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Limiting the number of words or characters in Wordpress slug/permalink. I would like to limit the number to the first 5 words (or 20 characters) even if the post title is longer.
Title: Welcome to my site - this is my first post
url: mysite.com/welcome-to-my-site

Some function or alteration in the core Wordpress to achieve this result?

share|improve this question
you can edit the permalink when adding a post, but there probably is a way to automate this... – janw May 20 '12 at 12:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can probably do something with the sanitize_title hook based on the context conditionally, but I'm not familiar enough with where else sanitize_title is used to say for sure that this is a good solution. The trick to this is going to be limiting your slug without including stupid words that are going to hurt your SEO. As a launching point, try this:

add_filter( 'sanitize_title', 'wpse52690_limit_length', 1, 3 );

function wpse52690_limit_length( $title, $raw_title, $context ) {
    //  filters
    if( $context != 'save' )
        return $title;

    //  vars
    $desired_length = 20; //number of chars
    $desired_words = 5; //number of words
    $prohibited = array(
        //put any more words you do not want to be in the slug in this array

    //  do the actual work
    // filter out unwanted words
    $_title = explode( ' ', $title );
    //if you want more than one switch to preg_split()
    $_title = array_diff( $_title, $prohibited );
    // count letters and recombine
    $new_title = '';
    for( $i=0, $count=count($_title); $i<$count; $i++ ) {
        //check for number of words
        if( $i > $desired_words )
        //check for number of letters
        if( mb_strlen( $new_title.' '.$_title[$i] ) > $desired_length )

        if( $i != 0 )
            $new_title .= ' ';
        $new_title .= $_title[$i];

    return $new_title;

Note that that is completely untested and I literally just wrote it, so it may have some kinks in it, but it's a good starting place for you.

share|improve this answer
You should use mb_strlen() … and return something. A string would be useful. :) – toscho May 20 '12 at 14:53
@toscho You must have missed the last line, it returns $new_title. Thanks for the tip on strlen(), never knew that. – mor7ifer May 20 '12 at 14:57
@MichaelWilliam The add_filter was missing the last argument, so WordPress didn't pass all three parameters to the callback. It is fixed now. – toscho May 20 '12 at 16:48
@MichaelWilliam See m0r7if3r's answer (and every other answer on our site) as a hint for a possible direction. Do not expect – and do not ask for – complete working code without your own research efforts. – toscho May 20 '12 at 17:14
@MichaelWilliam That's not my code, m0r7if3r has written it. :) – toscho May 22 '12 at 1:16

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