There are plenty of free services for creating short URLs for content you create. They are handy for sharing long links (like the ones google apps create) and even making them more human readable.

As an owner of a domain, you don’t need to go somewhere else where your links may one day vanish, or be co-opted. You have the power to create short links that use your very domain, not someone else’s, and even collect stats on their use.

This is exactly what the Mad Scientists at Extend Labs have done, they have an install of Yourls running on Theirs is set up so only they can add domain short URLs, such as:

Like we have seen in installing WordPress, our first choice is the where tp put this- in a folder/directory or their domain, or into a subdomain. They opted to create a subdomain for this application at and also issuing an SSL certificate for it.

In their Reclaim Hosting cpanel, under Applications the Mad Scientists clicked “All Applications”

and looked among the many ones listed under Apps for Miscellaneous where they found the one for Yourls

A few things that are different in the install settings for this application:

You should save a copy of the admin username and password for your site; the Installatron is not able to log you directly into your site like WordPress. You ought to choose an interesting name for it too, while here. And lastly, go with the recommendation to not allow public access to the site (this means that only you can shorten URLs here).

Once it’s installed, go to the link where it is installed, and log into your site. Create your first shortened link.

You can add long URLs and choose a shorter name for it directly from this interface. The Mad Scientists love this Celestial Sky Observer at but now anyone can get there quicker, via Extend labs, as

This is a bit tedious to add; and Yourls offer some nifty addons to make this process quicker. In your Yours Interface, look for the link to Tools. It’s very handy to have a browser bookmarklet tool so you can create the short links while visiting the target page.

The Custom Keyword one allows you to create the part of the short URL that comes after your domain, all without leaving the animated GIF that was turned into the short link

You will also find browser tools that let you quickly share the shortened links in social media.

Hopefully you can brainstorm ways that having short URLs with names you pick work better from your domain than some third party service (perhaps those times when someone else has chosen the short cut you want?). You will notice too, that you get some stats too in the usage of your shortened URLs

Example for "Adding YOURLs- a URL Shortener to Your Domain":

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4 Responses Completed for this Activity

  • YOURLs (Kim Carter, @Kcarte02)

    I love this tool. I now have one place to store my bookmarked links. that makes them easy to find and share.  I like that this runs through my own domain. I am not sure that the URLs are actually shorter because it adds in the name bookmarks. However, I like that I can store… Read more »

  • URL Shortener FTW! (jesslyndw, @jesslyndw)

    I was forever bouncing into my bitly account to track traffic on my shortlinks, it’s fantastic to have it all rolled in together with my own site!  It did go glitchy on me when I tried to use capitals in the Custom short URL, but worked fine with lowercase. For example worked but… Read more »

  • URL shortener mission complete…. with an error ;( (Irene Stewart, @IrenequStewart)

    I installed YOURLS and was able to custom shorten a URL. I choose a site I like called Some of us are looking at the sky and shortened it to – which is funny because it is not actually shorter! I chose this site in keeping with the theme of the mad scientist and… Read more »

  • Adding YOURLS to my domain (Lisa Koster, @lkoster)

    I think the coolest part of having your own URL shortener is that you are always using your own domain as part of the URL.  Even though you might be going to an outside site, the link you give ties to your URL. Adding a bookmarklet to the bookmarks bar makes it easy an quick… Read more »

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