In a Nutshell

YOURLS is a reliable, rather easy to set up, self-hosted short-URL service. It provides statistics, is open-source and free.

Installation: [rating=4]

Price: [rating=5]

Get it here:

What it does

If you’ve been around the likes of Twitter much, you’ll be familiar with so-called URL shorteners. Character constraints on Twitter have led people to adopt this practice, made famous by one of the early big players,, but soon surpassed (it may have been due to the even shorter name)

There now exist hundreds of these services, even Google ( or Twitter ( employ their own ones. But there’s no need to use these, as it is really quite easy to have your own. Simply register one, then use YOURLS, which allows you to take your own short URL and short the hell out of every link right there on your own server.


Installation is rather straight forward. Download the software from here, unzip it, edit a config file and upload it all to the web. You do need a database and PHP installed. Apart from that, it’s a walk in the park. I’ve taken off one star in my installation rating, mainly because you need to actually edit a file. Yes, that’s how lazy I am (and how lazy most people are, so from a reviewing perspective, I think that deduction is warranted).

What you need to do, of course, is register your domain-name first and point it to the webspace on which you plan to run YOURLS (to register domains, visit or

YOURLS also provides a WordPress plugin, allowing you to automagically create short links for every post or page you write. In addition to that, you can even automatically send it to Twitter and have it published. Now that’s efficent.

I’ve set up my very own short URL service with YOURLS, check out this short URL for the repository:

If you are on an intranet and want to give everyone the option of using YOURLS, you can decide to make it public to everyone. And if you’re not on an intranet, but are fearless, you can give everyone out there access to your very own shortening service (I don’t recommend it, though).


YOURLS is open-source and free. That’s a price that can’t be beaten. Unless someone actually gave you money to use it, that is.

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