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permalinks in wordpress, Apache redirection, and other blog stuff

When I first put my new blog online I didn’t think to set the custom permalinks option to avoid having /index.php in all URLs (which wastes a few bytes and looks nasty).

So I decided to change to better URLs but unfortunately many people have already bookmarked the bad URLs. I wanted to give a HTTP 301 redirection when someone uses the old index.php version (so that bookmarks get updated) and then redirect to the PHP file. Unfortunately having a redirection from ^/index.php to a version without it and then a local rewrite to include index.php again doesn’t seem to work (any advice would be appreciated). So I put the following in my /etc/wordpress/htaccess file (the location for such things in Debian) so that foo.php is used instead where foo.php is a sym-link to index.php. I’m wondering whether I should file a bug report against the Debian package requesting that a sym-link be in the package to facilitate such things – if it’s not possible to do what I desire without the symlink.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
#RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/index.php/?(.*$) [NC]
#RewriteRule . /%1 [R=301,L]
RewriteCond ^/robots.txt [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
#RewriteRule . /foo.php%1 [L]
RewriteRule . /index.php%1 [L]

Update: I am now using the permalink-redirect plugin (thanks for the tip Method) which solves the problem of the obsolete URLs as well as solving the problem of having two representations of the URL (with and without a trailing slash). I have updated the above htaccess file sample to reflect my new configuration (with the old settings commented out for the benefit of people who don’t want the permalink-redirect plugin).

The way WordPress allows the table prefix to be stored in the MySQL configuration section is very handy. Some time ago I asked for advice on a blog server for multiple users and WordPress-MU was recommended, but it seems that for most situations where you want multiple blogs the non-MU version of WordPress will do the job. It seems that the main benefit of WordPress-MU is that setting up multiple blogs doesn’t require running shell scripts, which for the cases I’m most interested in doesn’t compete with the benefit that the non-MU version has of being packaged in Debian.

On the topic of WordPress in Debian, it’s a pity that none of the plugins are packaged in Debian. I plan to create a repository for plugins and themes that I use if no-one else has started such a repository. I believe that a repository of Debian packages for such things will provide significant benefits to users, including updates for security reasons and having plugins that are known to work (some of the plugins appear to only work on Windows).

Also there are a few issues that I would like to improve in WordPress. One is that the Uncategorised category is selected by default so if I select another category and forget to de-select Uncategorised then it’s a little confusing. Another is that the categories are displayed in the side-bar without mentioning the number of matching posts. The way blogger lists the number of posts per category (and sorts the categories in order) is much more convenient. Also another advantage of blogger is the handling of archives where you can click on a month to see a list of the names of all posts in that month. I’m not about to go back, but it would be nice to have those features. Does anyone have any ideas how to solve these problems?

Update2:
I have added a rule to make robots.txt not redirect. Before adding this rule /robots.txt was redirected to /index.php/robots.txt which caused a WordPress page to load, this wasted a lot of bandwidth (robots.txt is hit often) and probably caused some spiders to ignore my site.

3 comments to permalinks in wordpress, Apache redirection, and other blog stuff

  • So, here’s a question for you

    I like UTW (Ultimate Tag Warrior), but it causes my remote host to suspend my blog

    Is there a way to efficiently redirect the calls to another server, so that the my remote host server doesn’t complain?

  • The post counts are a function of the theme in use – some themes do display them.

  • Hi Russel,

    Glad to see you interested. Drop me a mail sometime buddy.

    As for your last problem about the default cat being selected. I think that ‘bug’ is fixed in the 2.1.x series. :)