Thanks to the rise and rise of Twitter and it’s 140 character tweet limit, URL shortening platforms are now incredibly popular. Services such as bit.ly, goo.gl and su.pr (no, they’re not typos) are ensuring that you never have to type out a long-winded URL ever again, which is perfect if you value your Tweet’s real-estate!

For a recent project of ours (nothing to do with this website), we decided to create our own private URL shortening service. Fortunately, with thanks to a service named YOURLS, this is an incredibly easy feat. YOURLS, or “Your Own URL Shortener”, is a series of PHP scripts that can be configured and installed on your server to create and manage your own URL shortening service.

Essentially, you simply register a short URL domain name – the shorter the better – and set up it’s own hosting account on your server. You then upload the YOURLS package to the server, configure your database settings, and you’re away. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! It even has a comprehensive admin interface which can be used to track statistics and create short URLs on the fly.

For this particular project, we wanted to utilise YOURLS to automatically create short URLs whenever a new WordPress blog post is created. These short URLs would then be fired of in an automated tweet – and all of this is achievable via a wonderful WordPress plugin called “YOURLS: WordPress to Twitter“, created by the developer of YOURLS. Again, this is super-easy to get running and is fully documented should you need assistance.

Our project utilising YOURLS is still in the very early stages of development, but we can’t wait to get it fully up and running. Some may say it’s a lot of effort to just save a few characters from a URL – especially as Twitter itself uses it’s proprietary “t.co” URL shortening service to all tweets anyway. But we think it’s worth the effort for the novelty factor alone, and it really does strengthen a brand to have your own personal short URLs.

Are you thinking of implementing your own URL shortening service on your existing website? Get in touch and we’d love to help make this happen.