How to set up your own URL shortener using Bitly

Short domain names are a great way to professionally market your content on social media. Use this handy guide to learn how to set up your own URL shortener using Bitly.

Short domains that are branded to your business or website are a must for those who market on social media. Let’s be honest – pasting long links is unnattractive, and whilst you can paste a standard bit.ly or goo.gl link, a branded domain name that is similar to your business name or main domain name looks much better.

Some great examples of websites using this are the BBC who use bbc.in, The New York Times who use nyti.ms and Gizmodo who use gizmo.do. Also, let’s not forget me! I use jd.pe for my short links. Just see below for an example:

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Use the following guide to find out how to set up your own URL shortener using Bitly.
  1. Register for an account at bitly.com and confirm your account via the e-mail you should have received.
  2. Go to ‘Settings’. This is found underneath your username in the top right corner.
  3. Select the ‘Advanced’ tab.
  4. See the second section titled ‘Branded Short Domain’. Then choose ‘Activate a Branded Short Domain for personal use’.
  5. Make sure you’ve got a short domain ready to use. If you haven’t yet registered a domain name, consider using the registrar I use – Namecheap.
  6. Enter your short domain name in the text box on the page.
  7. You will then be provided with an IP address which you will need to set as the A record for your domain name. You can do this yourself in your domain name control panel, or just ask your system administrator.
  8. Once the DNS have propagated (this can take up to 24 hours), all links you shorten using Bitly will now be shortened with your own custom domain name!

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It’s as simple as that! Let me know if you used this guide to learn how to set up your own URL shortener using Bitly – share in the comments your experience with the platform and what domain name you decided to use!

39 Comments

  • I would like to use this for my first project as its not the shortest url in the world but it isn’t that long either. What do you mean by having a short domain ready to use? Do I need to buy another short domain?

    • Yes – you’d need to buy a domain name that would be used as the shortener. Like I mentioned in the post, my domain name is jdab.co.uk but I share the shortened links on social media using the domain name jd.pe.

  • Oh man! I’ve been wondering for AGES how people were posting on Twitter with these shortened URL! People would post news articles and I would notice that after I clicked on the short links it would lead to a longer URL in another page. This is extremely useful when one is wanting to conserve the number of characters in their tweets. Thank you Jamie for posting this!

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  • Thank you for sharing this. I now can use a shorten URL for different sites if I want to, thanks again! 🙂

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