I need random (and unique) alphanumeric permalinks. I've looked at several plugins but they all seem to do some form of redirection to a longer URL. That's not what I want, I want the permalink to be changed.

Basically, I'm wanting URLs like bit.ly or 9gag.com.

I've looked, but came up empty in my searches - does a plugin exist that does this? If not, could someone point me into the right direction as to how I might accomplish it? I'm pretty self sufficient in PHP but I'm not very familiar with WordPress yet.

The easiest way I could think of is something like add_filter("post_slug", md5(rand())) (if that were actually valid code). Obviously, I'd have to check for duplicate slugs and what not...

Honestly, what I'd much rather prefer is something like: example.com/prefix/hf434g5ay/postname In that the /prefix/alphanumeric-key is required but postname is used for SEO.

2 Answers 2


If you'd like to keep your slugs for SEO, then you'll want to define a new rewrite tag and leave the default behavior for post slugs.

If you'd like a unique id, then instead of looking up possible duplicates, why not just re-use the post ID which is guaranteed to be unique given a MySQL primary index – you can convert it to a base36 number if you want it to look more like bitly.

add_action( 'init', function() {
    add_rewrite_tag( '%my_id%', '([a-z0-9]+)' );

add_action( 'pre_get_posts', function( $query ) {
    if ( ! $query->is_main_query() || is_admin() )

    $id = $query->get( 'my_id' );
    if ( ! empty( $id ) ) {
        $query->set( 'p', base_convert( $id, 36, 10 ) );
        $query->set( 'name', null );

add_filter( 'post_link', function( $permalink, $post ) {
    $id = base_convert( $post->ID, 10, 36 );
    return str_replace( '%my_id%', $id, $permalink );
}, 10, 2 );

Then change your permalinks structure to /%my_id%/%postname%/ in Settings - Permalinks. If you want more than 0-9 and lowercase characters, you can look for some base 62 implementations, though I'm not a big fan of case-sensitive URLs.

Hope that helps.


To append a random slug to a post using something like:

add_filter( 'wp_unique_post_slug', 'unique_slug_108286', 10, 4 );

function unique_slug_108286( $slug) {    
    $slug = mt_rand(); //just an example
    return $slug;

I'm pretty sure WP will handle duplicates using this filter (it does by default) so you do not need to check for them yourself.

You can add a prefix manually in your permalinks admin setting by setting it to something like /prefix/%postname%/

It might be better to use a category or custom taxonomy for the prefix. As for setting the random slug before the postname like prefix/hf434g5ay/postname I think it would require using the http://codex.wordpress.org/Rewrite_API , it would be easier to create a custom post type to do this instead of mangling the default "posts".

  • Thanks, that filter got me started but unfortunately it is applied after the check for duplicates. `wp-includes\post.php:3084' is where it's applied. Jul 30, 2013 at 16:14
  • Hmm that is good to know and also bad news.
    – Wyck
    Jul 30, 2013 at 16:44
  • Either way, I was able to simply copy part of the WP native code into my filter to check for uniquness. Plus, the slugs I'm generating aren't really random - they're based off of the post_id and a few other static strings to create a min length. Very doubtful that they'll ever not be unique. Anyway, I got the prefix/alphanumeric-key URL scheme working. That's all I care about for now. Thanks Jul 30, 2013 at 17:58
  • You should post your solution as an answer to close this thread.
    – Wyck
    Jul 30, 2013 at 18:04

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