Simple URL Shortening Solution Using Redirect Pages

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Sep 21, 2012 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Using an application like YOURLS, you can host a link shortening solution on your own server. But if you need to maintain only a handful of shortened URLs, installing a full-blown URL shortening application is overkill. Instead, you can use a dead-simple solution based on HTML pages containing the REFRESH metatag. For example, to set up a shorter link to my Wikimedia Commons gallery, I created the following HTML file and saved it as a gallery page on my server:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<title>Redirect</title>
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:ListFiles/Dmitri_Popov"></head>
<body>
Redirecting... Click <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:ListFiles/Dmitri_Popov">here</a> if nothing happens.
</body>
</html>

Now, instead of typing the http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:ListFiles/Dmitri_Popov URL, I use a shorter one: dmpop.dyndns.org/gallery. Creating redirect pages manually can quickly become a nuisance, so I wrote a dead-simple shell script for that:

#!/bin/bash
echo "Short name:"
read shrt
echo "URL:"
read url
cat redir.tmpl | sed 's/URL/'$url'/' > $shrt

The script uses the redir.tmpl file as a template, where the actual URLs are replaced by the URL placeholder.

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