How to Make a URL Shortener Website Like Bitly for FreeIn today’s digital age, URL shorteners play a crucial role in simplifying long and cumbersome URLs, making them more manageable and shareable.

While popular services like and TinyURL exist, self-hosting your URL shortener provides you with control over your data and privacy.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to set up your own URL shortener using YOURLS, a self-hosted URL shortener, and YunoHost, a platform for self-hosting web applications.

What is YOURLS?

YOURLS stands for Your Own URL Shortener. It is a free and open-source software that allows you to create and manage your URL shortening service.

YOURLS provides features similar to popular URL shortening services and allows you to have full control over the shortening process.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following:

  1. A Domain Name: You will need a domain name for your URL shortener website. You can purchase one from domain registrars like Namecheap.
  2. A Server or Hosting Provider: You’ll need a server to host your YOURLS instance. You can use RackNerd or Contabo VPS.
  3. YunoHost Installed: Follow the installation guide to set up YunoHost on your server. YunoHost will simplify the installation and management of YOURLS. It is one of the best cPanel alternatives.

Create a URL Shortener Site Step-by-Step

Step 1: Install YOURLS via YunoHost

Log in to your YunoHost instance.

Admin YunoHost

Add a domain. From your dashboard, go to Domains > Add Domain.

Add Domain YunoHost

Go back to YunoHost dashboard, click on Applications and then Install a new application.

Search for YOURLS, select it, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

YOURLS Install YunoHost

Fill in the necessary details.

Install settings YOURLS

Then install SSL certificate.

Install SSL Certificate YOURLS

Step 2: Configure YOURLS

Once the installation is complete, navigate to your YOURLS instance in your web browser.

YOURLS Main Page

Click Installer YOURLS and it will automatically configure everything.

YOURLS Intsaller

Complete the installation, and you’ll be redirected to the YOURLS admin interface. Your login credetials is the same with your YunoHost admin.

YOURLS Admin Page

Step 3: Test Your YOURLS

Now enter a test URL. Your default short URl will be But I’ve enabled a plugin that assigns random words instead of bland numbers.


And it redirects to the long URL!

Redirected YOURLS Testing

Go to Managing Plugins and enable the first three plugins.


You can even check your shortened URLS with its built-in analytics.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I customize the appearance of my URL shortener site?

Yes, YOURLS allows you to customize the appearance, including themes and CSS styling.

Is it possible to track analytics for shortened URLs?

Yes, YOURLS provides comprehensive built-in analytics.

Do I need to have a VPS?

Yes. You need to install YunoHost on a Linux server. Then install YOURLS.


Setting up your URL shortener with YOURLS and YunoHost is a rewarding endeavor that gives you control over your links and data.

By following these steps, you can create a personalized and secure URL-shortening service tailored to your needs.

Wishing you success in your self-hosting URL shortener!

Did I miss something? Ask me in the comment section below. 👇

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