Vanity URL For SharePoint

Vanity URLs are short and unique custom branded URLs that make long and unattractive links look short, easy to remember and share. Vanity URLs are highly used by marketing professionals on various marketing materials and social networking sites.

SharePoint has the tendency to spit out very long and ugly URLs and besides very few complex IIS tricks there aren’t many options out of the box to solve this issue.

In this article I will examine few available Vanity URL/Shorten URL solutions for SharePoint from third-party software providers.

Jan Tielens’ URL Shortener Solution

We start our quest for a better shorten URL solution for SharePoint with Jan Tielens’ URL Shortener. While his solution is free, very easy to deploy and perfect for a quick Shorten URL workaround method it would not be suitable for a proper Vanity URL option. He is using the popular bit.ly API to shorten the links. That means the shorten links would inherit the bit.ly domain name followed by some randomly selected letters and numbers. I can bet your marketing department would not be happy with this solution.

Compatibility: SharePoint 2010

Price: Free

Paul Liebrand’s SharePoint URL Shortener

This SharePoint feature created by Paul Liebrand allows end-users to generate shortened URLs against SharePoint content that can be used in documents, emails, navigation links, etc.

The latest version of this feature allows you to customize the short name before it gets created.

Compatibility: SharePoint 2007

Price: Free

SharePoint Joint Vanity URL

SharePoint Joint Vanity URL allows users to easily create short vanity URLs which point to more complex locations.

Shorten URLs can be pointed to pretty much anything online not just SharePoint sites or documents.

The best feature this product offers and separates itself from the rest of the pack is the ability to create vanity URLs that can be scheduled to start or end at a specific date for time specific uses.

Also, besides being the cheapest complete Vanity URL solution for SharePoint, the licensing covers unlimited server installs, free support and updates!

It took me less than 5 minutes to install the trial version on SharePoint 2010 server.
 Upon vanity URL .wsp solution installation and activation a custom Vanity URL list was also created under the root Site Collection. Vanity URLs can easily be created and updated here.

I was able to create three vanity URLs pointing to various sources in no time.

Since I didn’t purchase the license, I cannot vouch for the support and updates included with the paid version, but based on the trial, SharePoint Joint Vanity URL is clearly the strongest candidate for my best choice of third-party Vanity URL solution for SharePoint.

Compatibility: SharePoint 2010.

Price: $99

Protiviti SP URL Manager

Developed by the well-know SharePoint consulting company, SusQtech (now Protiviti), SP URL Manager is my second best choice to make your SharePoint links pretty. SP URL Manager from Protiviti allows you to create short vanity URLs that are easy to remember and get people to what they need quickly.

SP URL Manager can be easily installed by any SharePoint site administrator and activated on any or all of SharePoint sites in the farm. Once installed, the SP URL Manager tool can be accessed from any SharePoint document or webpage via the ribbon.

Compatibility: SharePoint 2010

Price: $499 (SP URL Manager license/server)
 Price: $99/year Support & Updates (SP URL Manager Software Assurance)

SharePoint ShortUrl

Provided as a very lightweight solution file, SharePoint ShortUrl can be deployed on SharePoint 2007, SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server 2010. All the code and shortcuts are managed within the SharePoint environment.

Using SharePoint ShortUrl a shortened hyperlink can be created to any Page, List Item, Document and View within SharePoint. Also to any external URL including FTP and mailto.

With SharePoint ShortUrl you can create ShortUrl’s directly from the Site Actions Menu and/or any List/Library items Context Menu.

All the ShortUrl’s are stored in a regular SharePoint List which allows for all of the standard List functionality of audit trails, workflow, security permissions, item approval and so on.

Compatibility: WSS 3.0 & MOSS 2007 (32 & 64 bit systems), SharePoint 2010 Foundation and SharePoint 2010 Server

Price: $399 (Standard License for SharePoint 2010) — $699 (Enterprise License for SharePoint 2010)
 Price: $299 (Standard License for SharePoint 2007) — $599 (Enterprise License for SharePoint 2007)

Muhimbi URL Shortener

The Muhimbi URL Shortener for SharePoint 2007 & 2010 (MuSH) makes it easy to share long and complex web addresses via email, verbally over the phone and social media platforms.

Although similar in functionality to publicly available services such as TinyURL and bit.ly, MuSH has specifically been designed with enterprises in mind by providing functionality such as:

- Users can specify their own Short URL Name.
 — URL Shortener functionality can be accessed from SharePoint Workflows as well as as via external Web Service calls.
 — Tight integration with SharePoint 2007 & 2010.
 — Compatible with all web based applications and intranets.

Compatibility: WSS 3.0, MOSS 2007 and SharePoint 2010.

Price: $499/server

If I missed any notable Vanity URL/Shorten URL solutions for SharePoint, please feel free to post a comment, and I will update the list accordingly.

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