Get Creative In Your Branding and Setup a Custom URL Shortener

Be Like the Big Guys with a Custom URL Shortener

Wanting to get creative with your branding? Do what the big guys are doing and create a custom URL shortener to establish your brand name.

Example of Mashable using a URL Shortener.


I am sure all of you have seen those short URLs. Well, they do have an enterprise version which allows you to setup your own domain as a custom URL shortener. However, that is not what I am discussing; because that comes at a pretty hefty price. I am going to introduce you to YOURLS. YOURLs is a free Github project started by Lester Chan and Ozh Richard which allows you to host your own URL Shortener and use whatever domain you choose.

The server requirements are very minimal, you simply need:

  1. A server with mod_rewrite enabled
  2. At least PHP 5.2
  3. At least MYSQL 4.1

When we installed this, it took us about 10 minutes to set everything up. Their documentation is excellent and it pretty much works as expected right out of the box.

YOURLS Features

  • Free and Open Source software.
  • Private (your links only) or Public (everybody can create short links, fine for an intranet)
  • Sequential or custom URL keyword
  • Handy bookmarklets to easily shorten and share links
  • Awesome stats: historical click reports, referrers tracking, visitors geo-location
  • Neat Ajaxed interface
  • Terrific Plugin architecture to easily implement new features
  • Cool developer API
  • Full jsonp support
  • Friendly installer
  • Sample files to create your own public interface and more


Main admin dashboard

YOURLS Admin Dashboard

Stats for each short URL


What are you waiting for? Add that extra branding to your digital marketing strategy for the cost of a domain name!

Download YOURLS

As always feel free to leave your comments below.

author bio
Brian Jackson

I craft actionable content and develop performance-driven WordPress plugins. Connect on X, subscribe to my newsletter (once a month), or buy me coffee.

2 thoughts on “Get Creative In Your Branding and Setup a Custom URL Shortener”

  1. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something regarding this.

  2. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a great article? but what can I say? I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.


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