Old Custom Permalinks Redirect: How to Prevent 404 Errors

Once you have decided on your new URL structure, the next step is to implement redirects for any existing URLs that will be changed. This will help to ensure that visitors who try to access the old URLs are seamlessly directed to the new URLs, rather than encountering a 404 error.

Without a redirect in place, users who try to access the old permalinks would encounter a 404 error, which can be frustrating and lead to a poor user experience. By implementing an old permalink redirect, the website can ensure that users are seamlessly directed to the updated content, rather than being faced with an error message.

In addition to improving the user experience, setting up a redirect can also help to maintain search engine rankings and protect the website's branding and reputation. Search engines like Google use URLs as a way to index and rank websites. If a webpage's URL changes and there is no redirect in place, search engines may not be able to find the new version of the webpage. This can result in a drop in search engine rankings, which can have a negative impact on the website's visibility and traffic.

To guarantee that visitors are sent to the correct web page, Permalink Manager offers two types of redirection. The first type is dynamic and works as a canonical redirect, being handled in PHP without any extra data being stored in the database. This means that the plugin can detect when a visitor tries to access the old (original) URL and automatically redirect them to the new canonical URL.

The second type of redirection is used in situations in which the URL of a piece of content has been modified more than once. In such situations, all intermediate URL versions are kept as "extra redirects" in a database. Visitors who have bookmarked or shared old URLs will still be forwarded to the most recent URL, resulting in a better user experience and decreasing the likelihood of error messages.

This article talks over the second type of redirection that occurs when the URL for a certain content item is changed many times.

By using Permalink Manager, website owners can easily change the URL of any page or category and automatically define a custom redirect for the old version of the URL. This helps to prevent 404 errors and ensures that users are able to access your content, even if they have an old link saved or bookmarked. This can save time and effort for website owners, as they do not need to manually set up and manage redirects for each URL that is changed.

If you decide to change the custom permalinks on your website at some point, the "Old custom permalinks redirect" feature in Permalink Manager Pro can be extremely useful. This feature allows you to automatically define a redirect for the old version of a URL whenever it is changed again.

To enable this, go to the "Settings -> Redirect settings" section in Permalink Manager Pro and select the "Extra redirects (aliases)" and "Save old custom permalinks as extra redirects" options. This will enable the plugin to automatically save the old version of the URL and use it as a redirect for the new version of the URL.

How to enable extra redirects & old permalinks fallback

As long as "Save old custom permalinks as extra redirects" option is turned on, all the previously used permalinks will be automatically saved as redirects. This would be case, if you either adjust both individual permalink or change the general permalink format (with "Permastructures" & "Regenerate/reset" tool).

See below example to check how the old permalinks are handled:

Initial URL:
http://example.com/products/books/sci-fi/2001-a-space-odyssey-25th-anniversary-edition (#1)
Custom permalink changed to:
http://example.com/2001-a-space-odyssey-25th-anniversary-edition (#2)
Old permalink
(saved as "extra redirect")
Custom (canonical) permalink
(redirect target URL)
http://example.com/products/books/sci-fi/2001-a-space-odyssey-25th-anniversary-edition (#1) ==> http://example.com/2001-a-space-odyssey-25th-anniversary-edition (#2)
Custom permalink changed again to:
http://example.com/books/2001-a-space-odyssey (#3)
Old permalinks
(saved as "extra redirects")
Custom (canonical) permalink
(redirect target URL)
http://example.com/products/books/sci-fi/2001-a-space-odyssey-25th-anniversary-edition (#1) ==> http://example.com/books/2001-a-space-odyssey (#3)
http://example.com/2001-a-space-odyssey-25th-anniversary-edition (#2)

One of the useful features of Permalink Manager is the ability to edit or remove automatically created redirects. By using the URI Editor, the website owners can easily edit or remove automatically created redirects as needed, ensuring that their website's redirects are up-to-date and accurate.

You can find more detailed instructions on how to manage the custom redirects in this article.
Manage redirects
To adjust or remove a redirect, click on "Manage redirects" button in the URI Editor and locate the redirect you want to edit.
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