My own URL shortener

So I guess the modern equivalent of the vanity email address is the vanity URL shortener. I registered because it was available and cheapish and because’s links keep getting longer and longer.

I tried both Google’s and’s BYO domain shorteners and didn’t like them at all. Google forces you to use a subdomain and uses the same namespace for all shortening domains, so all it really offered was vanity, not improved shortness.

After a couple of wisely aborted efforts to write my own I just installed YOURLS, a simple, straight-forward, extensible URL shortener. Like all useful internet software it’s all PHP and MySQL so it took virtually no time to deploy – unzip, create database, edit config file, reload.

There’s a pretty good WordPress plugin that shortens a link and then posts to twitter that I’m experimenting with as a way to encourage myself to make longer than 140 character posts. Let’s see how that goes.

8 replies on “My own URL shortener”

  1. Boo to url shorteners. The internet’s too expansive to click on every link, but url shorteners force you to look at everything just to see what someone’s linking to.

    They’re a hack workaround for a bodgy medium and a layering violation. Couldn’t twitter just automatically url shorten for stingy things like SMS and leave normal URLs alone?

  2. My favorite SEO URLs are news articles where the human-readable part of the URL isn’t matched at all, just a key elsewhere, so you can change it to say whatever you want.

Comments are closed.