I published an article with permalink slug:


Then after publishing, I changed the permalink slug to writing-lorem. Now, whenever I visit /writing, it redirects to /writing-lorem.

I want to use the writing slug for a new category but can't, it changes to writing-2.

To attempt to remove all records of the writing slug, I looked in the DB for the post_name column under that post, but the value was the new slug writing-lorem.

Then I search for other posts with the writing value, none found.

Where exactly is that slug stored and how can I remove it so that I can use it for the category?

2 Answers 2


It's in the table postmeta with the meta_key of _wp_old_slug

If you wanted to clear all of the old slugs you could use this:

DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_wp_old_slug';

  • 1
    I searched through that meta_key, did not find the relevant slug. Very strange. Is it possible it can be anywhere else?
    – Christine Cooper
    Sep 3, 2014 at 17:32
  • I've been looking through the DB and have only found old slug information in the postmeta table. Are you 100% sure you changed the old slug? I would navigate to the page/post in the admin section and add the "Slug" area from screen-options to ensure it's actually changed. That's the only other thing I can think of. Sep 3, 2014 at 17:49
  • 1
    It is definitely changed, I double checked. It really baffles me, where else could it possibly be.
    – Christine Cooper
    Sep 3, 2014 at 18:14
  • Sorry I couldn't be of any more help. I have no idea where else to look. Maybe this would help. Core Issue 12473 It's only but might be able to shed some light. Sep 3, 2014 at 20:06
  • 1
    Thank you very much for your assistance. I found where the slug was stored, see my answer.
    – Christine Cooper
    Sep 4, 2014 at 13:13

We determined that the slug was not stored in postmeta meta_key _wp_old_slug.

In a final attempt to find where this slug is stored. I performed a search for the exact phrase of writing and found a few results. The one of interest was in wp_terms.

I deleted that entry and then changed the slug of the category to /writing and it is working. The strange part was that there were no records within wp_terms that connected the post to the slug.

Maybe someone is knowledgeable about this table...

  • 1
    The wp_terms table holds "The categories for both posts and links and the tags for posts". So you must have had a category or tag already using the writing slug. Since slugs must be unique across posts/pages/categories/tags Wordpress appends a number to any duplicate, as you found when you changed the slug of your post.
    – Tony
    Apr 13, 2015 at 13:30

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