How to Fix WordPress Posts Returning 404 Error

WordPress posts returning a 404 error is a common issue that usually happens when the rewrite rules in the .htaccess file get corrupted or when the permalink settings are not properly configured. This error means your WordPress site’s content is not lost, but the web server cannot find the requested posts or pages. Here’s how you can troubleshoot and fix this problem:

Reset Permalink Settings

Resetting the permalink settings is often the easiest way to fix the 404 error for posts and pages. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Navigate to Settings > Permalinks.
  • Note down the current permalink setting (so you can revert back if needed).
  • Select a different permalink structure, click Save Changes.
  • Then, revert back to your original permalink setting and click Save Changes again.

This process forces WordPress to flush and regenerate the .htaccess file’s rewrite rules, which can fix the 404 error.

Manually Edit the .htaccess File

If resetting the permalinks doesn’t work, you may need to manually edit the .htaccess file. This file can become corrupted or might not have the correct permissions to update automatically.

  • Connect to your site using an FTP client or through the File Manager in your hosting account’s control panel.
  • Locate the .htaccess file in the root directory of your WordPress installation. If you can’t see it, make sure your FTP client is set to show hidden files. In some clients, this file might be hidden by default.
  • Download a backup of the .htaccess file to your computer (in case you need to restore it).
  • Edit the .htaccess file and replace its content with the default WordPress rewrite rules:
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress
  • Save the changes and upload the file back to your server.
  • Check your site to see if this resolves the 404 error.

Ensure the .htaccess File is Writeable

WordPress needs to be able to write to the .htaccess file. If it’s set to a permission level that doesn’t allow writing, WordPress won’t be able to update permalink structures.

  • Using your FTP client or File Manager, check the permissions for the .htaccess file.
  • The permissions should be set to 644 or 664. To change the file permissions, right-click on the .htaccess file, select “File Permissions,” and then update the numeric value.
  • After setting the correct permissions, try resetting your permalinks again through the WordPress dashboard.

Check for Plugin Conflicts

Sometimes, a plugin (especially caching or SEO plugins) might interfere with the permalinks. To check for plugin conflicts:

  • Deactivate all your plugins via the WordPress Dashboard under Plugins > Installed Plugins.
  • Reactivate them one by one, checking your site for the 404 error after each activation.
  • If the error reappears after activating a particular plugin, you’ve likely found the source of the problem. Check the plugin’s settings or seek an alternative plugin.

Check Your Server Configuration

If none of the above solutions work, the issue might be with your server configuration. This is particularly relevant if you’ve recently moved to a new hosting provider.

  • Contact your hosting provider’s support team and explain the issue. They can check to see if the server is correctly configured to handle WordPress’s permalink structure.


The WordPress posts returning a 404 error can typically be resolved by resetting permalinks or fixing the .htaccess file. These steps usually address the issue, but if the problem persists, it might be due to a more complex server or database issue, requiring professional support from your web host or a WordPress specialist.