Cutline Theme for WordPress

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Why Don’t My “Archives” and “About” Links Work?

September 7th, 2006 · 176 Comments · How To

You’ve followed the setup instructions perfectly. You’ve done a bang-up job creating your Archives and About pages, but your links in the navigational bar still don’t work. What’s wrong? How do you fix this?

The Problem

The header code was constructed under the assumption that your permalink structure ends with the post name (for more info, read this section of the WordPress Codex). Unfortunately, the WordPress default permalink structure is not constructed this way. Thus, whenever someone who is using the default permalink structure attempts to use the links in the navigation menu, they will encounter this problem (i.e. their links won’t work).

The WordPress default permalink structure carries absolutely no semantic meaning in terms of the URL construct.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Why did he create the theme to work with a permalink structure that differs from the default structure?” Luckily, I have a good answer this time! The WordPress default permalink structure carries absolutely no semantic meaning in terms of the URL construct. It’s got question marks, equal signs, and numbers, and it’s just plain ugly. The “pretty permalink” structure, on the other hand, carries quite a bit of pertinent information with it, including chronology and a shorthand version of the post name itself. Most WordPress “purists” opt for this type of permalink structure because there is a growing movement on the web to use URLs that actually mean something to humans (rather than just to servers).

Fortunately, there are two possible solutions to this problem, and you can implement whichever one best suits your needs and abilities.

Solution #1

Change your permalink structure.

  • Log in to your WP Administration panel and click on the Options link.
  • Next, click on Permalinks in the sub-navigation menu.
  • Do one of the following:
    • Choose the second option (Date and name based)
    • Or choose the fourth option (Custom), and then write /%postname%/ in the associated text field
  • Click on the Update Permalink Structure button. If you’re lucky, WordPress will automatically update your directory structure, and no further editing will be necessary. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll have to do a minor .htaccess modification in order to complete the permalink structure transition.

In the event that you have to do an .htaccess mod, WordPress will actually supply you with the necessary code to make everything happen. Simply copy that code, and then start a new document in the text editor of your choice (but not the standard Notepad that comes with Windows! I recommend TextPad). Paste the code in the new document, and save the file as simply “.htaccess” (the preceeding period is crucial). Once you’re done, upload that file to your core WordPress directory folder.

Obviously, if you already have an .htaccess file, then you’ll have to concatenate the existing file with this new snippet of code that WordPress has provided. If this paragraph sounds like Greek to you, then you probably don’t need to worry about this step 🙂

I realize that this explanation is somewhat cryptic, and if you’d like some more information, you ought to check out what the WordPress Codex has to say on this topic.

Solution #2

Change your header file to work with your directory structure. If you don’t want to change your permalink structure as indicated above, then you can always modify the header to accommodate your newly-created Archives and About pages. Whenever you create a page, it is assigned a unique identity number. In order to make the links in your navigation menu work correctly, all you have to do is modify the destinations of the Archives and About links in the header.php template file.

Before modification, your header.php file contains this code:

<li><a class="archives" href="http://path_to_your_blog/archives/">archives</a></li>
<li><a class="about" href="http://path_to_your_blog/about/">about</a></li>

After modification, it should look something like this (changes indicated in red):

<li><a class="archives" href="http://path_to_your_blog/?page_id=3">archives</a></li>
<li><a class="about" href="http://path_to_your_blog/?page_id=2">about</a></li>

The numbers above (3 and 2) are used as examples only. The unique IDs of your Archives and About pages may be different, so you need to verify them on your own WordPress installation. Here’s how you do that:

  • In your WordPress Administration panel, click on the Manage link in the navigation menu.
  • Next, click on the Pages link in the sub-navigation menu.
  • The leftmost column is labeled ID – enter the appropriate value for each page into your header.php file, and your links will work!

If you still have problems, please let me know in the comments…Thanks!


176 Comments so far ↓

  • Bonita

    gotten the archives page up, also managed to solve the simpleviewer gallery issue. had to tweak the template code in archives.php and search results.php from
    “” to

    But now i face another issue. I had chosen my frontpage (which i renamed home) to display a static page instead of latest posts. the funny thing is, now my search tool doesn’t work! I key in a value and hit search, it does for a while, but doesnt display any results, instead my frontpage still remains.

    I tried to change it to reflect latest post, tried changing themes, tried deleting the cutline folder and reinstall again, even deleted the posts that was suppose to show on frontpage but NOTHING works! My frontpage still reflects the posts that I have deleted! Aaargh! Now even my categories tool doesn’t work anymore.

    Every other page now shows a raw cutline, because i have reinstalled it, but it is only my frontpage. What info is it running on? If I have deleted and change everthing?

    I did clear my cache and reload, even deleted my bookmarks.

    please help! tks!

