I have a search.php file in my theme that displays search results.

Search queries directed to https://example.com/search/query/ display the search results correctly. WordPress natively supports this URL structure.

I would like to be able to browse directly to https://example.com/search/ without adding a search query, and have it display my search.php file, but it returns a 404 error.

How can I make this page work?

  • https://example.com/search/query/ is actual https://example.com?s=query which is generated by wordpress permalink structure.
    – GKS
    Nov 24, 2016 at 16:09
  • @GovindKumar Yes I know, but browsing to https://example.com/?s= does not return a 404 error, while https://example.com/search/ does.
    – Swen
    Nov 24, 2016 at 16:15
  • 1
    Answering this question requires knowledge of how that plugin works.
    – Milo
    Nov 24, 2016 at 16:17
  • Actually, WordPress natively supports the https://example.com/search/query/ structure. I have updated my question.
    – Swen
    Nov 24, 2016 at 16:54
  • ok, I edited the question a bit for clarity, since plugin is not involved at all.
    – Milo
    Nov 24, 2016 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


The search rewrite rule only captures the pattern search/(.+)/?$. A request to search/ matches the root pages rule, so WordPress tries to find a page with that slug. You could create a page at that location and load a template via a filter, or, you could add a rewrite rule that just does an empty search:

function wpd_empty_search_fix(){
add_action( 'init', 'wpd_empty_search_fix' );
  • That rewrite rule did not work for me. I guess I'll try creating the search page manually.
    – Swen
    Nov 25, 2016 at 16:35
  • @Swen - visit the Settings > Permalinks page to flush rewrite rules. New rules aren't picked up until the option that stores them long-term is emptied and repopulated.
    – Milo
    Nov 25, 2016 at 18:52

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