Developers’ Guide to the WordPress permalinks

There are plenty of information on the internet regarding how to use permalinks for SEO. Unfortunately, I did not come across any that detailed all of the helpful functions accessible in the WordPress API, such as getting the permalink value.

Most of these may be found in the WordPress documentation, however it might be pretty difficult to find all of the information you are looking for there. The following article is a summary of the most significant and often used elements to get permalinks for post, categories, archives, and navigation in general.

For the sake of completeness, I will say up front that the information in this post is meant for everyone working with WordPress, not just those using the Permalink Manager. Another thing to keep in mind is that the list may not cover all of the WordPress permalink API’s available functions. Listed below are the most commonly used and essential functions for custom development.

Post, term and archive permalinks

get_permalink($post, $leavename)
Variable Description
$post Post identifier or object. If empty, the global $post variable will be used. (int|WP_Post)
$leavename If set true, the post/page name tag will be preserved. False by default (bool)

This is the most often used permalink function, which is used in the vast majority of plugins and themes. The function outputs the complete URL of any post, page, or custom post item. More information is available in the WordPress documentation, which you can access by clicking here.

There is an alias function with the same arguments available: get_the_permalink() . Alternatively, you may call specific functions such as get_post_permalink() for posts and custom post type items, get_page_link() for pages and get_attachment_link() for attachments.

get permalink function in Rank Math plugin
The get permalink() function in action. A meta tag with a canonical URL is generated using this function by Rank Math plugin in the <head> section of HTML source.

Get shortlink of post/page

wp_get_shortlink($post_id, $context = 'post', $allow_slugs = true)
Variable Description
$post_id Post identifier. If empty, the global $post->ID variable will be used. (int)
$context When this optional argument is set ‘query’ and function called on a single post page, the current query is used to determine the ID. (string)
$allow_slugs This optional argument is used only if the shortlink URL is modified with ‘pre_get_shortlink’ or ‘get_shortlink’ filters (bool)

The primary goal of wp_get_shortlink() function is to generate a shortlink URL that is limited by default to providing “?p=123” style links for posts. The pre_get_shortlink and get_shortlink filters in plugins may be used to change the shortlink format.

get_term_link($post, $taxonomy)
Variable Description
$term The term object, ID, or slug for which a link needs to be found. (WP_Term|int|string)
$taxonomy The taxonomy of term provided in the first argument. (string)

The get_term_link() method is similar to the get_permalink() function, except it returns the complete URL address of a single term.

Get post type archive URL

get_post_type_archive_link($post_type)
Variable Description
$post_type The name (slug) of the post type for which a URL to the archive page is to be found. (string)

Go here for further information about get_post_type_archive_link() function.

Archive link sample
Its most visible use is in WooCommerce, where it is used to generate a URL link that allows customers to navigate to the main “store” page. Technically, “store” is a post type archive page for “products”.

Author archive page URL

get_the_author_meta('user_url', $user_id)
Variable Description
$field = ‘user_url’ To acquire the archive URL, set the first parameter to ‘user url’. (string)
$user_id The ID of the user whose archive URL is required. (integer)

In contrast to the previously described functions, generating a URL for an author archive takes a little more finesse. To do this, use the get_the_author_meta() function and pass ‘user url’ as the first parameter.

Get author archive URL
You can use get_the_author_meta() function to get author archive URL and display it on single post page.

Homepage and template URLs

In most circumstances, get_home_url() and get_site_url() will return the same URL and may be used interchangeably. However, if you keep the WordPress source files in a separate folder, pay attention to the function you are using. If you are still confused, check out this StackOverflow discussion for a more in-depth explanation.

Get homepage URL
If you keep your WordPress files in the main directory, you may use both functions in the same manner.

Homepage URL address

get_home_url($blog_id = null, $path = '', $scheme = null)
Variable Description
$blog_id If you are not using network/multisite configuration, leave this field empty. (integer)
$path Path relative to the home URL. (string)
$scheme Accepts ‘http,’ ‘https’, ‘login’, ‘login post’, ‘admin’, or ‘relative’ as parameters. (string)

To get a homepage link please use the get_home_url() function. There is also a “shortcut” function available: home_url() . The function returns the value defined in the “Settings -> General” panel as the “Site Address“. This function may come in handy if you want to provide a link to the front page in the navigation elements: breadcrumbs, sidebar or navbar.

WordPress files directory URL

get_site_url($blog_id = null, $path = '', $scheme = null)
Variable Description
$blog_id If you are not using network/multisite configuration, leave this field empty. (integer)
$path Path relative to the home URL. (string)
$scheme Accepts ‘http,’ ‘https’, ‘login’, ‘login post’, ‘admin’, or ‘relative’ as parameters. (string)

This function returns the URL address of the directory where WordPress plugin files are stored. You can also use an alias function: site_url() . The function returns the address specified in the “Settings -> General” field in the “WordPress address (URL)” panel.

WordPress (child/parent) theme directory URL

get_stylesheet_directory_uri() // Get child theme URL
get_template_directory_uri() // Get parent theme URL

If you do not use a child theme, get_stylesheet_directory_uri() and get_template_directory_uri() will both return the same URL and may be used alternatively.

To put it another way, if you have a child theme installed, use get_stylesheet_directory_uri() to get the URL containing its directory. The get_template_directory_uri() function may be used to get the parent directory URL.

Proper way to enqueue scripts and styles.
Both functions may be useful if you need to enqueue certain static files (images, JS, CSS) to the website.

How to sanitize URL addresses?

esc_url($url, $protocols = '')
Variable Description
$url If you are not using network/multisite configuration, leave this field empty. (string)
$protocols Path relative to the home URL. (array of strings)

You should always use esc_url() to sanitize URLs in HTML nodes (eg. <a href=””>). The function will also reject URLs that do not use one of the whitelisted protocols: http, https, ftp, ftps, mailto, news, irc, gopher, nntp, feed, and telnet. Invalid and potentially harmful characters will be automatically secured from input. For instance, ampersands (&) and single quotation marks () will be encoded as numeric entity references (&#038, &#039).

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