Web Tech – What Is a Permalink?

The term “permlink” has been around for a long time on the Internet and anyone who uses WordPress has run into it, but what, exactly does it mean? The basic geeky definition is the direct link to a post in a blog, bulletin board or a forum after the post has passed off the front page. Because the link remains unchanged for that post, it makes it possible to find that post.

In the very early days of blogs and forums, it was much like how Facebook is now tech web post . If you wanted to link to a Facebook entry on your blog post, you couldn’t because there is no permanent link to it. That’s how all sites once were.

Then someone came up with a way to “permanently link” to any post, and everything changed. The first permalinks weren’t pretty and they weren’t really very human-friendly, but they worked, and if you put one into your article or blog post, that link would always go to that page.

With WordPress, the default way that permalinks look is odd. It’s not human friendly, it’s not easy to remember and it definitely does nothing for your site SEO. They are full of question marks and equal signs and numbers. That’s because they aren’t actually pointing to a page, they’re pointing to the place in the database where that page lives.

It’s a bit ironic that I would need to explain how to setup WordPress for someone that wants to develop tech-related content, but I’ve promised to guide you from the ground up so let’s begin. WordPress is a blogging platform that just happens to be my personal favorite. Some people will argue that WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), but I’ll refrain from entering that argument and just say that it is a great tool that allows me to publish content on the web quickly and efficiently. Once you’ve registered your domain and chosen your web host your next step is setting up WordPress. Hopefully you’ve taken my advice and signed up with Bluehost, but for the purpose of this tutorial I will assume you took a different route.

If your hosting company does not offer a WordPress automatic installation you will need to start by verifying you have FTP access. Personally I use a free piece of software called Filezilla to manage my FTP accounts, but feel free to use CuteFTP, SmartFTP, Fetch or any FTP software you are comfortable using. Now that you have FTP software installed and you have verified that you are able to connect to your web server using the login credentials given by your web host it is time to download WordPress here. The default download of WordPress will be a zip file that you will need to extract prior to transferring to your webspace via FTP. While connected using your FTP software you will need to decide where you want to install WordPress, but by default it should be within the httpdocs or public_html folder. If you plan on building a traditional website and simply want to incorporate your Tech Blog as one aspect of the site then you will need to create a new folder inside the httpdocs or public_html folder. It is now time to transfer the files you extracted from the WordPress.zip download.

At this point things might get a little tricky for the novice, but I have faith in you so pay close attention and we’ll get you through the next step. Inside the control panel on your web host will be a link to MySQL Databases. WordPress is built on a SQL database – every post, title, comment, category and tag is stored into a record in this database and that text is dynamically called upon via php code to render the blog (don’t worry if that didn’t make much sense, sometimes I get carried away). So now you are within the MySQL section of your control panel on your web host – now it’s time to create a database. You will need to remember the name of the database, the username and the password. This information will be necessary in the next step of the process.

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