If you aren’t using your own URL shortener, now’s the time to change that. You have probably seen publications like New York Times (nyti.ms/) or Time (ti.me/) use their own URLs to their advantage. Read this guide and create your own URL in five minutes.
Why You Should Use Your Own URL Shortener
Having your own custom short URLs is beneficial for a few reasons. Firstly, you own your own data, so you are not at the mercy of third parties. You can track the number of clicks, amount of traffic, traffic source, location, and more analytics that help your marketing strategy.
Aside from analytics, unique URL’s can help with consistent branding for yourself and your business, while also not taking up space in your Facebook and Twitter posts.
How to Create Your Own URL Shortener
Creating your own URL’s is free, besides of course, paying for the domain of your choice.
YOURLS is a set of PHP scripts that runs your own URL shortening service. You will need to make sure your shared or dedicated server supports at least PHP 5.2, MYSQL 4.1, with mod-rewrite enabled.
Follow These Steps to Create Your Own URL Shortener
1. Download the newest version of YOURLS and unzip the archive.
2. Copy “user/config-sample.php” to “user/config.php”.
3. Open “user/config.php” with your favorite text editor and fill in the required settings. Check out YOURLS config settings if you are having trouble.
4. Create a database with the name you’ve inserted for “YOURLS_DB_NAME” from the config settings. If you are a HostDime customer, log into your cPanel and find “MySQL Database” under the Databases section.
5. Upload all unzipped files to your domain “public_html” or “www” folder.
6. Type in your domain name in a browser, followed by “/admin/install.php”. You should see a “successfully installed” page.
Congrats, you can now login and create your first short URL! Let us know how it works for you.
Jared Smith is HostDime’s Content Strategist.