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How to Add Pagination to Your WordPress Website Using a Plugin

Updated on March 24, 2022

7 Min Read
wordpress pagination

A website that does not focus on navigation gives its users a bad on-page experience and presents the site’s content as a mess. And no one fancies an unorganized webpage since it makes browsing a challenge, ultimately increasing the bounce rates.

An ideal WordPress website should be well organized and have its content divided into relevant pages. However, unfortunately, most leading WordPress themes do not offer many pagination options, limiting you to only making their provided changes.

But, it does not stop there. Usually, the technical users fight this limitation by adding pagination manually using custom codes. What about the non-techy-users? Just like WordPress tackles every lacking with a plugin, the same hero also appears here.

The WordPress pagination plugins allow you to break the paginating boundaries with no techy troubles and offer ultimate customization thanks to their detailed options.

This blog sheds the importance of WordPress site’s pagination and reveals the beginner-friendly methods to start pagination using the leading plugins. Keep reading to find out more.

What Is WordPress Pagination?

Pagination is an arrangement of your site’s content into separate pages. It organizes your WordPress website well, making it easier for users to browse your website.

Without pagination, whenever a user visits your site, all of its content will load at once, increasing the loading times. Pagination prevents this issue by breaking your site’s content into different pages.

wordpress pagination

Once you have added pagination to your website, it will distribute your content into different pages, so anyone can jump on to the selected page by clicking the number.

You can also paginate long blogs into multiple pages for better organization and facilitate the reader. Pagination is also used in short articles where a page separates each paragraph.

Benefits of WordPress Pagination

Pagination is essential for WordPress websites because it provides several benefits like it improves your site’s SEO, enhances user experience, and can decrease bounce rates. The section briefs some notable benefits of pagination.

Improved Performance

Pagination enhances your WordPress site’s performance by dividing the total data into different pages, reducing the loading time for each page.

You may think of it like this; if you try to load 10 content pieces at once, it will take a considerable amount of time to load.

In contrast, if you load each blog separately, divided by pages, they will load relatively much quicker due to a lower amount of data. This practice ultimately boosts your site’s performance and organizes your content as well.

Better User Experience

Pagination can transform the user experience, especially for content-heavy websites. Imagine having a visitor struggling to locate the desired content on your webpage or even getting overwhelmed with the amount of information on a single page. In this competitive era, one can’t afford to lose visitors to a bad experience and must do everything to facilitate their site visitors.

user experience

Conversely, separating the content pieces on different pages will smoothen the user experience translating to decreased bounce rates. Scrolling may appear as a neverending struggle for content-heavy sites, and the user may lose the sense of control.

In contrast, pagination aligns the mess up by showing the limited and relevant content to your users and filtering out the information they don’t wish to read.

SEO Benefits

Pagination, when done right, helps in improving your site’s SEO. It enhances the website’s user experience and decreases bounce rates. Users feel facilitated by seeing multiple categories and divisions on a page rather than a single page cluttered with various content pieces.

As pagination distributes the content into multiple pages, it ultimately reduces the loading times, helping the site’s SEO.

Search engines recommend having less than 100 URLs per page, enabling the crawler to dig the site’s architecture well. Although some people argue that this practice doesn’t affect SEO, it is always good to play safe.

Easy Navigation

The most notable benefit of pagination is that it allows visitors to navigate your WordPress website without any inconvenience, improving the user experience. WordPress themes offer pagination, but their limited options cause a nuisance for users seeking complete control of their sites.

easy navigation

Some WordPress themes may enable the user to jump to the next page or the last page, but they won’t allow them to navigate directly to their desired page number.

If your site doesn’t offer ease to your visitors, they’ll leave your page. You don’t want this to happen, right? So, avoid this trouble by using a pagination plugin and making navigation a breeze on your site.

WP-PageNavi Plugin Prerequisites

Every plugin has some installation pre-requisites that must be considered for its smooth performance. Likewise, WP-PageNavi has its own, and after testing, I have concluded that it works on WordPress version 3.2 or higher.

WP-PageNavi has been tested to run on up to the WordPress version 5.6.7.

Recently, the 5.9 version has been released with some unique features. You may try using WP-PageNavi on WordPress 5.9 version as well. However, if any issue occurs, it is recommended to roll back to the 5.6.7 version.

