How Many Posts Are at WillTaft.com?

by updated 2012/02/04

I have been asked this twice recently.  The first time I just sent the questioner a link to my archives page which lists the current number of publish posts and pages.  But the latest questioner explained why they were asking so I thought I would briefly explain.  Their curiosity arose from noticing that I use the post number as part of my permalink structure.  So, for example, if you look at the url of this post you will see that this is post, or page, number 7,500 and something.  But there are only 650 or so posted articles indexed here.  The reasons for this big difference are several although I am not sure exactly how this 7,500 number is calculated.

First, WordPress numbers things in order and because of the way WordPress works, many things that never get published do get a number.  Once a number is used, it is never used again.  Also pages get included as part of the numbering system, not just posts.  Someone thought that comments may be included in the numbering system but I think this is not the case as there are almost 7,000 published comments by themselves..

Still if you do the math, adding 650 posts, 20 pages, 7,000 comments, and then some for other miscellaneous items not published, you get well over the 7,500 number total.  If you included spam comments in this total you would be way over 15,000.  Plus there are all the posts I published but have since deleted that originally were numbered.  Those are things like just for fun posts that really serve no purpose beyond the time frame of when they were published, other posts that are outdated soon after publication, and posts that I feel looking back are not contributing to the bank of information stored here.  I suspect that in the 6+ years I have been posting here, I have deleted well over 100 items after publication.

So the true answer is I don’t really know how the current number of a post is calculated.  But it is fun to believe that some may see the permalinks and think that I have published 7,500 articles instead of 750.  I guess 750 is not too shabby though so I am OK with the truth.

 

Will Sig
1 Tony McGurk

6+ years & still going strong. Well done Will.
That being said I have a confession.
Blogger has been really acting up for the past month or so. Especially slow on image uploads & saving or posting posts. Sometimes it would take 2 or 3 attempts to upload an image & having to close browser in between as it would get stuck. Therefore I finally got fed up with it & transferred my blog to Wordpress.com (cringe, please don’t hit me…) I tried to redirect my URL to the new site so it remained the same but even following the instructions at Wordpress but I still couldn’t understand how to accomplish it. So a new URL it is (cringe)

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2 Will

I should be able to search and replace on the SQL database and change all your urls to the new site. Isn’t tonymcgurk.com one you have used before?

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3 Tony McGurk

I have deleted all the posts from my Blogger site so that duplicates don’t show up in searches for both sites. I don’t think you can access databases & stuff like that on Blogger & WP.com
That’s weird. When I clicked on your Wills Blog tab this post wasn’t showing up. The latest was the snow WW post. I went back to my RSS reader & clicked the link & it came up…
Tony McGurk recently posted..Dave’s Dilemma – The PersuasionMy Profile

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4 Will

That is odd. I don’t have any caching plugins installed now so that can’t be it. Sometimes it can be your browser’s cache needing to be cleared. Sometimes it is just the gremlins on the web.

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5 Binky

I noticed the large number discrepancy between posts and WP’s numbering system too. Having the number and another directory in the URL doesn’t seem to me to be the best for SEO, but it seems to be built into the system.

Can you just go into the SQL database and do a search 7 replace like that without causing any trouble? I guess you should be able to, but I’ve never done it before.
Binky recently posted..Resistance Training is FutileMy Profile

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6 Will

With WordPress you can use a custom permalink structure for almost any url you want. Take a look at the link below for an interesting post and the comments that discuss why some are better than others. Long read, but that is why I use the WordPress permalink structure I do. I also use a permalink redirect plugin takes care of the problem of those pesky 404’s.

http://ottopress.com/2010/category-in-permalinks-considered-harmful/

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7 Anna

I never understood how the numbering works in WP so I ignored. I hope you have unlimited hosting plan to store your future 20,000 posts, lol. You did well Will. Anna :)
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8 Otto

The numbering system works like this: Every entry in the wp_posts table has an ID number. The number starts with 1 and increments sequentially. The reason you’re confused is that more than just Posts go into the wp_posts table.

Things that go into the wp_posts table:
-Posts
-Pages
-Drafts
-Revisions (each revision of a Post/Page/etc gets a new entry for it)
-Attachments (each media item you upload gets its own attachment post made for it)
-Auto-Drafts (an internal mechanism for saving things automatically, these get auto-deleted later when they’re not needed anymore)
-Posts of Custom Post Types (if you have any)
-Menu items (if you use the new Menu system in your theme)
-Some plugins put custom data in here

Basically, lots of various things put data into this table. The ID numbers are sequentially made, but stuff you don’t see needs an ID number too. So what you do see (Posts) gets seemingly random, but increasing, numbers.

The thing is, ID numbers are really just identifiers. They could be randomly assigned for all that it really matters. It’s the increasing nature of them that makes people think they have meaning or that extra space is being taken or something silly like that, when that’s not really the case. You shouldn’t care about what the ID number is, really. And except for specialized cases, it’s not really necessary to put the ID number in the URL. The post-name is unique enough to be an identifier in the URL. Use that instead.

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9 Will

Thanks Otto – It is nice to have an explanation from someone who really knows the details. Initially from reading your post, and the comments, linked in my comment above, I came to the conclusion that the best thing was to start the url with a number. But I now see that in WordPress 3.3 and forward into the future, you folks fixed this.

So now I guess it is safe to take the id number out of my permalinks. I have always been VERY afraid to change permalinks since there are hundreds of posts here and lots of links back to individual posts and pages. But, I have done it twice in the past without any obvious problems although I used a migration plugin for a time. So maybe I will be brave enough to do it again.

Does WordPress now handle permalink structure changes OK on its own? Or is a plugin like Dean’s Permalink Migration still necessary? OR maybe just use the tool that Yoast has here? http://yoast.com/wp-content/permalink-helper.php

I ask that because I have not had any permalink migration plugin active on this site for a while now and don’t think I put any rules in my htaccess file. Still, old incorrect urls do direct to the correct post. For example: http://willtaft.com/environment/is-this-greenwashing/ does automatically go to http://willtaft.com/280/environment/is-this-greenwashing.

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10 Otto

Generally speaking, you can migrate from one structure to another without issues. The built in canonical redirect and permalink guesser code works pretty darned well.

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