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Custom URL Shortener? Yes, You Can Create Yours for Free with Bit.ly


By Nikola Krajacic, July 15, 2011

Although we reviewed link shorteners extensively, there is just one more thing we’d like to show you. Let’s say you want to create your own link shortener for your website, but you can’t code or you just don’t want the hassle. There really is no need to create your own link shortening system since you can just use bit.ly!

I’m going to show you how to set up bit.ly to use your custom domain for link shortening. Your short links will then look something like http://yourdomain.me/XfdED instead of http://bit.ly/DfkD. Still, it will have the power of bit.ly; you will have access to stats, custom URL’s and everything else bit.ly offers.

While you should use a short domain name, it’s not a requirement. Ready? Let’s turn your domain into a link shortener.

1 – Obtain A Domain For Your Shortener

Of course, to connect your domain to bit.ly’s system, you need a domain name. In our past posts, I explained how to get a domain name at various domain name registrars. I would suggest getting a short domain name, but if you cannot get one short enough, a long domain name will be ok. This is after all about the branding of your blog.

Keep in mind that the domain you choose will only be usable as a shortener; you won’t be able to use it for anything else. No e-mail accounts or anything else should be connected to it. For this tutorial, I got a nice flyto.me domain.

2 – Set Up Bit.ly

Log into your bit.ly account. There should be a link Shorten With: bit.ly, right unter the big input box on your dashboard. Click it and choose Set up your own custom domain option. Enter the domain name that  you want to be the shortener. You will get some instructions on what to do next…

You need to set your domain’s DNS A record to point to the IP address that bit.ly gives to you. DNS records are pretty sensitive and you should not mess with them if you’re not completely sure what you’re doing. Don’t hesitate to send a support ticket to your host or domain registrar and ask them to do it for you. After all, that’s what I did ;)

bitly-custom-url_1

Choose a custom domain option for your shortening

Once your domain’s DNS A record is changed, it will take 48-72 hours to propagate the change all across the web and the DNS system. You might remember that we had a post explaining how DNS system works, check it out.

3 – Verification

After 2 or 3 days, go back to your bit.ly account and pick your domain name from the dropdown list. Click the Verify button to check if the change has propagated. If it did, you’ll see a message saying that you’ve successfully set up your domain as a custom URL shortener. If not, just wait a little more.

bitly-custom-url_2

Is everything goes well, the verification will show you this

4 – Use it!

You can now use your custom domain to shorten links for your website! Just choose your domain from the list and click the Shorten button. If you’re using the bit.ly bookmarklet or Google Chrome extension, you’ll be able to switch between bit.ly and your domain at any time. This is it folks, you’ve set up your custom URL shortener, with no coding and yet, you have the bit.ly’s power.

You can click on http://flyto.me/qeNq86 or even this link http://flyto.me/domain-me-blog and you’ll be taken to our blog. Now go ahead and create your own short domain!


Author:

Nikola Krajacic


More posts by this author

One Response to “Custom URL Shortener? Yes, You Can Create Yours for Free with Bit.ly”

  1. I think this is one of the most important
    info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark
    on few general things, The web site style is perfect,
    the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

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