I created a page template to serve information dynamically.

For url like

example.com/the-hamptons => index.php?page_id=92&filter=the-hamptons

For url like

example.com/page-that-exists <- show page

Basically, if the url points to a page that exists, show the page. If the page does not exist, pass everything after the / to the page template in variable 'filter'.

I added the following to functions.php in my child theme.

function add_query_vars($aVars) {
    $aVars[] = "filter";
    return $aVars;

// hook add_query_vars function into query_vars
add_filter('query_vars', 'add_query_vars');


function add_rewrite_rules($aRules) {
    $aNewRules = array('/([^/]+)/?$' => 'index.php?page_id=92&filter=matches[1]');
    $aRules = $aNewRules + $aRules;
    return $aRules;

// hook add_rewrite_rules function into rewrite_rules_array
add_filter('rewrite_rules_array', 'add_rewrite_rules');

I get a page not found when I type a url that does not exist.

If type a url that exists, it shows the correct page in that url.

Thank you for the help.

  • you can't do this with a rewrite rule. rules are in a hierarchy, the first rule that matches the pattern "wins". the query is then run, which is what determines if a page is a 404 or not.
    – Milo
    Feb 24, 2019 at 6:22
  • @Milo if that was the case wouldn't all rewrites fail? Can I rewrite example.com/locations/the-hamptons?
    – jdias
    Feb 24, 2019 at 13:20
  • rewrites work because each content type has a unique pattern- that's why categories have category in the url, and custom post types have a post type slug, it makes those rules unique. you can certainly create a more specific rule, but you can't have a general catch-all rule.
    – Milo
    Feb 24, 2019 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


You are getting a 'page not found' because it is exactly that, not found.

What you can do is create a page, for instance, called 'locations' then set it up like this

example.com/locations/the-hamptons => index.php?page_id=[id_of_locations]&filter=the-hamptons


What I recommend is to don't overly complicate the things, this is somewhat a task more complicatedly to do.

WordPress will redirect all the pages that don't exist to a 404.php File.

From there, the most handy thing is to make a page that have a title saying something like: "Ups, you are lost." Then maybe give some example of pages/post/ what you want to give where the user might be interested and jump to.

Creating a page dynamically that doesn't exist doesn't sound like a good idea to me, but maybe I'm just wrong, and you have a solid reason... Just my opinion.


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