How To: Create Your Own URL Shortener

Hey NERDS! A great way to try and make some PASSIVE INCOME nowadays is starting a SAAS website. That is, selling Software As A Service. A VERY useful service is LINK SHORTENING. So we are going to talk about how to Create Your Own URL Shortener!

Now, URL shortening services have been helping social networkers, digital marketers and web-users for decades already. the first notable publicly-available service being TinyURL, launched in 2002. Also bit.ly, link.n3rdbase.com and more.

So, these services have proved especially useful on space-sensitive forums such as Twitter, where users have a mere 140 characters to get their message across. Twitter used TinyURL as its default shortener until 2009, when it switched to bit.ly. And this year Twitter launched its very own t.co URL shortener, hosted on a Colombian domain.

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Given that so many URL shortening services come and go, this can lead to what’s known as link-rot. Essentially, if an online URL shortening service goes bust, you will lose all the web links you’ve shortened with that service.

One option WAS to use a service such as goo.gl – let’s face it, Google isn’t going bust anytime soon everyone thought. Well, Google discontinued the free service in 2009, LOLOL. So much for that aye?

Alternatively, you can set-up your very own hosted URL shortening service – to have full control over your URLs and peace of mind that your links will remain online for a long time. Here are our two recommendations.

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How To: Create Your Own URL Shortener

Option 1: The Fully Hosted Way

Setting up your own URL shortener is a three-step process.

1.    Register a (international) domain

The first step involves registering a domain name – to keep in with the trend of many of these sites, it’s an idea to keep the URL as short as possible. Ultimately, this means you’ll need to look to international domains, given that the likes of .com, .net and .co.uk  domains are in short supply.

You can even get creative and think of a way of incorporating the domain extension into the overall URL name, for example is.gd, goo.gl and su.pr. It’s worth noting that some country code top-level domains (ccTLD) can cost a lot – a .pr domain can cost about $1,000 USD to register per year, hence many good names are still available in Puerto Rico.

At the time of writing, you can secure stub.by from Belarus for $145 USD per year. Whereas tinie.st from São Tomé and Príncipe is yours for a mere $79 USD.

If it becomes possible to register domains in Eritrea, you’ll need to be quick to secure the likes of small.er or less.er. And the same goes for the Catalonian domain .cat – which is limited to local parties at present, meaning you can’t secure trun.cat quite yet.

2.    Find a hosting service

As a general rule of thumb, if your web host can handle a WordPress blog, it’ll cope with a server-based URL shortening web application such as YOURLS just fine. The server should run up-to-date PHP versions & MySQL at the very least.

Another issue depends on whether you plan to make your service private or public. If you plan to create the next bit.ly, you’ll need a lot of server space to cope with the traffic – in fact, you’ll probably need a dedicated server.

However, if the service is purely for your own use or a few people in your company, then you should be fine on a shared server, which is cheaper.

3.    Install your URL shortening webapp

There are other options, but YOURLS is about the best OPEN SOURCE option there is. It’s essentially a small set of PHP scripts that you include on your site – and you can easily make the service public or private. Furthermore, as with any good URL shortener, you can customize your URLs and generate reports on all activity surrounding your links.

And the beauty of all this, is it’s free to install. So you can create your very own URL shortening service for peanuts – essentially, the cost of registering a domain name and securing a hosting service.

Also, and my recommendation, is to BUY the software at CODE CANYON and host it. it not free BUT, it’s the best option in regards to getting some support and having really reliable software. Code Canyon vets all the software it sells.

How To: Create Your Own URL Shortener

Option 2: The Quick (But Not Free) Way, CloudApp.

A fully-hosted personal URL shortener may seem like a step too far when all you want is the security and control of your links. Get a hosting plan from BlueHost for like $3 a month and get started. I recommend BlueHost as they have great server speeds, uptime and prices.

Another great host is SiteGround (this website is hosted there). SiteGround has THE BEST FREE TOOLS in the indusrty, FREE SSL’s and AMAZING speeds and uptime. I, personally, use SiteGround for several websites.

Liquid Web is another HIGH END hosting option. Liquid Web is NOT cheap, but the market themselves as being the high end hosting option and GUARANTEE 100% uptime. NOBODY does that!!!!

Option 3: The Other Quick (But Not Free) Way, Bit.ly

Bit.ly offer a free Pro custom short domain service which unfortunately has yet to open its doors to the public. Set up is as easy as CloudApp’s but with access limited to “by request” for the last 8 months, there’s no telling when you’ll be able to use it. You can apply here though.

There are plenty of options for those wishing to steer clear of the fly-by-night URL shortening services. Link-rot? Fret

not.

Post Author: The HitchHiker

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