How to effectively make use of WordPress permalinks?

Permalinks or permanent links are the URLs to the individual posts, pages, and category as well as other lists of weblog postings on your website. These are permanent links or web addresses that are used to link the content. People enter these links on the web browser to view a particular page of your website. They are the special links that search engines and other websites use to link your website. That’s these have a great importance, especially to attract both users and search engines, making it easy for them to refer and navigate your website.



As already mentioned, a permalink is what another weblogger can use to link your section or article or how you send a link to your page to someone else in an email message. The URL to each of your post/page will be permanent and can never be changed; hence, it is known as Permalink. There are three basic types of Permalink available:



This is the default type of permalinks in WordPress and looks like a URL followed by a query string categorizing the relevant post ID.

where N is the Post ID number. It works on all server environments. This format is not readable by humans as it contains numbers rather than words, hence the name “ugly.” It doesn’t look as nice as some of the other options.



These links are also referred to as PATHINFO permalinks. These are improved version of ugly permalinks. They include index.php after the domain name followed by specific identifiers that are related to the post/page. They are flexible links.




These are the most familiar types of links that you can commonly see in the majority of websites. In this type of link, the domain name is followed by a string of words targeting the individual post. Using mod_rewrite or lighttpd, One can create much nicer permalinks.




In the Settings → Permalinks screen, you can easily access permalinks settings. You can choose from one or more common permalink structures or even enter your own link structure in “Custom structure” field.



There are 6 Permalink options that you will get to choose from. These include:

Plain: This is the “ugly” permalink setting. The default setting is plain, or “ugly” permalinks, which is automatically set when WordPress is installed.

Day and name: This uses a year/month/date format followed by your post name.

Month and name: This uses post name followed by a year/month/date format.

Numeric: This permalink type uses post ID from the row in the wp_posts table of your database.

Post name: This uses the name of your post.

Custom Structure: This type allows you to describe your own structure via a set of structure tags available in WordPress. Given below are custom tags that you can use to customize your “Pretty” or “Almost Pretty” permalinks.

  • %year% – The year of the post, four digits, for example 2004
  • %monthnum% – Month of the year, for example 05
  • %day% – Day of the month, for example 28
  • %hour% – Hour of the day, for example 15
  • %minute% – Minute of the hour, for example 43
  • %second% – Second of the minute, for example 33
  • %post_id% – The unique ID # of the post, for example 423
  • %postname% – A sanitized version of the title of the post. So “This Is A Great Post!” becomes this-is-a-great-post in the URL.
  • %category% – A sanitized version of the category name. Nested sub-categories appear as nested directories in the URL.
  • %author% – A sanitized version of the author name.



Apart from default permalink structure, all the other permalink structures that are present at WordPress are search engine friendly. And these links are sometimes known as “Clean URLs” or Pretty Permalinks”.

But you cannot use these links directly. You need to modify your website’s .htaccess file. WordPress can do this modification automatically, but if in case it is not done, then you need to add the code to your .htaccess file manually.

There is a custom structure field change option available when you select one of the five common permalink structures in WordPress. There will be different tags that will be listed in this field, which are known as structure tags. These include:

  • %category% – The category a post was assigned to
  • %day% – The day the article was published
  • %monthnum% – The month the article was published
  • %post_id% – The unique ID of a post
  • %postname% – The post slug of your post
  • %year% – The year the article was published

You can also use the following tags:

  • %hour% – The hour the article was published
  • %minute% – The minute the article was published
  • %second% – The second the article was published
  • %author% – The author name

Pretty permalink structures need to incorporate either the post name (%postname%) or the post ID (%post_id%) to ensure that the URLs of posts and pages are unique. Your Permalink structure speaks a lot about how your website URLs has been constructed. This is something very important and needs your attention before you launch your website.

If we talk from SEO and website’s perspective, there are no major benefits of choosing one permalink structure over the other. It completely depends on your preference. Always make sure that you should keep the same permalink structure after your website launch. If in case you decide to change them, don’t forget to use Yoast’s 301 redirection script or a redirection plug-in to avoid losing any traffic.

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