YOURLS: Your Own URL Shortener

YOURLS: Your Own URL Shortener

[For an overview of what URL Shorteners are and why you should use them, please read my article: URL Shorteners]

YOURLS is a service that you install on your web host for a specific domain that will give you your own URL Shortening service.

I’m going to make some assumptions: You already have a domain name and a web hosting plan.
If you don’t have either try 1and1 (affiliate link) for domains and hosting. This blog is hosted with them.
1. Buy a domain name
2. Buy hosting
3. Configure host
4. Install YORLS
5. You’re done.

Ok, so that wasn’t much help! If you need domain name inspiration try which will show a multitude of domain extensions for your chosen name or phrase. Remember, you want a short domain e.g., so don’t be afraid to buy any top level domain name e.g. .im .es .ly .it .eu etc.
Once you find your perfect domain, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price.

Your hosting plan will need PHP and MYSQL support – this need not be expensive but check before you buy!
Installing YOURLS is easy, but make sure you read all the instructions before starting.
Download YOURLS to your computer and follow these steps:

  1. Unzip the YOURLS archive
  2. Copy includes/config-sample.php to user/config.php
  3. Open user/config.php with a raw text editor (like Notepad) and fill in the required settings
  4. Upload the unzipped files to your domain public_html or www folder
  5. Create a new database (see Configuration – you can also use an existing one)
  6. Point your browser to
  7. Follow the onscreen instructions – there isn’t many.

Now that you are all up and running you can use your own domain name to track click throughs on links you share on twitter and facebook (or anywhere else).
I chose to use only as a URL shortener, so I’ve got a html redirect pointing to, but you could equally create your shortener at or

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