The Best Custom URL Shortener

A custom URL shortener can come in handy. Here's a round-up of some of the best link simplifiers.
Using custom URL shorteners
Using custom URL shorteners

A custom URL shortener can come in handy. Here’s a round-up of some of the best link simplifiers.

The easiest link shortener of them all. Google’s very own tool to simplfy your links gets the job done without you needing to do much else apart from visiting their site and pasting in your long link. It’ll shoot back a link that you can share.

If you want some extras it will generate a QR code for you to share. You can also check link analytics such as link clicks, referrers, browsers, countries and more.


The long standing giant of the simply link world. Bitly has been around for a while and has a number of integrations for the power user.

You can keep track of all the essential analytics. There are some great browser plugins that will make your link sharing life simple. You can even hook into their API so that it works seamlessly with your WordPress blog or a service such as IFTTT. do place click limits on shortened links for commercial purposes. This is something to bear in mind if you want to drive plenty of traffic to your business using short links. They do have a paid Bitly enterprise version exactly for this purpose.

Pretty Link

This is my URL shortener of choice and works as a WordPress plugin. That means you can keep your own domain name for short links instead of using a third party domain or domain you point to third party nameservers.

The free version works great or there’s a Pretty Link Pro version that offers more redirection options, grouping and advanced link click reports.


YOURLs is short for “Your Own URL Shortener” and it will do everything the aforementioned services do – for free. The catch is that you’ll need to install it on your own server and maintain it yourself.

If that doesn’t phase you YOURLs could be exactly what you need for link simplification.

How Do You Shorten Links?

Now you know about some of the tools which do you consider the best? Perhaps you use a URL shortener not mentioned here? Let me know about it!


Mike is co-founder of New Media Europe - obsessed with everything new in media and technology. He's also a founder of audio production company Music Radio Creative.