Quick Tip: changing old permalinks to new format while keeping the old URLs working

Let’s look at two plugins to help when your WordPress site URLs “go bad.”

One of the things that people sometimes forget or neglect to change in a new WordPress settings is the permalink settings. Using the permalinks settings you can generate search engine friendly URLs.  The default WordPress setting is a little obscure with post and page ID tag numbers. Despite what the name says, permalinks aren’t so permanent if you decide to switch URL settings, you’ll get in trouble with missing page errors.

So if you’ve already published a lot of posts with the default settings, and have decided to switch to a more search engine friendly format, check out Dean’s Permalink Migration plugin to help the old URLs keep working while using a more SEO friendly URL structure.

Here’s also another plugin called Redirection that will “manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have.” Sounds good right? Well on one of our WordPress sites, it caused the home page to be “permanently” mapped to a page called “home” page even after we turned it off in Settings -> Reading. The solution? Either de-activate the plugin or read this workaround at WP Optimization so you can keep plugin active for other things.

Bonus: A way to avoid having broken links during any future permalink change is to install something like le petite URL, and always publish links using that plugin’s abbreviated (shortened) links, that way you links should work regardless of permalink settings.

Make your own shortened URLs with le petite url

You’ve been probably seen those shortened URLs (example: http://goo.gl/8hsrE) on Twitter or Facebook. What’s the big deal about them? With the shorter URL, they allow more of the message to fit inside Twitter’s 140 character limit. People use a URL shortener website services like bit.ly or tinyurl or Google’s goo.gl.

But now if you have a relatively short domain name, you can do the same while keeping your URL. Install the le petite url plugin and it will display an admin widget in your posts and pages with an auto generated shortened URL. The plugin is well written has a fair amount of features and seems to be reliable so far.

Real world example: the plugin generated this shortened URL for this page:


verus the full URL:


If I was really clever, I would register WPver.se (at a Sweden registrar) and use that as for both my domain and shortener. That would reduce the length of my shortened URL by 3 characters by getting rid of the “com.”

Quick Tip: This plugin includes a widget to display the shortened URL on the sidebar so your visitors don’t have to run the page through a 3rd party URL shortener and it will allow you to keep your domain name branding.