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How to Create Your Own URL Shortener?

Arslan Jadoon
5 minutes

Ever clicked on a link that seemed to stretch forever? URL shorteners are the magic wand to that problem. They transform lengthy web addresses into concise, manageable links. Whether you’re running an online business or just love sharing cool stuff, creating your very own URL shortener can be a nifty move. 

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to create your own link shortener. Think of it as creating your own secret link language. Don’t worry, it’s simpler than you might think. Let’s jump in and start shortening!

What is a URL shortener? 

A URL shortener is a tool that takes a long URL and converts it into a shorter one. This can be useful for a number of reasons, such as:

There are many different URL shorteners available, some of the most popular ones include Replug, Bitly, and TinyURL. 

To use a URL shortener, simply enter the long URL into the shortener’s website and it will generate a shorter version for you. You can then copy and paste the short URL wherever you need to share it.

How to create your own URL shortener?

In this guide, we’ll explore two methods to achieve this: the traditional DIY approach and utilizing a service like White-Label Solution. 

Method 1: The DIY approach

Creating a custom URL shortener from scratch might sound complex, but it’s entirely achievable with some tech enthusiasm. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

Step 1: Choose a short domain

Select a short and memorable domain name for your URL shortener. Think “mylink.com.”

Step 2: Register your domain

Register your chosen domain through a domain registrar. Opt for a name that reflects your style. For instance, you could use a service like Namecheap to register.

Step 3: Get hosting

Choose a web hosting provider that suits your needs. This will be where your URL shortener lives. You might choose a provider like Bluehost.

Step 4: Create a database

Set up a MySQL database to store your shortened URLs and related data.

Step 5: Develop your URL shortener application

Create the user interface using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. For the backend, use PHP to handle data and database interactions.

Step 6: Coding your URL shortener

Implement the logic to generate shortcodes, store URLs in the database, and manage redirection.

Here’s an example of how you might structure the backend PHP code for your URL shortener:


Step 7: Upload files to the hosting

Use an FTP client or hosting file manager to upload your application files.

Step 8: Configure database connection

Ensure your PHP files are properly configured to connect to your MySQL database. In the PHP code above, replace “localhost”, “username”, and “password” with your actual database host, username, and password.

Step 9: Implement redirection

Create a redirection script to retrieve the original URL and redirect users. Create a file named “index.php” in the “url-shortener” directory.

Here’s an example of how you might implement redirection:


Step 10: Finish installation

Visit your application’s URL and test your newly created URL shortener.

By following these steps, you’ve created a simple URL shortener that allows users to input long URLs and receive shortened links. This example uses PHP and MySQL to demonstrate the process, and you can further customize and enhance your URL shortener as desired. Remember to regularly update and maintain your application for security and functionality.

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Method 2: Get white-label URL shortener from Replug

Another approach to creating your custom URL shortener is by utilizing Replug’s White-Label feature. This feature empowers you to customize the Replug experience with your branding elements, allowing you to make it uniquely yours. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your White-Label URL shortener using Replug:

Step 1: Sign Up for white-label Replug

Begin by signing up for Replug and accessing your account dashboard.

Step 2: Navigate to white-label settings

Click on your profile name or image at the top right corner of the dashboard to open the settings menu.

Select the “White-Label” option from the menu to access the rebranding settings.


Step 3: Configure general settings

In the General Settings section, provide the following details:

  • Agency Name
  • Favicon Image
  • Privacy Policy URL
  • Terms of Service URL
  • Login Page Image
  • App Loader Image

Once you’ve added these details and any branded elements, click “Apply Changes” to confirm your general settings.

Step 4: Set Up domain settings

In the Domain Settings section, personalize your URL shortener’s domain name. For example, you can rebrand “app.replug.io” to “app.yourbrand.com.”

Enter your agency domain name and create a CNAME record with “Whitelabel.replug.io” in the DNS settings of your custom domain.

Select your branded custom domain from the dropdown menu.


Step 5: Configure email settings

Fill in the fields in the Email Settings section to set up your White-Label email settings:

  • From Email
  • Sender’s Name
  • SMTP Host
  • SMTP Username
  • SMTP Password
  • Encryption

Step 6: Switch to the white-label version

Once you’ve completed the necessary settings, it’s time to switch to the White-Label version of Replug.

Click on your profile name or icon at the top right corner to access the White-Label version.

End note:

The White-Label feature of Replug empowers you to infuse your branding into every aspect of the URL-shortening experience. By personalizing URLs, emails, reports, logos, and favicons, you can create a seamless and professional extension of your brand. This method is an excellent option for companies looking to expand their services without the complexity and resources required for developing new products. With Replug’s White-Label solution, you can enhance your online presence and link-sharing capabilities effortlessly.

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Why should I create my own URL shortener?

Creating your own URL shortener gives you greater control over your links, branding, and analytics. It’s ideal for businesses, marketers, and anyone looking to enhance their online presence and engagement.

Do I need coding skills to create a URL shortener?

It depends on the method you choose. The DIY approach involves some coding, but there are also services like white-label Replug that offer a no-coding solution.

What’s the benefit of using White-Label Replug for URL shortening?

White-Label Replug allows you to customize the URL-shortening experience with your branding. You can personalize URLs, emails, reports, logos, and favicons, giving your links a professional touch.

Can I track link analytics with my own URL shortener?

Yes, many DIY solutions and services offer link tracking and analytics features. You can monitor click-through rates, audience demographics, and more.

Is setting up my own URL shortener time-consuming?

The time required depends on your chosen method. The DIY approach might take a bit more time due to coding and configuration, while services like White-Label Replug offer a quicker setup.

Arslan Jadoon
Meet Arslan, a skilled website blog and content writer who combines creativity and expertise to deliver engaging and informative pieces that captivate audiences.

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