A WordPress website that I maintain was running into a problem. The most recently published post would periodically lose its permalink and return a 404 error. I tried to find a solution.

The solution you see frequently mentioned for this error is to visit the settings page for Permalinks and save the settings again. From the WordPress admin dashboard, go to Settings > Permalinks and click to open that page. Then scroll down and click Save.

This worked temporarily for me. Something else was periodically causing the permalink for only the latest article to be lost.

Finding the plugin to blame

My next step was to examine all of the installed plugins, to see if something else was to blame. Since the problem was recurring periodically, I used the WP Crontrol plugin to watch the various wp-cron jobs. There were a lot of them!

I immediately suspected the caching plugin. This WordPress site uses W3 Total Cache, which is a pretty sophisticated and large plugin with a lot of options. It provides a page cache, database cache, and a number of other caches which seemed like they could be responsible for the problem.

I went through the W3 Total Cache settings, made sure they were up to date, and clicked Save on a few of the settings pages.

The returning 404 problem seems to have stopped.

What did I do to fix it?

I don’t know.

Sometimes WordPress is a pain to work with. This problem frustrated me for a week and I do not know what it was nor if it will return.