  • Bonita

    I finally know what was the problem!

    I opened my webpage using a HTML editor, just to change what is showing between the tags. I saved it as index.html and uploaded via FTP.

    I reinstalled wordpress and did the above again and the same problem resurfaced. So i just deleted the index.html file and everything is alright.

    Question is I still really want to edit what is showing between the tags, and also one of the sidebar menu, from “blogroll” to just “links”. I can’t find any option to edit in wordpress.

    Can anyone advice me how to do it? If I should still using html editor, what should i save and upload the file as? php? or what?


  • Alvin


    To change “blogroll” to links first click on the blogroll tab. Then click on “Add Link.” In the categories field, create a category called “links.”

    Next, go back to “Manage Blogroll” and edit the links by deselecting the “blogroll” category and selecting the “links” category.

  • Bonita


    TKS! yes i managed to change the blogroll to link. 🙂

    any idea on the title tag?

    Appreciate it!

  • Alvin

    Bonita, you’re welcome. Unfortuntely, I don’t know the answer for you. I’m just a moderately tech savvy attorney ; )

  • Enci

    Why did my comment/question get deleted? I never received and answer.

    Anyhow, I love the Cutline theme and I finally figured out the archives page. I selected the page template in the Archive Edit Pages section to be “Archives” instead of the “Default Template” as you suggested and that did the trick.

    Thanks for such a great theme. I hope I won’t be deleted next time I have a question.

  • terry

    I’ve tried both of these solutions and They still don’t work. If change the header I not longer the two different messages I get at first (one is ‘internal server error’ and the other one is ‘access forbidden’) but I only refresh to the main page. My comments also don’t work. I’m not very techy but have some aging skills, but I wish there were an easier way to make all of these things work.

  • Frank

    Hi guys,

    I was getting the 404 error on my archives link at the top of the page and was able to fix it by manually creating the page and publishing it.

    But now the Archives page I published also shows up in my Pages sidebar in addition to the link at the top, and I don’t want that.

    I tried excluding the page in Widgets but it still shows up! Any ideas?? Thanks!

  • Frank

    Never mind! Found the perfect plug-in here if anyone else had a similar problem!

  • jackson

    I want to get rid of the Archives and About pages – I just won’t use them. How can I do that without losing the format of the page? I’m very new at this. Thanks!

  • kruzman

    I just want to confirm one thing, in case I change my permanent link structure, my earlier posts would still work? If yes, then do I need to work upon to get my posts based on new permanent link structure to be re-indexed by the search engines????

  • Marshall


    I have tried all 3 cutline themes single side bar, split and 2c right. None of them will generate an archives page when the cutline option is selected.

    I have published a page and copied over the code from the archives.php page (wp-get-code) which should pull over archives by month, etc. and saved the page.

    When the archives link is clicked, the archives page will load but no archives show up.

    my permalink is /%post_id%/%postname%/

  • Shawn Collins

    I didn’t have an Archives page created in my Pages area when I checked (just installed the theme last week).

    Where can I get the code for this page, so I came manually insert it?

  • Neil

    Just a thank-you – I’ve been running around the net for about 12 hours looking for a solution to the problem of my About link not working – this is a simple explanation that worked for me.

  • Mark Dowling


    Please, please go through the posts in this thread. Chris (original author) has very kindly covered this topic a number of times.

    Look at post 74. It’s all there. Don’t forget to select ‘archives’ as the page template.

    Believe me, it works just as it should.

  • Shawn Collins

    Thanks Mark – that was too easy and now I feel dopey. Apologies.

  • Kevin


    I apologize for being another one of those people who can’t figure out the Archives and About pages, but I can’t…

    I changed my header.php and managed to get an archives page and an about page show up, but there isn’t anything on either one of them except for the widgets from the front page…

    But that’s a step up – before that, all I got was the front page itself!

    I tried republishing each one, changing the options, you name it… but obviously I screwed up something…

    If you have a few minutes, could you check out what I’m doing wrong?


  • Mark Dowling

    Shawn, 🙂

    You’re in great company. It took me weeks to find that ‘archives template’ bit & make it work! All the best, Cutline is a great theme & I’m using it now on three blogs.

  • Mark Dowling

    Hi Jackson,

    Just edit the header.php file. To do this you need to use your FTP application to change the file permissions from 644 to 666. This makes the file editable.

    Next, look for some code about half way through that looks like:


    What you need to do is ‘comment’ it out. So immediately before the first in the code above, add

    in the code above, add


    So your bit of code should look like

    href=”/about/”>about –>

    Voila! The archive and about links at the top of the page are gone!

    When you’ve tested the above, don’t forget to change the file permissions back to 644 so nasty people can’t do things to it.

