Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring media and permalinks settings, part of WordPress 4 Essential Training.
- We'll skip the discussion settings for now and talk about them in the next chapter on getting and interacting with readers. Instead, let's round out this chapter by looking at the media settings and the permalink settings. Previously in the course, I talked briefly about the media settings. This is where you can change the default image sizes that WordPress generates any time you upload an image. These defaults are set by WordPress and for most cases, they're fine. They set up your thumbnails to be square and 150x150 pixels.
It sets up a medium size that has a max width of 300 and a max height of 300 pixels, meaning the images with either be as wide as 300 pixels or as tall as 300 pixels. And finally, it has a large size that's at 1024 and 1024. What'll happen when you upload an image to WordPress is it'll try to create as many of these image sizes as possible. However, if you upload an image that's smaller than 1024x1024, you won't get this large size generated. In some rare cases, you may want to change these settings.
However, these settings will soon become obsolete because the WordPress project is working on a completely new way of handling image sizes. So, my recommendation is to just know that the medium settings exist and then just completely ignore them. The only other setting on this page is the setting for where files are uploaded. So by default, when you upload a file to WordPress, it's saved inside a WordPress insulation under an Uploads folder, and then your images are organized by month and year-based folders. If you want to change those in some way, you can turn the setting off, but I find that the setting actually makes a lot of sense because it makes it easy to find the images.
I later in the course will look at the backend of WordPress and you'll actually see how this works, and I think once you see how it works, you'll agree with me that the month and year-based folder structure makes a lot of sense. The last settings on the list are permalinks. Now, permalinks are the links you see when you visit different content on your site. So right now, by default, it's set to Day and Name, meaning you'll see the URL followed by the year, month, and date, and then the name of the post itself. If you jump to the front end of your site, and go to Posts, you'll see that as the URL structure.
Domain, year, month, date, and then the title. You'll also notice that for single pages, the URL is just domain name followed by the name of the page or the name of the parent page and then the name of the child page. These are all human readable URLS and they make it easier for people to understand what they're looking at when they look at the URL, and ostensibly make it easier for our search engines to index your content, although that's up for debate.
There's a lot of debate internally in the WordPress community about what is the best permalink settings. Some people say it's Day and Name, which is the current default. Some people say it's Post Name. And some people make up their own custom structures. This is entirely up to you. However, it's important to remember, you shouldn't be changing your permalink settings often. That's because once a permalink is set, people will link to your content. If you change your permalink settings, then all those links will break and WordPress will become profoundly confused.
So, set up some permalinks that make sense to you, and keep it that way. Personally, I use the Post Name setting because I think that makes the most sense. But, some people say that's a bad idea and that may be true, although I've never experienced any problems with it. If you're unsure, just leave the default setting, which, like I said, is currently Day and Name. That may change in the future, but it's currently at that setting. And then just leave it at that. There's one more set of options under the permalink settings and that is the optional Category Base and Tag Base.
And the example here explains exactly what happens. If you set up a Category Base or a Tag base, you'll enter in an extra word in between the domain and whatever category or tag you select. So for example, if you set the Category Base to Topics, then the URL for any category index would be your domain name, topics, and then the category term. This is also a setting I rarely see anyone use, but there are certain circumstances where it may make sense to keep content organized on your site.
So use this with care, and remember, like just with the permalink settings, these are settings that should be changed very rarely, or ideally, only changed once.
Note: This course covers an older version of WordPress, which features the Classic Editor. Watch this course only if you are using the Classic Editor plugin or using WordPress 4.9 or earlier. Otherwise, watch WordPress 5 Essential Training, which covers the new Block Editor experience.
- Creating posts and pages
- Formatting text
- Publishing and scheduling posts
- Adding images, audio, and video
- Bulk editing posts and pages
- Customizing themes and menus
- Using widgets
- Extending WordPress with plugins
- Editing users profiles
- Configuring settings
- Getting new readers
- Keeping WordPress up to date and secure