I want to create custom permalinks for my plugin using WP_Rewrite. I found the codex the have great examples and this stack topic also explained a lot to me.

Currently I've got the following code based on the codex and update 3 from the stack overflow question:

add_filter( 'rewrite_rules_array', 'custom_permalinks' );
add_filter( 'query_vars', 'custom_query_vars' );
add_action( 'wp_loaded', 'custom_flush_rules' );

function custom_flush_rules() {
    $rules = get_option( 'rewrite_rules' );
    if( !isset($rules['(employees)/([^/]*)$']) ) {
        global $wp_rewrite;

function custom_permalinks( $rules ) {
    $newrules = array();
    $newrules['(employees)/([^/]*)$'] = 'index.php?pagename=employees&employees_slug=$matches[1]';

    return $newrules + $rules;

function custom_query_vars( $vars ) {
    array_push($vars, 'employees_slug');
    return $vars;

When I visit /employees/name_of_the_employee/ the same page is represented as when visiting /employees, so there isn't shown an 404 page (which means the new rewrite rules are applied). But when I print_r($_GET) an empty array is printed. I also can't figure out how to set another template for the /name_of_the_employee page instead of the parent page.

In this stack topic there is a reference to get_query_var('employees_slug') but instead of printing the employee name, the parent page slug /employees is shown..

Anyone can tell me how to access the new children pages using a template or how I can see while it is showing?

1 Answer 1


Query vars don't end up in $_GET, use get_query_var() to fetch or check the value of your custom query vars set by rewrite rules.

Your rule is currently returning employees as employees_slug because your rule has two capture groups, so employees_slug is held in $matches[2], not $matches[1]. The first capture group is unnecessary though, so the parens can be removed.

To apply a template, you can filter page_template and check for the presence of your query var.

function wpd_employees_page_template( $template ){
    if( get_query_var( 'employees_slug' ) ){
        $template = locate_template( 'employees.php' );
    return $template;
add_filter( 'page_template', 'wpd_employees_page_template' );

Also note that a slightly simpler way to add a rule is via add_rewrite_rule hooked to the init action rather than filtering rewrite_rules_array.

  • Awesome! Everything is working now.
    – ronnyrr
    Mar 6, 2016 at 21:02

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