WordPress permalinks not working? I feel your pain. Read on…
Recently, after setting up another virtual host on my Linux server, for a WordPress site, permalinks were not working. Any page other than home was getting a 404 error. I searched Google for help, but kept finding the same advise, which was basically to make sure that the .htaccess file was writable and had the correct permissions.
Sadly, it took me 2 days to solve this puzzle. (About 3-4 hours total.)
Come on, I’ve done this before!
This was the second time I was doing this, so I knew I had figured it out once before, and done all the work to learn how it is done, but for some reason the dots just weren’t connecting for me. It was very frustrating!
So now I am documenting it so that if I ever add another site, I’ll have a guide to remind me of exactly what is required to get it done in minutes, rather than hours.
The basic steps:
- Create site folder, and place the files for the website there
- Set permissions
- Create virtual host conf file
- Confirm that the site comes up insecure (HTTP)
- Use Let’s Encrypt to add SSL
- Confirm that the site only works in HTTPS mode
This is where things went wrong…
It was at this point that I realized that the permalinks were not working.
I began confirming that the .htaccess was correct. Then I remembered that I had done something to avoid .htaccess last time because I had read at least one page showing how it negatively affects site performance.
I started poking around the .conf file, adding in the Directory block, and making sure it contained the code that the .htaccess file had.
But the changes were not having any effect. I was a bit baffled as to why.
The Aha Moment
Finally, I realized that I was not in the right file! Let’s Encrypt creates a second .conf file, and that is where the code needs to be!
The first .conf file has :80 in it, and handles HTTP traffic, and it redirects to HTTPS, so then the .conf from Let’s Encrypt is active. It has :443 in it, and that is where the code needs to be.
I opened up the :443 .conf file from the first site and immediately saw the code I was looking for. A few copy/paste’s later and the new site was working properly, and the mystery was solved.
The :443 .conf file has a Directory block in it, which tells the web server not to look for .htaccess files. This improves performance. All that was required was to copy the .htaccess file content into that section.
Are you also a PHP programmer? I’ve got other blog entries that you might be interested in!
More about me
I have been programming for almost 20 years. It all started with Basic and RPG III way back in high school, and have played around with many languages. PHP is my main language today.
Meet my Basenji dogs Zinga and Zulu: Basenji Adventures