How to configure WordPress general settings

The WordPress general settings is a page you’ll likely only visit once or twice during your time owning your website, but it’s an important page. The general settings page contain many of the most important parts of your website. In this guide we will show you how to configure WordPress settings

Table of contents

General settings

The first step in learning how to configure WordPress settings is the general settings tab. You can get to general setting by either clicking on settings on the main menu or hovering over settings and selecting general from the dropdown options

You will see the following page below.

What does each field mean and do?

  • Site title. The site title is the name of the site. This will appear in the browser tab and in search engine results. This is not your URL.
  • Tagline. The tagline is a descriptive piece of text about your website. This tagline is typically shown in search results as the description for the homepage
  • WordPress address (URL(. This iis the URL of the installation of WordPress. This will normally be the homepage address and the location you set during installation
  • Site address (URL). This is the homepage address of the site. You can set the homepage to a different URL, such as a static HTML page, but most people don’t do this. By default it will be the address you entered during installation and match the address of the WordPress address (URL)
  • Administration email address.  This is the main admin email address. You can change this but the new address will need to confirm the change before it is activated
  • Membership. Check this box if you want to allow anyone to join. This option suits ecommerce websites and social networks
  • New user default role. You can define the role for new users. You can select from administrator, editor, author, contributor and subscriber. The lowest level (subscriber) is usually set by default and it’s advised not to set this option too high.
  • Site language. WordPress is multi-lingual. You can set different languages if English isn’t your native language. Even among the English options, you can set different localities. For example Australia. Even though they’re almost identical, you will notice the greeting in the top right will change from Howdy to G’day.
  • Timezone. This is an option many people forget, but i’s actually an important one. It has repercussions for timed events and sales if you have an ecommerce website. You can select from a large list of different timezones. You can select the time difference or nearest locality based on region. It’s best to use the nearest location if you live in a region which uses daylight saving as the time will auto-adjust when the time changes.
  • Date format. You can select different date formats to suit your locality and personal preference.
  • time format. Similar to the date format, you can set the way the time is displayed on your site.
  • Week starts on. You can set which day of the week the week begins on. the default day is Monday

Once all fields have been updated click save

Writing Settings

The writing settings will help you with your publishing goals.

If the settings menu isn’t open hover over settings and click Writing-Settings. You will be greeted with the following page

  • Default post category. The default post category is the category all posts that haven’t been assigned a category will be assigned. You can leave it as uncategorised or change it to something more useful
  • Default post format. Depending ont eh site you are creating this can vary, but the majority of websites will be standard
  • Post vie email. If you are on the go or in a situation where an intranet blocks access to your website you can create a new post by email. You will need to create an email account on the server to accept incoming emails and keep it as secret as possible and use tools such as spam assassin as anything sent to the email address will post live to your website
  • Update service. Not many people use this, but it’s so you can let other people know you’ve updated your blog. You can read more about it on this page

Once all fields have been updated click save

Reading Settings

The Reading-Settings is where you will define how your blog is viewed by the public. If the settings menu item isn’t open yet hover over settings and select Reading.

  • Your homepage display. Here you can set the homepage for your website. You latest posts will show the most recent posts in the format that your chosen theme displays them
  • A static page. Here you can select from a page or post. If you select this option it’s best to select a page. you can learn the difference between pages and posts here. Simply select a page or post from the dropdown of pages or posts.
  • Blog pages show at most. This option will set the maximum number of posts that will display on the blog page or homepage if the latest posts are set as the homepage.
  • Syndication feeds show the most recent lets you set how many blog posts will be sent out at once via your RSS feed (located at
  • For each post in a feed, include allows you to select the full text of the post or a summary. Some themes will override this setting
  • Search engine visibility. Use this option with caution as enabling it tells the search engines not to include your site in their index. This means you will not appear in search results on websites such as Google and Bing. You can enable this option during creation of your website so only the finished item will appear in search or if it’s a private and personal blog.

Once you’re happy with your settings click save changes

Discussion Settings

the discussion settings is where you will manage how comments are made on your website. To get to the discussion settings page if the settings aren’t yet open hover over settings and select discussion. You will see the following page

Please see our article on the ideal settings for preventing comment spam on this link. It will walk you through the different options to optimise for the best public discussions while preventing comment spam without the use of a plugin

Media Settings

The Media-Settings page is where you will set the different image thumbnail sizes for your website. Thumbnails come in three sizes, but themes and plugins can add their own sizes too. The principle behind thumbnail sizes is to only load the correct size image as it improves overall page load performance.

Thumbnails are normally proportional, meaning that if you upload an image 300px X 100px and have a thumbnail size of maximum width 150px and maximum height of 150px the thumbnail will resize to 150px wide by 50px high, meaning it retains its proportions. If you select crop it will force the size and crop off any excess image from all sides.

To get to media settings if the settings menu isn’t open yet hover over settings and select media. you will land on a page that looks like this

Here you can set your images. For best results set the large size to the width of the content area of your website. Most themes will have this option visible in the theme customiser. This will help with performance.

Under the upload files is the option to organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders. This is recommended to be enabled as it will make sorting and finding images much easier as your site content grows.

The Permalink-Settings allow you to change the URL structure of your website. Please proceed with care on this page and if you are not sure about something, please ask an expert as it can seriously impact your search engine visibility.

To get to the permalinks settings simply hover settings and click on permalinks. You will see the following page

Common settings

In the common settings option, you can set how the URL will appear in the browser and to search engines. Some installs will default to plain, which will simply show the post ID, and some will default to month and name. It’s often recommended to use post name as the URL as it’s a cleaner URL and easier for both search engines and people to read.


Under the optional heading you can change the category and tag base names. Instead of using category or tag you can use topic or similar instead, or anything that makes sense.

If you are using wooCommerce there is another option below this for the shop. This option allows you to set how products appear in the URL. The default is product/product-name but you can also set it to the shop base. /shop/sample-product/. You can also set it tot he third option of Shop base with category like so /shop/product-category/sample-product/. The final option is to use your own. A perfect example of y=using your own is when migrating from one shoppig=ng cart to WooCommerce. Shopify use collections as their shop base, so old collection/product links will break. Setting the custom base as collection/ will allow the links to continue to work

Once you are happy with your settings click save changes

Privacy Settings

As a website owner, you may need to follow national or international privacy laws. For example, you may need to create and display a Privacy Policy. WordPress comes with a draft policy page for you. All you need to do is go to pages and edit the draft privacy policy to include your personal information.

To get to the Privacy Settings page hover over settings and select privacy. It will open the following page

Simply select the privacy policy page you just created and click use this page. If a page doesn’t yet exist you can press create new page and create a new privacy policy page.

As you add more plugins the settings options may increase with different plugin setting pages being present. But for now you have completed all default setting options.

Now you know \how to configure WordPress settings

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Written by: John Cook


About: I'm John Cook. I'm a qualified data scientist, currently undertaking a Masters of data science at RMIT University and a Masters of information technology at CSU in Australia, a blogger, developer and WooCommerce fanboy. As the founder of Swift Designs, WC Success Academy, Wiz Plugins, Commerce Mania and Learn WP by Swift Designs, my goal is to empower website owners around the world to take full control of their WordPress powered websites. I've been developing websites for close to 10 years and have a deep understanding of WordPress and how it works. As an active plugin developer with several plugins in the WordPress plugin repository, this gives me a unique understanding of the inner workings of WordPress. My goal with Learn WP is to allow WordPress website owners the ability to discover the true potential WordPress has to offer in an uncomplicated and easy to understand way

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