WordPress 1.0 introduced search engine friendly permalinks using mod_rewrite. Setting your site to use pretty permalinks is usually one of the first things that administrators do after installation.
WordPress 4.2 will add a new function that will automatically enable pretty permalinks, if the server supports it, at the time of installation. This means that in most cases you’ll never be greeted with ugly permalinks again.
The new function is the result of a ticket that was originally opened seven years ago. In the upcoming release, pretty permalinks will be enabled if WordPress can verify that they work. It will cycle through the various permalink formats, and if they all fail to work, WordPress will fall back to ugly permalinks.
By default, WordPress will set the following permalink structure for a new site, if possible, using mod_rewrite or nginx rewriting:
Under configurations without rewrites enabled, it will set
/index.php/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ for PATHINFO (“Almost Pretty”) permalinks.
Eric Lewis, a contributor on the ticket, commented on the upcoming change, “Delivering pretty permalinks by default seems in line with a bunch of core philosophies – great out-of-the-box, design for the majority, simplicity, clean, lean and mean.”
If you frequently create new WordPress sites or development sites, the automatically enabled pretty permalinks in 4.2 should save you a step in the setup process.