Shorty – Your own TinyURL generator

  • August 24th, 2006

Khoi Vinh recently announced an awesome utility for anyone who frequently passes long URLs out to contacts. The service, known as Shorty, is a self-hosted alternative to URL shortening services like TinyURL or URL123. Shorty is self hosted. This means that any long URLs you pass through the utility will be prefixed with your own domain.

The critical difference between Shorty and TinyURL is that Shorty resides on your server. You install it (all you need is a MySQL database and PHP) and you then have the power of TinyURL and its ilk, but rather than being tied to a third party, it’s a part of your brand.

shorty screenshot

Seeing as though Shorty – a self hosted solution – was too enticing to pass-up, I quickly downloaded the latest public beta release for comparison. The installation was a breeze:

  • Create or utilize an existing database (recommend that you create a new one). Dreamhost users, log into the DH Panel, navigate to Goodies > Manage MySQL > Create a new MySQL database. Edit the configuration.php file within the distribution.
  • Upload the ‘shorty’ directory to your web server.
  • Run the included installer
  • When prompted, enter your desired user account details.
  • For those that receive an error reporting a missing .htaccess file, Reed has noted a small tip for adding the required rewrite rules.
  • As directed, remove the _install.php file from the directory for security reasons.

Once you’ve logged into your local installation of Shorty, you’ll be presented with three tabs: Auto, Keywords, and Random. Each of these tabs facilitates the process of shortening long URLs into shorter, more manageable alternatives.

  • Auto – Specify the URL to be shortened, add a keyword to the URL structure, and select ‘Get Shorty’ to receive a shortened URL with the specified keyword. You can opt to elect that Auto be the preferred Shorty method for shortening URLs.
  • Keywords – Enter multiple keywords to be included for shortened URLs. Again, users may opt to elect ‘Keywords’ as the preferred URL shortening method.
  • Random – The plain vanilla method of shortening URLs. Simple paste the URL to be shortened and receive a ‘Shorty’ version. Probably the best choice for those in search of a local version of TinyURL or the like.

In addition to offering users with a means in which to create clean, short, and concise links, Shorty offers a make-shift solution for tracking link usage. Users who have Shorty installed locally can check out the ‘Admin’ panel which offers a running list of Shorty converted URLs complete with livesearch to find specific links.

short link tracking admin panel

Despite being a beta release, Shorty is rock solid. Gone are the days of relying on third-party URL shortening services. Hello Shorty, where have you been all this time? Download your own copy of Shorty and continue increasing the exposure of your own domain while passing out URLs. I am certain that third-party URL shortening service will cease to profit or exist thank to Shorty.

Informative read? Consider a healthy digg to spread the word concerning this fantastic self-hosted URL shortening solution.