Host your own URL shortening service and QR codes to take control back

It's safe to assume that most people visiting my site like to take things into their own hands with technology. Recently I've been looking at URL shortening services with the feeling that I could do something other than relying on an outside service. After investigating the answer turned out to be a lot easier than thought.

If you already have a hosting service that uses PHP and has database options you can configure a URL shortening service in only a few short steps with YOURLS. It's a set of small PHP scripts in a complete package that installs in about 6 steps (not counting each config file edit but that's not overwhelming by any means).

YOURLS Steps for a fresh install

  1. Unzip the YOURLS archive
  2. Copy user/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

You can choose whether to host a public or private URL shortening service. I'd recommend thinking carefully before hosting an open public service as spammers among other malicious people can take advantage of the service.

Additionally there is a large list of plug-ins available including ones to create QR codes with your short URLS

I can be reached for comments, questions or ideas on twitter @Try2StopUs

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