  • Mark Dowling

    OK. Jackson, it interpreted all my code snippets so they won’t display. Not sure how I can get this info to you. Can you leave me a message on, and I’ll email it to you.

  • Jackson

    It came to my email address as you wrote it, so I see what you mean. I’m afraid I have no idea how to change file permissions… I’m using the bluehost interface.

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  • Justin

    thanks for the theme and the support info…great stuff.

  • Edwin

    Thanks for the theme. With your post above (#74) i had that archives page working in seconds 🙂

  • Curt


    I followed the above instructions on setting the Date and name based options. And adding the script to the .htaccess file.

    It fixed my “about” page. It half fixed my archive page. The the archive page is now showing up…. but it is an error 404 page.

    What am I missing?

  • Curt

    I am making some progress on installing version 1.1 of cutline on WP 2.3.1

    1. I followed all these instructions and now have a page called archive that displays, but it isn’t an archive page…

    What can I be missing?

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  • longacre

    Worked like a charm. Archives & About page now working. Don’t know what I would do without this forum.

  • Carlos Canales

    Great Design! Excelent tutorial, I was braking my head to make the Archives and About links work… Thanks for this ginormous share!

  • Enrique

    Hello All,

    I feel like an idiot but I have published “about, archives, and sitemap” pages in addition to changing permalink structure and uploading .hta file. I also updated header file as indicated in tutorial but I still can’t get navigation links to work and receive this message, “You don’t have permission to access /blog/archives/ on this server,” even though access is 755. Appreciate any help!

  • Sean

    Let me say I am not themost wordpress genious but I can follow directs. I can not get access to a hidden file to change the .hta file. So, I have to try the other solution with the page numbers. the trouble is there is the header file. it reads <a href=”/archives/”>Archives
    what do I change for example. If you can I would like to go over this on the phone. I am using version 2.3 I have the permlinks set to %postnam already.


  • Sean

    <a href=”/archives/”>Archives

  • Convent Station Guy

    OK, tried solution #1 but it did not solve the problem by using /%postname%/. The rest of the solution is totally confusing to me. “If you’re not so lucky, you’ll have to do a minor .htaccess modification in order to complete the permalink structure transition. In the event that you have to do an .htaccess mod, WordPress will actually supply you with the necessary code to make everything happen. Simply copy that code,” ok so where will wordpress give me this code?? The archive page as it currently sits just gives a error page 404 but there is not any usable info on that page. Help Help Help.

  • Convent Station Guy

    OK, The About page works now but the Archives still do not work. I went with /%postname%/ under custom.

    Any ideas of what the solution is for the Archives issue is. Oh, is it possible that using the SRG Clean Archives plug-in may be part of the problem.

    here is the blog that I am trying to get this to work on.



  • Michael Satterfield

    I followed your instructions to modify the header.php file and now when about and archives gets clicked from the home page it goes to In site admin in wp, I can see it when I go to the page view from the manage section. Why can’t I input my web address in a search engine and see it that way in about and archives. What do I need to do. Please help.

  • Michael

    My sitemap problem remains unresponsive to the solution you describe above.

    I notice also that the About and Archives pages exist in Page Management, as do any new pages I create. They are all visible when I try to view them thru Page Management;.but none can be accessed from the website itself. I get 404 pages for them all. I tried the remedy you suggest above for non-working Sitemap but it remains another 404, unviewable webpage like the others.

  • Michael

    Thank you for the help. This is my first blog and I finally got the Archives and About pages working. It worked by modifying the .ht access file. If I can do it anybody without knowledge can do it. Thanks again!!

  • Eileen McMullin

    Wonderful design. Fell in love with it immediately. TY for the great support, had trouble with the About page link. Found your suggestions quickly. Changing the permalink structure worked for me.
    After experiencing your support, I know that deciding on the Cutline theme was the right thing to do.

  • Dee-Dee

    Hiya Chris 🙂
    Love the Cutline theme -thanks! (I’m using my own header graphic)
    Thanks also for the great theme tutorials and support. It’s truly refreshing to find a theme I like and get as much help as you give. (*hug)
    However I have been chasing my tail for the last few hours trying to get my Archives link to work. I’ve read everything here and tried everything suggested…
    editing header.php…
    permalink structure…
    turning cutline options on and off and on again…
    to no avail.
    So I thought I would start from scratch and create a new archives page and check all the options not just the “page slug”
    I’m using WordPress 2.2 and noticed on the write page editor that there is an option box labeled “Page Template” – uh-huh
    Options include: Default template, “Archives”, and Sitemap – Eureka!
    Selected Archive options and hey presto! it all works.
    I haven’t seen this mentioned here so thought I’s add my 2 cents worth

  • ElTito

    as you can see, I’m JUST getting started…and sorry, but have read all the posts and tried everything I could.

