WordPress permalinks not working

WordPress permalinks not working?

Unexpectedly running into a 404 error on some of your pages? 🥴 It’s a sign of broken permalinks.

Broken permalinks are a common WordPress issue. This particular issue often occurs after installing or updating a plugin, or a theme. Other causes include changes in the .htaccess file, migrating to a new domain or server, restoring backups, etc.

The good news is that broken permalinks can be fixed. 🔧

👉 In this article, we are going to first delve into their different causes and then show you a number of ways to fix the issue.

We recommend fixing the permalinks as soon as possible because broken permalinks affect bounce rates and search engine rankings. So, let’s get started.

Reasons why your permalink is not working

Permalinks are the permanent URLs of your WordPress website’s individual posts, pages, categories, tags, and files.

WordPress offers different permalink structures.

While most sites choose the post permalink structure, some sites like news websites are time sensitive and therefore pick month and day permalink structures.

wordpress permalink structure
Different types of WordPress permalink structures

It’s typically recommended to select one permalink structure and stick with it because changing it has a negative effect on your site’s SEO.

Likewise, completely broken permalinks also have a negative impact on your site’s SEO.

In the next section, ⏭️ we’ll show you how to fix broken permalinks. But first, let’s take a quick look at the reasons why your permalinks are not working:


Regularly updating the WordPress core, plugins, and themes is crucial to the security and performance of a WordPress website. Post-update conflicts are common among themes and plugins. Such conflicts lead to different types of errors. One such error is the broken permalink 404 error.

Installation of new plugins:

A new plugin may have modified the .htaccess file where your permalink settings are stored. This could have caused your permalinks to stop working.

Migration & Backup Restoration:

Migrating to a new server or domain can cause modification of the .htaccess file, which can result in broken permalinks. Restoration of backup can also cause the same issue.

No matter what the cause is, fixing the ‘WordPress permalink not working’ issue is pretty easy. 🤩 Let’s dive into the solutions.

How to fix the ‘WordPress permalinks not working’ issue

There are a number of ways to fix broken permalinks. You can reset your permalink settings, regenerate the .htaccess file, or find and delete the culprit plugin

We are going to walk you through each solution and we recommend that you try every solution until the problem is fixed on your site.

Before getting started, take a backup of your entire website.

To fix broken permalinks, you will need to go to the backend of your website and take certain steps.

Needless to say, a single misstep can end up breaking ⛔ your website. If that happens, a backup will be your safety net.

You can quickly restore your website back to normal and proceed with the rest of the tutorial.

Now, to fix the WordPress permalinks not working issue, you need to take the following steps: 👇

  1. Reset permalink settings
  2. Regenerate .htaccess file
  3. Find & delete culprit plugin

1. Reset permalink settings

One of the first things you can try is to reset your permalinks.

Just open your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings → Permalinks.

Make sure the permalink structure of your choice is selected. If it’s already done, you don’t need to change anything.

Then scroll down to the end of the page and hit the Save Changes button. Yes – you should hit this button even if you didn’t change any settings.

This will rewrite old rules and update your permalink settings.

wordpress permalink setting page
Change permalink structure from Permalink Setting page

If this doesn’t fix your permalinks, then we recommend manually resetting them. A manual reset can be done by regenerating the .htaccess file, which is what we’ll cover in the next section.

⚠️ Important: After implementing the solutions, clear your browser cache before checking for broken permalinks. The browser cache can show you outdated versions of your website. This means that even if your permalinks are fixed, it will show you broken permalinks. So clear the cache before checking if your permalinks are working.

2. Regenerate .htaccess file

To regenerate a new .htaccess file, you need to rename the current .htaccess file and create a new file. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open your hosting account, go to the cPanel, and choose File Manager.

If your host doesn’t use cPanel, you can also connect to your server directly using FTP.

Next, open the public_html folder and look for the .htaccess file.

Right-click on the file and select the Rename option. Rename the file into something like .htaccess_old.

renaming htaccess file
Renaming the .htaccess file

Step 2: Now you need to create a new .htaccess file.

On the File Manager, you should see an option to add or create a new file.

The same should be true if you’re using FTP, as most FTP software lets you create a new file using your local text editor.

add new file option in file manager
Adding a new file in the File Manager

After selecting the File option, a popup appears. Here you can name the file. And remember to hit the Create New File button before exiting.

creating new htaccess file - WordPress permalinks not working
Creating a new .htaccess file in the File Manager

Step 3: Right-click on the new file and select Edit.

At this point, the file should be blank. Fill it with the following code:

# 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]
# END WordPress

Remember to hit the Save button before exiting the new file.

If you’re using FTP, you might need to wait for the file to upload.

Next, check your website to see if the permalinks are working. If not, then proceed with the next solution.

If they are working, you can go back and delete the old version of your .htaccess file that you’re no longer using.

3. Find & delete culprit plugin

If none of the previous solutions work, then the permalink issue probably stems from a plugin. Let’s find out.

The best way to find out if a plugin is at the root of the problem is by disabling all the plugins.

Disabling the plugins one by one and then checking if the permalink is working is a time-consuming process. Instead, we recommend disabling all the plugins in one go. If the permalink starts working, then this confirms our theory of a plugin being the main culprit. You can then disable the plugins one by one to find the one causing the issue.

To bulk disable plugins, go to Plugins → Installed Plugins.

Then select all the plugins.

Next, from the Bulk Action dropdown, select Deactivate and hit the Apply button.

disabling plugins in bulk - WordPress permalinks not working
Disabling all plugins installed on your site

If the permalinks are working, then reactivate all the plugins and start deactivating the plugins one by one.

When you find the culprit plugin, be sure to delete it from your website.

If it’s an essential plugin, find an alternative. There are plenty of WordPress plugins out there. So finding an alternative shouldn’t be hard.

Need more help? Check out this guide on how to disable all WordPress plugins, even if you can’t access your WordPress dashboard.

🤓 Pro Tip: Next time you install or update a plugin, check the plugin for compatibility issues. If it’s causing compatibility issues with other software on your site, then look for an alternative. In this way, you can avoid all types of errors that appear on a WordPress website due to compatibility issues.

These are the common solutions to the ‘WordPress permalinks not working’ error.

If none of these solutions fixed the permalink problem on your WordPress site, then you need to contact your hosting provider and seek help because it could be a misconfiguration in your server itself, such as a problem with Apache or Nginx. Inform them about the steps you already took. They should be able to offer more solutions.

WordPress permalinks are an important part of your website. They help inform the reader and the search engines what the post or pages are about.

Broken permalinks cause high bounce rates and a decline in your search ranking. 📉

Luckily, there are ways to fix broken WordPress permalinks. You can reset them on your WordPress dashboard or regenerate a new .htaccess file. You can also seek out the culprit plugin causing the permalink issue and remove it from your site.

💡 If none of the solutions work, then seek help from your hosting provider.

For some other tips on solving WordPress issues, check out our full beginner’s guide to WordPress troubleshooting.

If you have any questions about this guide on ‘WordPress permalinks not working,’ leave us a comment below.

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