How do I enable WordPress permalinks in IIS?

I’ve just implemented WordPress on my webhost and have tried to turn on PermaLinks from the Options menu, but they don’t seem to be working. Someone has told me to look at my .htaccess file, but I don’t seem to have one of these. What gives?

Well, my guess is that you’ve implemented WordPress on a Windows platform (using IIS as a webserver). While most of WordPress functionality works fine on Windows (as long as you have access to PHP and MySQL), permalinks make use of an Apache feature that allows redirection of pages based on certain rules. These rules are kept in the .htaccess file in the root of the website.

So does this mean you can’t use permalinks? Luckily someone has come up with a hack that lets you use Permalinks on IIS. You can find and download the files here. This is how you implement it:

  1. Upload the files to the root folder of your website
  2. Go to the Options->Permalinks section and set up the Permalink structure you want to use
  3. You now need to change the 404 error for your webserver to to to the URL: /errorpage.asp (this process will vary depending on your hosting provider)

So how does the hack work? Well, when IIS is sent the Permalink to display it responds by saying it can’t find the file (404 – File not Found). This invokes the errorpage.asp file you uploaded which interprets the request in the same way the .htaccess file would interpret it in Apache. This is then passed back to WordPress to display the proper page.

3 thoughts on “How do I enable WordPress permalinks in IIS?

  1. You are on IIS, this is a Microsoft server. For all the functionality of WordPress you need to be on a Linux server. htaccess will not work on IIS which is probably Windows 2003 server.

    Your webhost is your first stop here…

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