How to alter permalink structures without breaking everything

How to alter permalink structures without breaking everything

Ben Stevinson's Layout avatar

Permalinks – the permanent URLs that point to a specific page on your site – are one of the most used and important aspects of WordPress. Forming and implementing a strong permalink structure is crucial to the long-term success of your WordPress site, as well as your SEO rankings. Fortunately, utilizing and changing a permalink structure is incredibly easy to do in WordPress.

Let’s dive in and change the permalink structure of a WordPress site. In the WordPress administration panel, look to the left-hand main menu. Hover over Settings, then click Permalinks in the pop-up menu. A new window called Permalink Settings will open:


This is the default permalink setting, which uses a p={postnumber} URL format. That’s great, but it doesn’t particularly tell us what a post is from the URL. It just references the ID of the post. Easily readable by machines but hardly easy to remember for humans. Let’s change the permalink structure to use the title of the WordPress post as the URL. For example, instead of, we could make our url look like That reads a lot better and would be easier for humans to remember and communicate.

In the Permalink Settings window, select Post name. This option uses the titles of your WordPress posts for the permalink instead of the post number. If you’re using a newer version of WordPress, WordPress will automatically create redirects from the old URL structure to the new URL structure.


Sometimes, however, it makes sense to include the date in the URL. A great example of this would be a site that publishes content often, such as a news publication or live update site. When people are interested in accessing content, they can tell how fresh or stale that content is from the URL alone. To set a permalink structure to display a specific day or a day and month, select either Day and name or Month and name in the Permalink Settings window.

You can even define your own custom permalink structure by using tags such as /%category%/ and /%postname%/. For more information and a full list of structure tags you can use for custom permalink structures, check out this documentation.

Comments ( 1 )

  1. Thomas Zickell

    September 8, 2014

    Hear is another post on how to redirect from an old site using a different permalink structure hopefully it will add some value.

    Here’s the code for redirecting /archives/416/ to

    location ~ /archives/(.*) {
    rewrite ^/archives/(.*)$$1 permanent;

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