Windows Observer: Roll Your Own URL Shortener Service

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PC Pitstop is proud to welcome our friends at Windows Observer as guest contributors. Windows Observer is owned and operated by Richard Hay. In January 2010 Richard’s community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when he received his first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for Windows Desktop Experience and in January 2011 when he was renewed as a Microsoft MVP in a new category called Windows Expert-Consumer.

By Richard Hay for Windows Observer

There are plenty of options available to shorten the links that you share across the internet and this service really started its boon when Twitter and the 140 character tweet limit came about. With space at a premium services like bit.ly, TinyURL, tr.im and others became necessities.

Of course when you use a commercially available service you are putting all your eggs in one basket and if that service was to ever go defunct then you have lost your shortened links and any data connected to them such as analytics. If you used those heavily then a lot of folks are going to get 404 notices that the info is no longer available. Not cool.

So ultimately the best level of control is to control it yourself and that is where Your Own URL Shortener or Yourls comes into play.

Yourls is a set of PHP scripts that lets you create and manage your own URL shortening service. There are options to make it a public service or you can keep it completely private and for your own/close friends use. From my research I would recommend keeping it private as it seems anyone who goes public with their service gets over run with spam links in their database.

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This post is excerpted with permission from Windows Observer.

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