Difficulty Level: 2/5
If you have been around social media in the last few years, you likely have stumbled across a few Bitly links. Shorten links I believe became so popular due to twitter, and the limit of 140 characters. Shortening a long url to 10ish characters is always, it looks cleaner, and saves a lot of space in the post. More so when you have a domain name that’s over 10 characters to begin with. The other problem is this site has been around for awhile, so alot of the generic url texts are used/taken. Such as Bit.ly/freewebsite, but if we had 404domains.com/freewebsite we could do that. It also looks like they removed their other optional domain names as well, so this is the only way to go about it. Rather than manually uploading and installing a 3rd party software to our server, we can just point our domain over to bitly. Then we can go ahead and use their dashboard/platform and just have our domain in the link.
Step 1: Bitly Account Creation
If you headover to Bitly.com, go ahead and create a account with them. The Facebook account creation is likely going to be the fastest/easiest to do.
In the upper right hand corner is where the main menu is located at. If you click on that Head to Settings > Advanced Settings.
Under the advanced options you will see the Branded Domain Menu, go ahead and click on that to get the A Record ip address. Their default for the time are the ip’s listed above.
Step 2: Adding New A Records
If you head over to the Cpanel of the domain you are wanting to use for the redirection – go ahead and find Advanced DNS Zone Editor. We are going to have to manually add in those ip addresses, and remove the default one to forward our domain to bitly.
Name format: DOMAIN.COM. < With the extra period at the end.
Type: Record A
Address: The IP address Bitly gives you.
You will enter this for each IP address, there should only be two. If this domain is for shorterned urls only, then go ahead and remove the default A record name for
domainname.com. 1200 in (ip address:port)
Just make sure not to delete the ones you just added, so make sure to look at the ip address before deleted it. The ones highlighted above are the A records for Bitly.
After the records update, you should get forwarded over to a bitly address if you visit www.yourdomain.com. This means the domain is setup and ready to use. Go ahead and head back over to the bitly main dashboard menu.
Step 3: Creating A Branded Link
Now when you create a Link, you will have the option to select whatever domain name you want. Go ahead and click on the default domain name Bit.ly to bring up the next menu.
You should see your new branded domain show up on this list. Verify it if you have not done so already. Select the new branded domain and enter in the redirection link.
Make sure to go ahead and use the customize feature to rename the link. The nice thing about having a branded domain is now you will not be limited on what you can call the link. If i was planning on using this on my own personal projects, id go for a shorter domain name. 404domains is kind of long for a “shorten” Url, check out the bonus content for more info on finding a 4-5letter domain to use.
Looks like its working just great, and no other redirects in between – 😀 Nice work!
How to Find a Short Domain Name
Under the Filters for ExpiredDomains.net, You will find the domain length limit/max. Set the max to 5 or 6 and any other filters you might want for this domain.
If you click on LE, it will sort the domains by the length of the domain.
123finder.com was a random one i found after digging into a few different search results for other options to use. This was one of the better ones i found out there, its a little ugly but does the job.