How to Change WordPress Permalink Structure without Breaking Links


Do you want to change permalink structure for your WordPress website? But are you afraid of losing search engine rankings and traffic?

Be cool.

We can sort out all your permalink related issues in the next a few moments.

Choosing a permalink structure is one of the first things we do after installing WordPress. A permalink represents your webpage in browsers and mobile apps. But you may not be aware of its importance during the initial stages of blogging and might be chosen any of the permalink options from the WordPress settings. When you decide to change it later, you have to follow certain steps to overcome the side-effects of permalink change. Otherwise, your visitors will get the page not found errors for old URLs and if it occurred many times, your search engine rankings may go down.

Which is the best permalink structure?

Using the date and month in the permalink will negatively affect your blog traffic. Such period-based URLs are ideal for the news websites. There’s no benefit of using them in blogs where we publish blogging tutorials, how to tips, and other evergreen contents. People may less likely to open and share your page if it contains dates that pointing to many months or years back. So it’s better to remove dates from your permalinks and give always fresh look to them.

I was using year and month based permalink for my blog earlier. After a few months, I changed it to the post name. In this article, I will tell you how I changed my WordPress permalink structure and created redirects without breaking links.

Changing WordPress permalink structure

Sign into your WordPress website and open Settings > Permalinks.

WordPress permalink structure

Choose Post name as your new permalink structure and save changes.

Create redirects

Open Yoast tool to generate redirection code from your old permalink structure to Post name structure.

Enter your website URL, old permalink and click Generate Redirect button to get the code.

Your code will look like this,

Edit your .htaccess file

You should add this Yoast code to .htaccess file.

Go back to your website and tap “SEO” from the left pane to open Yoast SEO settings. Choose “Tools”, followed by the “File editor” to access the .htaccess file.

Add your redirect code to the top of the file and save.

That’s it.

The visitors who made old URL requests will be automatically redirected to your new permalink structure. You won’t lose the search engine rankings and traffic either.

Redirection plugins

If you are afraid of touching the .htaccess file, go for the plugin solutions but cannot insert codes here. You have to set up redirects in each case.

Change Permalink Helper was a great plugin that automatically redirects readers to the new URLs. It doesn’t have any settings to configure, identifies posts according to the slugs and intelligently diverts requests to the new destinations. But the plugin is not updated for the last two years. So we can’t rely on it anymore.

Redirection is a popular plugin which will monitor your 404 not found errors and lets you create redirects in one click. When a post URL changed, it will automatically add a redirection to it. Manual redirection is another advantage of the plugin that allows you to set up diversions based on various conditions and group them under a common head.

Read How to Fix 404 Crawl Errors in Google Search Console