plugins

A conflict between WordPress plugins may also cause breakage of permalinks. The most reliable solution would be disabling WordPress plugins one by one and performing a permalink reset described in Option 1 of this tutorial. In short, here is what you would need to do:

  1. Navigate to your Plugins section.
    plugins section in WordPress admin area
  2. Disable one plugin out of the already installed plugins in your website.
    disabling a plugin via WordPress dasboard
  3. Head on to Permalinks Settings page and reset the settings.
  4. Do not forget to Save Changes each time.
  5. Try to access the pages.
  6. Do this procedure for each plugin one by one.

To speed this process up, we would suggest starting with the plugins that were installed or updated most recently. If you succeed in locating the problematic plugin, try removing and installing it again. In addition, contacting the plugin developers or community could also be a great way to find out why it caused WordPress permalinks to break.

Option 3 – Replacing .htaccess file

In case none of the two options are working for you, the issue could be related to the configuration of your .htaccess file. A quick way to check whether it’s the cause of broken WordPress permalink is to rename/disable your current .htaccess file and replace it with the default WordPress .htaccess, which is:

Here are the exact steps:

  1. Acess your files using File Manager located in the control panel or use an FTP client such as FileZilla.
  2. Go to the root folder of your WordPress website.
  3. Right click the .htaccess and select the Rename option.
    renaming .htaccess in file manager
  4. To disable the file, give it a different name. For example .htaccess1
    confirming .htaccess rename via file manager
  5. After that, create a new .htaccess file
    creating new .htaccess for WordPress permalink fixing
  6. Open the newly created file and copy->paste the previously mentioned default WordPress .htaccess code and Save it.
    saving default WordPress .htaccess for permalink fixing
  7. Try refreshing your WordPress site and navigating to a few pages or posts.

In case your permalinks are still not working, the problem could be hidden somewhere deeper. Try remembering what actions were carried out before the issue occurred. For example, if WordPress permalinks broke down after a specific update, restoring an older backup would be a reliable option to get your site up and running.

Conclusion

Broken WordPress permalinks and 404 Page Not Found errors on your website are not only frustrating but can also impact the traffic. Thus, it can be really useful to know a few troubleshooting steps. 

We hope that the above tutorial would have helped you in fixing your broken WordPress permalinks. If you have any questions, tips, or tricks, do not hesitate to share them in the comments below!

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