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Background: I have developed and managed many WordPress sites over the years. Only one of these sites has this problem, but, based on comments on the WordPress.org forum, others are having the same problem. So far, I have not seen a solution that works.

Problem: Links work with the default setting. This setting does not add a .htaccess file to the site. The addresses look like ?page_id=12. Permalinks with just the postname also work fine. But permalinks with the category and the postname throw a "Page Cannot Be Found" error.

WordPress Permalink Options:

  1. Plain - default, no .htaccess file created

  2. Day and name - just a radio button choice

  3. Month and name - just a radio button choice

  4. Numeric - just a radio button choice

  5. Post name - this is the equivalent of adding /%postname% in the 6th option. This one works.

  6. Custom structure - the code I prefer to use is /%category%/%postname%. This one does not work on this one site. This code does work on all the other sites I have added it to.

Environment:

  • The site is hosted on SiteGround.
  • The site is running WordPress 4.6.1
  • The site is using the Matheson theme.
  • There are only 9 plugins that have been checked for being up-to-date.
  • Here is the best discussion from others, by way of documentation of the problem, that I have found so far. Unfortunately, the suggestions for a fix are weak. wordpress.org/support/topic/custom-permalink-stopped-working – Nora McDougall-Collins Nov 23 '16 at 15:32
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    You are likely to get the same answer here (indeed you already have.) Unfortunately it sounds like you are unwilling to try switching the theme. Your next best bet might be to do a fresh install of WordPress somewhere else, set your permalinks, and then install your theme and plugins until it breaks. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 23 '16 at 16:31
  • At this point, I have not clearly identified that the theme is the problem, but that does provide a great question for others who are having the same problem. I would have to have compelling evidence that it is the problem before the client would be willing to give up the theme she chose! – Nora McDougall-Collins Nov 24 '16 at 23:03
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Switch to a default theme and see if that permalink structure works or not. Outdated themes can cause issues with newer WordPress versions.

Then after this, try to deactivate one plugin at the time and check the links. One or more plugins are in conflict with structure.

Structure where you have just %postname% will work.

  • Your answer was correct. The problem was the Robo Gallery plugin. When I deactivated it, the including the category in the permalink code worked fine. Now I have to wonder why a gallery plugin will cause one permalink structure not to work. – Nora McDougall-Collins Nov 28 '16 at 0:24
  • Thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting about that important function in StackExchange. – Nora McDougall-Collins Nov 29 '16 at 2:26
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You should have no problem using the /%category%/%postname%/

Maybe try checking through your other settings on the sites it does work on and see if you can find something different that may be disabling it or hindering it from functioning the same as your other sites.

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