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WordPress Pagination: How to Add Pagination Manually or With Plugins

Searching for a way to control WordPress pagination?

Adjusting your site’s pagination can help you create a more user-friendly, easily navigable website. However, many WordPress themes don’t offer detailed pagination options, which means you’re limited in the changes that you can make.

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to adjust WordPress pagination. More advanced users can rely on custom code, while casual users can find several high-quality pagination plugins.

In this post, we will cover everything that you need to know about WordPress pagination.

Let’s dive in!

 

 

What Is WordPress Pagination?

WordPress pagination is the process of splitting the list of your website’s blog posts or other content into separate pages.

For example, if you have 100 blog posts, you might configure your pagination settings to show 10 blog posts on each page, which would divide your blog post list into 10 pages with 10 posts each.

Visitors can then use “Next” or “Previous” buttons to navigate between the pages that list your posts. Or, in some cases, visitors will see a numbered list of pages so that they can jump to a specific page. For example, the pagination looks this way in the default Twenty Twenty-One theme:

An example of WordPress pagination in the default Twenty Twenty-One theme.
WordPress pagination example in the default Twenty Twenty-One theme.

You can also break a single WordPress post into multiple pages, which can be helpful if you publish long-form content.

With some code snippets or plugins, you can also gain a lot more control over how pagination works on your site, which are topics that we’ll cover later in this post.

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Why Use WordPress Pagination?

There are 3 main reasons you should care about WordPress pagination:

  1. Improved navigation and user experience
  2. Better performance
  3. Improved SEO crawlability

Let’s go through them.

Improved Navigation and User Experience

The biggest benefit of improving WordPress pagination is that it makes it easier for your visitors to navigate your site, which creates a better experience for them.

Many WordPress themes only show limited pagination options, making it difficult for visitors to navigate to a different page.

For example, here are the default pagination options in the Twenty Twenty-One theme when a visitor reads the first page of posts.

The Twenty Twenty-One theme provides limited pagination options on the first page.
The Twenty Twenty-One theme provides limited pagination options on the first page.

Visitors can navigate to the last page (page 6 in this example) or to the next page (by clicking “Older posts”), but they can’t navigate directly to pages 3, 4, or 5.

Compare that to the Behmaster blog, which provides multiple pagination links to help visitors get to the right spot.

The Behmaster blog provides more pagination options, which makes it easier for visitors to navigate.
The Behmaster blog provides more pagination options for easier navigation.

Visitors get even more options as they navigate to deeper pages, which helps them quickly jump forward or back to different pages as needed.

Users get more pagination options as they navigate to deeper pages.
Users get more pagination options as they navigate to deeper pages.

Better Performance

Using pagination can also be a tactic to improve your WordPress site’s performance by limiting the amount of data that your site needs to load on each page.

For example, let’s say you have 50 blog posts. If you try to load all 50 blog posts on your main blog page, your blog page might load slowly because that’s a lot of data.

However, if you use pagination to break up the list into 5 pages of 10 posts each, each page will load much faster because it only needs to load one-fifth of the data.

Improved SEO Crawlability

Using pagination can also make it easier for search engine robots like Googlebot to crawl your site by providing these bots with more navigation links.

It’s a slight difference, but any tweak you can make to improve your site’s crawlability is always a good thing for SEO.

How to Control WordPress Pagination Manually

While we’ll get to some handy WordPress pagination plugins in the next section, you also get some built-in features to work with WordPress pagination. Or, depending on your knowledge level, you can also adjust pagination using custom code.

Let’s talk about the built-in options for working with pagination, using the default Twenty Twenty-One theme as an example.

Controlling How Many Content Items to Display Per Page

By default, WordPress will show 10 posts per page. So if you have 25 posts, you would have 3 total pages. The first 2 pages would show 10 posts each, and the last page would show the remaining 5 posts.

If you want to adjust this number, you can go to Settings > Reading and edit the Blog pages show at most value.

How to change how many posts WordPress displays per page from the settings area.
How to change how many posts WordPress displays per page.

Breaking a WordPress Post or Page Into Multiple Pages

So far, we’ve mainly focused on breaking your blog listing page into multiple pages. However, WordPress also lets you divide individual posts or pages into various pages, which might be helpful in some situations.

If you’re using the WordPress block editor (AKA Gutenberg), you can choose where to add page breaks using the Page Break block.

How to add page breaks with the Page Break block.
How to add page breaks with the Page Break block.

If you’re using the classic TinyMCE editor, you can choose where to add page breaks using one of two methods:

  1. Place your mouse cursor where you want to add the page break in the Visual tab of the editor. Then use the following keyboard shortcut: Alt + Shift + P.
  2. Manually place the page break by pasting the following snippet into the Text tab of the editor:
    1 2Next page

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