You just created a new page on your business’ WordPress site. You hit Publish, and then check out finished page. In your address bar, you notice something you didn’t expect. Instead of a clean URL, there’s a -2 at the end. For example, the URL is mysite.com/about-2/ instead of mysite.com/about/.
You try to edit the page, delete the -2 from the permalink, and click OK. But the -2 stays!
Now it seems you’re stuck with an unprofessional-looking URL on your WordPress site. It’s not ideal. To get the permalinks you want for your business, learn why the -2 happens, and how you can get rid of it.
Every post, page, and media file in WordPress has a unique permalink. When you create a new post, page or media file with the same name as a previously existing item, WordPress will add a -2 to the end of the permalink (URL). It prevents duplication.
WordPress automatically generates permalinks based on the title of the page, post, or media file. As a result, you might not be aware that the URL you’re trying to use already exists until the -2 pops up in the permalink.
This video walks through how to how to remove the -2 from a WordPress URL (permalink).
What if your permalink problem isn’t that simple? You can still fix it with these steps.
1. Find the Item
Make sure you’re logged into your WordPress account. Type the desired permalink into your browser to see what’s there. If something loads, you can click the Edit button in the Admin Toolbar at the top of the page and change it.
If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have to do a little digging. Try the following in order:
Maybe the item isn’t published. Search through your site’s pages, posts, and custom post types (such as portfolio items or testimonials). To make this faster, use the search box on each of those pages in the WordPress admin area.
Maybe a media item is using the permalink. Search through the Media Library.
Maybe the item is in the Trash. Go to the admin page for pages, posts, and custom post types (such as portfolio items or testimonials). Then click the Trash link at the top of the page. Search there. You can’t see the permalink of items in the Trash, so you’ll need to first Restore the item, then click the All link at the top of the page and look there.
What if you still can’t find the item? Search your database directly. We recommend you do this only if you’re familiar with MySQL, because a misstep could break your site. Here’s a tutorial on searching a MySQL database if you’re familiar with MySQL but need specific instructions.
2. Change the Permalink
Once you find the item that has the permalink you want to use, you need to permanently delete it or change its permalink.
If you’ll never need the item again: Delete it by clicking Trash or Move to Trash. Typically this action frees up the permalink immediately. If it doesn’t, go to Trash and hit Permanently Delete.
If you may need the item again: Edit the item, then edit the Permalink. Next click OK, and then Update.
If you want to change a media file’s permalink: WordPress doesn’t allow you to can’t change permalinks for items in the Media Library. Therefore, you’ll need to delete the media item to free up its permalink. In order to delete the item, you’ll need to have the original media on your PC, or you’ll have to download it from your WordPress site. Remember to note where the media is used on your site so that you can replace it.
Once you’ve freed up your desired permalink, edit the item you want to have the permalink, and the Permalink. Click OK, and then Update (or Publish).
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