What is the Best Permalinks Structure for WordPress?

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Setting up the permalinks structure is one of the first things I do after installing WordPress.

It takes less than 5 minutes but setting up correct permalinks structure can improve your blog rankings.

Permalinks is something that plays a huge role in the search engine rankings. I’m currently using %postname% permalinks structure, which works very well.

Previously I was using /%category%/%postname%, which isn’t a bad choice either. Though, it’s better to stick with the postname structure which works well for just any type of blog.

By default, your WordPress gives you 5 choices to choose from. In this post I’m going to explain the different permalink structures available to you.

permalinks structure

What are Permalinks?

Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts, as well as categories and other lists of weblog postings. A permalink is what another weblogger will use to link to your article (or section), or how you might send a link to your story in an e-mail message. The URL to each post should be permanent, and never change — hence permalink. (source)

In the WordPress, there are 5 permalinks structure available and a custom structure field.

  • Default: /%post_id%
  • Day & name: /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/
  • Month & name: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/
  • Numeric: /archives/%post_id%
  • Post name: /%postname%/

Permalinks for Scaling & Performance

If you’re just getting started with WordPress, then it’s better to have the correct permalinks structure. I know it may be hard for the first time there seem to be far too many options, but most of them are better than others. Here are few tips for selecting the best permalinks structure.

  • Never use the default %postid% structure. The postid structure yield a URL something like this – http://www.wpkube.com/?p=135. WordPress can quickly process the postid structure but it doesn’t carry any SEO benefits.
  • Never start your permalink structure with the category, tag, author, or postname fields. The structure which begins with %category%, %tag% or %author% require more server resources.
  • It’s better to start your permalink structure with a numeric field, such as the year or post ID. Ex – /%year%/%postname%/ OR /%post_id%/%postname%/

Overview

From what I have seen, /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ and /%postname%/ are the two most popular permalinks structure. Popular blogs like Mashable & ProBlogger are using the long url structures with year, month & day. From an SEO point of view, the %postname%  structure works very well and is being used by blogs like CopyBlogger.

The /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ structure is mostly used by the news related blogs or the blogs which publish 3-4 posts a day.

So if you’re starting a niche blog, then I’d surely suggest you to go with a %postname% structure or if you want to run a big news site, then go with the “Day & name” structure.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the best permalink structure. Which permalink structure you are using for your WordPress blog? Please let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Devesh Sharma is a WordPress fanatic and loves experimenting with WordPress themes & plugins.Get more from Devesh on  and Twitter.
18 comments… add one
  1. Marck says

    So what kind of permalink are you using with this blog? I have been using the /%year%/%postname%/ permaliink structure ever since and it seems to work for me with or without SEO.

    • Devesh says

      Hey Marck,

      Permalink structure is something, I gave a serious thought to before starting this blog. Currently I am using %postname% structure for this blog and it works very well.

      Thanks for the comment, bud.

  2. Paul says

    I think /postname or /year/postname are the best one’s to go for they are the best for SEO. Performance shouldn’t be too much of a problem now.

    • Devesh says

      Hey Paul,

      Yeah, it doesn’t makes much difference however I always prefer to the post name at the end of the permalink.

      Thanks for stopping by, Pual. Have a fantastic weekend.

  3. Sebastian Green says

    Should you not just use /postname then leave the /date etc or /category links to be dealt with if people access the post through a category or archive page? Some argue this could lead to duplicate content, but there are solutions to counteract this side effect.

    • Devesh says

      Hey Sebastlan,

      I know what you mean about leaving the date. Though this isn’t usually a major issue if you can noindex the archives pages.

      Thanks for sharing your insights, Green. Have a great time.

  4. Brad Dalton says

    Devesh

    Never start your permalink structure with the category, tag, author, or postname fields. The structure which begins with %category%, %tag% or %author% require more server resources.

    This is something that was fixed several releases ago. WordPress wrote a post about it and the performance issue is now resolved. I know the Codex isn’t always up to date.

    By the way, how did you remove the website field from the comment form?

  5. David Leonhardt says

    Pros and cons, pros and cons. I use several structures across my blogs. I do like best the ones with a date because it gives critical context for the reader. As a reader, I always look for the date. I often hesitate to comment on something if I don’t know it’s fresh, and often won’t read something that I am not sure is still applicable. Of course, the date cuts both ways, discouraging some people from reading older posts.

    • Devesh says

      Hey David,

      Thanks for sharing your insights. I think it depends on what type of site you’re running.

      Have a great week ahead.

  6. tonygreene113 @ 113tidbits says

    I strip out the category and date..This way since my home page makes random pulls. And it doesn’t make my content look “dated”.

  7. vinodh says

    what about prefixing post name with category ?.
    more importantly I have seen many blog posts dont have date.
    for eg in dailyblogtips blog.
    I can see “Posted on October 17, 2012″ in post meta of this post.
    how to strip that if we don’t use genesis. i mean it has easy edit plugin.
    regards
    vinodh

  8. Sonia says

    I am glad I learned the difference early on. When I had another website, I changed the permalink not knowing that it would mess up every page on my website. It was a complete mess and I am glad I fixed that problem. I had 404 pages for everything and it wasn’t until someone pointed it out that I realized that I can’t change things midway. Good post.

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