How to Add the Pagination Plugin to Your WordPress Website

Adding pagination to a WordPress website is easier with a plugin than getting twisted with the customized method. Follow the easy steps below to add pagination to your WordPress website using a plugin:

  • Login to your WordPress website.
  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Click Plugins > Add New.
  • Type “WP-PageNavi” in the search bar.
  • Click on the “Install Now” button once the plugin appears.

install wp-pagenavi

  • Click on the “Activate” button.

activate wp-pagenavi

That’s it. You’ve successfully installed and activated the WP-PageNavi plugin.

How to Install the WP-PageNavi Plugin on Your WordPress Website Manually

You can also install the WP-PageNavi from the WordPress repository by following the steps below:

  • Type “WP-PageNavi plugin” on Google, and open the WordPress repository link.
  • Click on the “Download” button to download the zipped file.
  • Now, go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Click Plugins > Add New.
  • Click on the “Upload Plugin” button from the top-right corner.
  • Click on the “Choose File” button.

install wp-pagenavi manually

  • Select the downloaded WP-PageNavi plugin ZIP file.
  • Click on the “Install Now” button.
  • Activate the plugin by clicking on the “Activate Plugin” button.

activate wp-pagenavi

Now you know the steps to installing the WP-PageNavi plugin on your WordPress website. Let’s learn its configuration settings in the next section.

WP-PageNavi Plugin Configuration

Configure the pagination on your WordPress website by customizing the WP-PageNavi plugin’s settings.

  • Go to the WordPress Settings > PageNavi Setting.

If you don’t see the pagination option on the homepage and post page, you’ll be required to make the following changes.

  • Replace the Next and Previous links from your theme with the below PHP function.

<?php wp_pagenavi(); ?>

  • Navigate back to the PageNavi settings.

Even though WP-PageNavi is a comprehensive WordPress pagination plugin, it has only one tab for its configuration.

  • If you leave a field blank and do not write any proper configuration, the blank part will hide that part of the navigation.

You’ll see the following options in the plugin’s settings:

Text For Number Of Pages – It shows the current page first, then the total number of pages on the website.

text for number of pages

Text For Current Page – It shows the text for the current page. If you want to show the text and the numbers, you can set it from this field.

text for current page

Text For First and Last Page – You can name the first and last page whatever you want. I named them “First” and “Last”.

text for first and last page

WP-PageNavi also allows you to enable the CSS styles, so you may change the pagination styles to match your theme. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Select the pagenavi-css.css option under the Page Navigation Options.

page navigation options

  • Also, you can select your preferred Page Navigation Style from the Normal or Drop-down list.

The settings are pretty self-explanatory, and don’t forget to click on the Save Changes button to keep all the settings saved.

Closing Remarks

All websites (especially content-heavy sites) require a split of pages to improve performance, offer easy navigation, and enhance user experience. Pagination allows you to make this happen by breaking down your site’s content into different pages.

Although all WordPress websites are equipped with pagination support, they offer limited options. However, the customization options can be expanded by either adding pagination manually (stay away, non-techy users!) or using a WordPress pagination plugin (our knight in shining armor).

I have chosen the WP-PageNavi plugin (the most popular option) to demonstrate the installation and setup in this blog. Almost all WordPress pagination plugins are installed and configured the same way, so you can adopt this method to install your preferred plugin.

If you still don’t understand the importance of pagination, then look at Google, and notice how it treats its audience with the search results. Does it include all the results on a single page or separate them with various pages? Take notes. Shall you require more assistance? Feel free to drop your queries in the comment section below.

How do I Paginate in WordPress?

You can paginate in WordPress via two methods, i.e., manually (via custom code) or using a WordPress pagination plugin. While only technical users can get away with the former method, the latter approach can cater to users of all kinds.

How do I fix WordPress pagination?

You can fix the WordPress pagination by following the steps below:

  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Open the desired blog post with broken pagination.
  • Locate the pagination code.
  • Find the improper code syntax, and correct it. (The code line should start and end with a less than, and greater than sign)
  • Save the changes.

How do I add pagination to a single page in WordPress?

Follow the steps below to add pagination to a single page in WordPress:

  • Install the WP-PageNavi plugin.
  • Navigate to the WordPress Settings.
  • Click PageNavi.
  • Use %PAGE_NUMBER% in the “Text For Current Page” field. (It will allow pagination on a single current page)

Note: If you leave the “Text For Current Page” blank, this function will not work.

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Sarim Javaid

Sarim Javaid is a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. He has a habit of penning down his random thoughts and giving words and meaning to the clutter of ideas colliding inside his mind. His obsession with Google and his curious mind add to his research-based writing. Other than that, he's a music and art admirer and an overly-excited person.


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