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[Fixed] WordPress Permalinks Not Working

404 page not found - wordpress permalinks not working

WordPress permalinks not working?

Permalinks are an important part of your website. When permalinks are broken, you are likely to encounter the “404 Page Not Found” error on your pages. 

The 404 errors have a severe impact on your site’s dwell time, SEO ranking, and conversions. 

Fortunately, the permalink issue is a common WordPress error and can be easily fixed. 

In this article, we are going to show you how to get your permalinks to work normally on your WordPress website. 

Let’s get started with the tutorial.

Causes Behind WordPress Permalinks Not Working

Permalinks are the permanent URLs of your posts, pages, categories, tags, and other archive pages of your website. 

WordPress offers 6 different types of permalinks. The permalink structure is set after installing the WordPress core on a website. This structure is typically left untouched because changing it hurts a site’s SEO.

404 page not found - wordpress permalinks not working

Even though you might not have modified your permalinks, several causes could have triggered broken permalinks on your WordPress site. Possible causes are:

  • Installing a new plugin or modifying the settings of an old plugin can interfere with the .htaccess file and affect your permalinks
  • Restoring a backup, or migrating to a new server or domain can lead to a broken permalink structure
  • Manually tinkering with the .htaccess file can also lead to a broken permalink

Regardless of what the actual reason is, you need to fix your site’s permalinks immediately. In the next section, we are putting together a step-by-step guide to fix your site’s permalink. 

Also read: A Complete Guide on WordPress Settings

How to Fix WordPress Permalinks 

There are three different ways to fix the ‘WordPress permalinks not working’ issue. You can manually reset your permalinks, generate a new .htaccess file, or find and remove the culprit plugin from your WordPress website. 

In this tutorial, we will show you all three methods but first, take a backup of your entire website. To fix the permalink issue, you will need to go to the backend of your site and make modifications to WordPress files. This is risky business. If things go wrong, you can use the backup copy to get your site up and running in no time. So take a backup of your website before proceeding. 

1. Reset Permalink Structure

To reset the permalink structure, open your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings > Permalinks.

Reselect the permalink structure of your choice (in our case, it’s the Post name).

Scroll down to the end of the permalinks page and hit the Save Changes button. 

resetting permalinks

This should reset your permalinks and fix the permalink issue of your WordPress website. If this method fails, then try the next one. 

IMPORTANT: Before you try the next method, clear your cache and check your website. 

Caching is a process in which the browser downloads the current version of a page and shows it to you whenever you open that page. 

Sometimes, a website is fixed but you are shown the cached version of the site. 

This is why you need to clear your cache and then check your website to see if the permalink issue has been fixed. 

2. Generate New .htaccess File

The .htaccess is a configuration file. It allows you to make changes to your site’s configurations. 

Using the .htaccesss file, you can even reset your permalinks. All you need to do is replace your current .htaccess file with the default WordPress .htaccess code. 

The first step is to go to the backend of your site and access the .htaccess file. 

You can do this via your hosting account or by using an FTP client. In the following tutorial, we are going to show you both methods:

The File Manager Method

Open your hosting account, go to the cPanel and select File Manager

Inside the File Manager, go to the public_html folder and look for the .htaccess folder. 

When you find the folder, right-click on it and select the Rename option. Change the name of the folder to something like .htaccess-old.

renaming htaccess file

Now on the top of the File Manager page, you should find an option to create a new file. On the File Manager page of demo our site, it looks like a plus sign. 

creating new file in file manager

Name the new file as .htaccess.

creating new htaccess file

Next, right-click on the new file and select the Edit option. Then insert the following default WordPress .htaccess code into the new file:

# BEGIN WordPress
IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress

Hit the Save button before you exit the file. 

htaccess code

You have now regenerated a new .htaccess file on your WordPress site. 

Go to your site and check if this helped fix the ‘WordPress permalink not working’ issue. 

The FTP Client Method

If your hosting provider does not offer cPanel access, then you can use an FTP client to generate the .htaccess file. 

The first step is to download and install an FTP client on your desktop. Then connect the FTP client with our website server using the FTP credentials. 

Here’s a guide on how to install an FTP client and connect with your site server. 

After the connection has been established, you will have access to the public_html folder and the .htaccess file.

renaming htaccess file in filezilla

The next steps are exactly like the ones in the previous method. 

  • Rename the .htaccess file into .htaccess-old
  • Create a new .htaccess file
  • Right-click on the new file and select Edit
  • Insert the default WordPress .htaccess code into the new file
  • Save changes

And check if generating a new .htaccess file fixed the permalink issue.

3. Remove Culprit Plugin

If none of the above methods worked then let’s look for the source of the problem. In most cases, it’s a plugin messing with your permalink. 

In this section, we will show you how to find and remove the culprit plugin from your WordPress website. 

Open your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

Select all the plugins installed on your site and deactivate them. If you check your site now, your permalinks should be working normally.

deactivating all plugins

Next, you need to find the culprit plugin and remove it from your website. Start activating the plugins one by one

Every time you activate a plugin, check your website. 

Upon activation of the culprit plugin, the permalink issue will return. As soon as that happens, remove the plugin from your website.

That’s it folks! With that, we have come to the end of this tutorial. By now, you should have fixed the ‘WordPress permalinks not working’ issue on your site. 

But if none of the solutions worked on your site, then you need to seek help from your hosting provider. 

Also read: [Fixed] 502 Bad Gateway Error on WordPress Website

How to Prevent Permalink Issues in the Future

You may have fixed the ‘WordPress permalink not working’ error for now but it will reappear in the future. To prevent this from happening, you need to take the following measures:

1. Use a Staging Site 

A staging site is an exact replica of your live WordPress website. You can use it to install or update a plugin.

If all goes well, you can carry out the installation or update on your live site. But if things go wrong, you can look for a solution while your live site remains unharmed.

2. Test-Restore Backups

A good backup plugin should offer test-restoring services. 

Test-restoring is a process that involves restoring a backup copy of your site on the backup plugin’s server. It allows you to check your backup copy for discrepancies like broken elements, permalink not working, etc, before restoring it on your actual website.

3. Take a Backup of the .htaccess File

Whenever you tinker with the .htaccess file, take a backup of the file without fail. All you need to do is go to your File Manager > public_html > .htaccess

Right-click on the .htaccess file and select the Download option. 

A copy of the file will be downloaded and stored on your desktop.

downloading htaccess file - wordpress permalinks not working

If tinkering with the .htaccess file causes any permalink issue, you can simply rename the current file .htaccess file and upload the downloaded copy into your public_html folder.

Also read: [Fixed] Error Establishing Database Connection

Final Thoughts on WordPress Permalinks Not Working

Permalinks are the permanent URL of your WordPress website. Error in the permalink structure can lead to a sharp decline in dwell time, traffic, and your SEO ranking. 

Luckily, the permalink error can be fixed by resetting the permalink structure from your WordPress dashboard. If that doesn’t work then you can generate a new .htaccess file by going to the backend of your site. 

Alternatively, you can find and remove the culprit plugin causing the permalink issue. 

To prevent the permalink issue from reappearing in the future you can take the following steps:

  • Use a staging site whenever you need to install or update a plugin
  • Test-restore the backup copy on the plugin’s server before restoring it to your site
  • Take a backup of the .htaccess before tinkering with it

That’s it for this one folk. If you have any questions about the ‘WordPress permalinks not working’ error, leave us a comment below. 

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