Why can’t I change my WordPress permalink?

This is a problem that has bothered me several times. I eventually figured it out and then I jump into another WordPress site two months later and it gets me again because I forget all about it. I read this online article and it reminded me of the issue and so I decided to blog about it so that it never bothers me or anyone else ever again. Or maybe the WordPress people may think of a way to make this problem less of a pain in the backside.

Let’s recreate the problem.

  1. Turn Permalinks on and set the URL to equal the post name.
  2. Create a new ‘About’ page.
  3. Delete that page.
  4. You’ll see the the URL is now something like http://your-domain-name.com/about-2

You don’t want your page named about-2! So you try to change it to ‘about‘ but it won’t let you. Instead it reverts to ‘about-2‘. Why?

The Solution

The reason is when you deleted the About page, it didn’t get entirely deleted. It was moved to the Purgatory of WordPress. It is inside the trash and until you delete the trash you will never be able to rename ‘about-2‘ to ‘about‘.

Once you delete the trash all is well again within the WordPress universe. Happy happy joy joy.

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