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Fixing 404 errors after customizing WordPress permalinks

If you have recently changed the permalink structure of your WordPress website or had no permalinks set up before, you may suddenly see 404 errors appear on your website. This is nothing to worry about, as such technical difficulties are quite common. In this post, you'll learn how to manage your permalinks and fix these annoying 404 errors without jeopardizing your SEO rankings while keeping your visitors happy.

It is always advisable to have a plan. Therefore, it is important to document the current permalink settings of your WordPress website. Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Make a note of or take screenshots of your current permalink settings. You will need these in the next step.
  2. If you are using the "Standard" permalink settings, you can skip steps 2 and 4 as WordPress will automatically create redirects for you. However, you should still follow steps 3 and 5.
  3. Make a note of some current URLs so that you can check them later. Try to collect at least 15 URLs. Once you make sure they are working properly, you will have more certainty that everything is in order.

404 error URL: Setting up redirects

WordPress normally tries to redirect changed or moved content automatically. However, this method is not always reliable. We will therefore show you two simple ways to configure redirects in WordPress:

  1. Use the free redirection plugin: Manage redirects conveniently via your WordPress dashboard. Install and activate the plugin and navigate to "Tools" → "Redirection". There, enter the 404 error URL in the source URL field and the new location in the destination URL field. Please note that plugins such as Redirection can slightly affect the performance of your website.
  2. Use cPanel: Configure redirects via cPanel. This option is preferred as all actions take place on the server side and do not affect website performance. This also saves you from having to use an additional plugin. If you are an ORC web hosting customer, you can also use the Apache web service and use the .htaccess file as described in step 4.

Navigate to your WordPress dashboard → "Settings" → "Permalinks". Select "Post name" and click on "Save changes". That's it.

Fixing 404 errors after customizing WordPress permalinks
Fixing 404 errors after customizing WordPress permalinks

After this step, the old links will display the 404 error as described in the next step.

Manual editing of the .htaccess file

Now let's move on to manually fixing the annoying 404 errors. Log in to your server via FTP and search for the .htaccess file. This is located in directories such as /wp-content/ and /wp-includes/. A simple method is to temporarily set the file permissions to 666 to make the file writable. Then perform the original solution again.

Make sure that you do not forget to reset the authorizations to 660. Alternatively, you can also enter the following code manually in your Insert .htaccess file:

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress

Testing and checking

Now start testing the URLs you noted earlier to make sure they are redirecting properly. Also search your website in search engines to ensure that the URLs are forwarded correctly.

Contact us for support with 404 errors

If none of the steps to resolve the 404 errors have been successful, please do not hesitate to contact our around-the-clock contact our technical support team. Please provide us with the exact URLs that are causing the unwanted 404 errors and explain the troubleshooting steps you have taken so far. With this information, we can initiate the next stage of troubleshooting as quickly as possible and resolve your problem.

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