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How to resolve the wordpress 404 permalink error on a Windows server

  • IT

If you want to know how to resolve a wordpress 404 permalink error here is a solution when using a Windows based webserver

I’ve been having trouble sometime now with this and wanted to activate it to improve my SEO score aswell as my readibility of my website rather than use the generic option for wordpress

Further information can be found here WORDPRESS PRETTY PERMALINKS

The method used is pretty permalinks when you activate requires 3 things

  • Apache rewrite module to be enable
  • Symlinks and Directory overrides are enabled
  • Permission to the folder

Here is the solution used. Before you carry this out I recommend creating a test blog so that if you break it, nothing is affected on your main site. Once you are sure it’s fixed implement the changes to live

Open up the apache conf file in a text editor (I prefer Notepad++). The standard Notepad program in Windows can’t handle large file sizes. Notepad++ also displays line numbers, so it’s great for resolving errors quickly that are generated with your config saying error on line ….

When your apache httpd.conf is open look for the rewrite engine module. You can do this by hitting ctrl+f and then typing “rewrite_module” – this should take you to around line 118. When you find this you should see an entry with the below. You need to delete the # from the start so it reads like the following. This will allow apache to rewrite directories as a module


Activating “Symlinks” and Directory overrides (this allows apache to override .htaccess rules on specific folders if there is a .htaccess file present in this folder. Hit ctrl+f again and this time type in “AllowOverride” – the value you are looking to change is AllowOverride None, change it to All

If you have virtual hosts they will have their own directory settings in their containers


To give wordpress access to the .htaccess file to edit it on the fly for you which I definately recommend by the way. Way easier than troubleshooting yourself. You need to make sure the directory is writable. On a linux install it’s just a case of changing the folder permissions to 666. On a Windows installation this generally is already setup. Just don’t screw around with any folders and it’s just a case of putting the .htaccess in there.

Firstly create a default .htaccess file. Open up your text editor and put in the standard rewrite code for a .htaccess file. You will need to change the directory of your Blog to whatever installation directory you have.

So if your blog is installed in a directory www/my123 the below would read
ReWriteBase /my123/ ReWriteRule . /my123/index.php

htaccess code

Once everything is done you should be go for launch. After this, just stop your apache server client and start it again (not restart, I prefer stop > start) and then providing everything goes green your config should be working. Activate your desired permalink setting and then everything should be good for go with your new SEO optimised blog posts.