Making a link shortner

Incredibly easy.

My first thought when I got the following message

Also, do you know how to make a URL shortner?

was yes, probably, all things considered. The last two days I’m been working on it, and it’s turned out semi-well. There’s a bug or two that needs fixing, but I figured I could post a short tutorial on how to do a simple one.

Right, I’m assuming a few things:

  • You have a web server
  • You have a short domain/subdomain
  • You have MySQL & PhpMyAdmin
  • You know how to use PHP

With that out of the way, let’s set up our MySQL database. You’ll need a table called links, in which it should have the columns laid out like so:

- actual [text]
- short [text] (no other special values are required)

Now, in our file named shorten.php (which you should download here), we need to edit a few things, first, make sure you change the PDO to connect to your database. Also, change

$b = generate_random_letters(5);

to be any length you’d like. Lastly, make sure


is the domain or subdomain of your site.

Great! Now that we can create short links, we need to interpret them. In long.php (link), change the first


to redirect to your main website. This will redirect users to the main website if there is no short link.

Fantastic, you’re all done! As a bonus though, you can use a .htaccess file to tidy up your URL.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^([A-Za-z0-9-]+)/?$ long.php?short=$1 [NC,L]

So instead of, it will be

That’s all for today :)

Files index:

shorten.php — GhostBin

long.php — GhostBin

.htaccess — GhostBin

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