    How the hell can I setup my About page?
    This is my site:


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  • Jaybirdman

    Thanks for your great Cutline theme, and thanks for all the work you do to support it. After I moved my blog from one server (local, inside my home network) another one (also local), I experienced the same problems this thread covers, and followed your instructions (the Header code has changed a bit from the example in solution 2, but not so much I couldn’t figure it out) to fix it. Everything works fine now and I appreciate it. I recommend to anyone reading this to read the links at the top of this page closely. It will work, and it’s just not that difficult.

  • Jeffrey

    Chris – Great layout, I love the design.

    I was banging my head against the wall trying to get my archives page to work, until I read Dee-dee’s comment.

    Dee-dee… thanks! I was going crazy, but setting “default template” worked like a charm!

  • Jaybirdman

    Chris – One more thing I’ve found out about this problem. I had to use solution 2 above, because I couldn’t get the “semantic web” type links to work on my server. I did some more research, and found that those semantic web links only work when:
    Apache has its mod_rewrite engine running The rewrite rules can be accessed in the .htaccess file.

    In my case I had the first part right, but because the main server configuration had AllowOverride = None, the htaccess file was ignored. I changed AllowOverride to All (it actually only needed FileInfo to work), and bingo! The whole thing worked. Then I went back and reverted the changes I’d made in the header template. I don’t know how useful this is, because not every Cutline user will have access to their Apache configuration files, but this worked like a charm.

  • Neil Teasdale


    Great job on the Cutline it looks and works better than most and doesn’t have a dull blog feel to it.

    I am also having a small issue with my Archives. I’ ve read all posts but this problem hasn’t come up in the past comments and I’m thinking it’s gotta be something simple I’m missing.

    -First off, I’m using Cutline 3
    -I’m running pretty permalinks no issues.
    -I’ve updated my Cutline option for archives.
    -I’ve added my Archives page with post slug and archives template.
    -I’ve checked my header.php several times and don’t see any reference to my About or Archives pages????

    But having said that, I’m not sure it would help because that would get me to my Archives page but my issue is after that. If I go to “Visit my archives” in my recent entries column it goes to my “Archives” page OK, but when I click on the month it keeps going back to my home blog URL.

    Also, when I click on my month from my left sidebar Archives it also goes to my home blog URL.

    If I hold my cursor over a specific month my browser at the bottom shows that the link is going to my blog URL …./blog/2007/12 but when I click it, it goes straight to my home blog URL again.

    I’m thinking it’s just a tweak in one of my files but I can’t find it. Anything you or someone out there can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot,


  • Yvette

    I am trying to make the directory structure for adding my links, but the code mentioned above does not look like the code I have in my header.php file.
    this is the code I have, and do not want to take a chance and putting some code in the wrong place.
    Where do I put the correct code? thanks

    <a href=””>Home
    <a href=”/archives/”>archives
    <a href=”/about/”>about

  • Reagan

    I have 404 error on my Sitemap and Archives page If I’m not an Admin. Normal visitors gets a 404 error when accessing the archives and sitemap. How can I resolve this?

  • Anne Kulinski

    Hey Yvette,

    I was having the same problem as you, I believe.

    Basically, what I did was create the Archives and About pages through the Admin section “Write” –> “Pages”.

    First, create the page named “Archives” and on the right side of the page, selected the Page Template as “Archives”. Once this is done, click “Publish”.

    This will take you back into the Manage screen for the Pages. From here, you should automatically see a link on the top that reads “Manage Pages / View Page”. Click on “View Page”. From here, you can check out the URL and it should read something like “”. Copy the “?page_id=9″ part and go into the header.php file.

    Once in the header.php file, you should find some code that reads something like:

    <a href=”/archives/”>archives

    Change that code to:

    <a href=”/?page_id=9″>archives

    If I was better with code, I would be able to hi-light that more, but basically change the “/archives/” part to “?page_id=9” or whatever your URL said.

    You can do the same for the About page. Create the page, view it, check the URL for the page id code. Grab that and instead of changing “/archives/”, find the code for “/about/” and enter the page id info.

    Once you’ve changed the header.php file, FTP it to your site and you should be all good!

    I hope that helps! I was going crazy reading all of the previous help and not getting anywhere, but this worked AND makes sense to me. Good deal!


  • greg lowe

    i get most of this. but where is the “core wordpress directory”? there is no directory that has this name. is it themes or wp-admin wp-content. also i use a mac so .htaccess becomes a hidden file. any advice?


  • Herman

    How do I use just one header?
    How do I create extra links for additional pages?

    I looked through all the above comments but did not find a solution.


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