In case you’re ever interested, there’s a really great piece of open source software called YouURLS available at Yourls.org. It is a LAMP1 architecture URL shortening software. It’s about as easy to install as WordPress and reasonably barebones. But, once installed, “it just works.” A few weeks ago I became enamored with the idea of having my own URL shortener, so I went out on the hunt for possible cool names. A lot of the good short names are already taken, prohibitively expensive2 , or are reserved/unavailable since many TLD’s3 don’t allow 1 and 2 letter domains. 4
There are some potential problems with running your own short URL service. First, if you don’t intend to keep it around forever it isn’t that much use to people in general. Second, the market space is pretty well packed already. Third, anyone can have their very own URL service for the price of a domain name5 , some hosting6 , and an installation of YOURLS7 . Fourth, some spammers/scammers/phishers are always on the lookout for legitimate but unknown URL shorteners so they can obfuscate their spammy/scammy URL’s – and you don’t want to be associated with that kinda mess anyhow.
But, if you just want one because you really like the idea and aren’t going to make it public to anyone else… why not do it? Want to know the short URL domain name I chose? Well, I’m going to tell you anyhow.
Cool, huh? It fit all of my criteria. It wasn’t too expensive8 , is very short at just 7 characters for the entire URL910 , and is memorable/clever. It’s not public, because I don’t want to deal with spammers and whatnot, but I can think of a number of cool uses for such a service. And, of course, I’d welcome any of your suggestions.
- Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, natch [↩]
- As in $150-$500/year [↩]
- Top level domains – .com, .net, etc [↩]
- When you’re Twitter getting hold of the person in charge of holding the reserved “t.co” was probably not a problem. [↩]
- Which is cheap starting at 1.99 [↩]
- Free to cheap [↩]
- Free to modest, if you have someone install it for you [↩]
- At $35/year it was more expensive than any URL I have ever purchased, but still quite modest [↩]
- Not counting the “HTTP://”, which is the same no matter what you have. [↩]
- It is even shorter than one of the first such services, TinyURL.com which is 11 characters [↩]