Have you ever needed to write down a web site address, or worse – type it into a text message? And it’s something like http://www.someboguswebsite.com/this/is/a/painfully/long/url. Tedious, right? Or have you needed to paste an address into a tweet, but you’ve come up against the maximum character limit?
In the case of Twitter, chances are you’ve used Twitter’s URL shortener of choice, Bitly. In this case, the awful, long URL becomes http://bit.ly/1xXCa5h – 21 characters instead of 60. Quite a trick. So you use the shortened URL for convenience, pass it on via social media or SMS and this is magically transformed into the original URL, upon use.
Recently in my very geeky news feed, I came across Polr, a self-hosted URL shortener. What a wheeze! Grab yourself a suitable domain, and you can poke your tongue out at Twitter, Google and the like, with all their evil data-mining ways.
It was surprisingly easy to get up and running with Polr, in our case using a virtual server hosted with Amazon. We bought a nifty little domain, gd1.uk and off we go! To be honest, the most time-consuming part was tracking down a short domain name – there aren’t many about.
All this is a roundabout way of saying, please feel free to use our brand shiny new URL shortener. Because it’s so young, the URLs generated really are very short. http://geekanddummy.com for example is now http://gd1.uk/1 – just 15 of your precious characters.
Yes, we’ve had to put adverts on it. Server hosting ain’t free. But we won’t charge you for using the service and we have no wicked designs on your data. Promise.
So go to it. Bookmark gd1.uk and enjoy the majesty, the awe of the world’s best* URL shortener. GD1 – it’s a good one.
*Well we think it is, anyway.