smithaa02 - 10:27 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)
Deeper...there is no way for wordpress to rewrite say sample.html to index.php without help from apache (and therefore a .htacccess). This is a common configuration for WP and is detailed on their site here:
You can install other plugins, but they will depend on the .htaccess lines of code (easy to copy and paste in). I have played with "
.html on PAGES" myself before and like it. I have messed with a lot of custom url rewriting scripts, but 'Custom Permalinks' is still my favorite though.
If you install this, it will be easy to keep your old urls and not lose the 10-15 percent page juice loss that Tedster said Cutts said you lose with 301's (the alt being 404's which orphans way too much page juice or 301 stacking which doesn't work).
As for your being dependent on the plugin...I wouldn't worry about it. The plugin is free...simple and has survived many an updates. Even if ophaned by the author and facing a serious wp security upgrade, it wouldn't be difficult to hack it or to find a different plugin. Custom permalinks has worked great with many a wordpress themes and wp versions for the wp sites we've done and I highly recommend it.
What should be clarified is that this is a two stage process. The .htaccess configuration remove the need for index.php in the url and custom permalinks gets rid of the need for a trailing slash and let's you set the url to be whatever you want. Most WP users do the former, but not the latter...but should do both.