If you are promoting someone else product with a referral/affiliate link, then cleaning up the link format is a great idea to help drive more traffic and sales. If you are using a tracking platform like thrive/voluum/prosper202, then you can skip this step and use their software to create this link.

Most people have stumbled onto a affiliates review/jump page webpage while searching in google. If so, then you have most likely been cloaked and redirected. Its used for many reasons, as you will see in the live example below. If you are planning on mostly just shortening the url, then you might think about just finding a self hosted url shorter. Bitly is another option, but i highly recommend having a private domain doing that.

Reasons Cloaking/Shortening/Redirecting:

  • Help improve the CTR
  • Clean up the URL format
  • Increase Trust with the Customer
  • Hide the Link from googles spiders
  • Shorten the URL for Social Media Posts
  • ect, ect, ect.
Live Example

This example is from a google search for free garcinia trial offers ( a very popular affiliate offer ), to show you what can happen between the start and end url.  If you hover the mouse over the hypertext link Of Yes, I Want to Try The Recommended Garcinia Cambogia Now – you will see the end url address showing as garciniacambogiahowto.com/try-our-recommended 

Tracking Redirection Paths:

We can check the URL redirection path with a free tool called wheregoes. Enter the starting Url link and Trace URL. If it has any redirection between the starting url and the ending url it will show below.

So the customer thinks they are staying on your page, but you really are sending them to a affiliate offer on another domain.

WP Plugin for Cloaking Links:

Under Add Plugins – Search for and install Easy Affiliate Links . 

Plugin Author: brechtvds
Manual Download Link: here

Easy Affiliate Links will create its own menu within the main left hand wordpress menu. Head over to the affiliate links tab and click on Add New.

Link URL: This is where you would put the affiliate link, The link you want them to really visit.

Short link Slug: The link slug for the redirection URL page. With this plugin, it sets all the url re-directions into the default folder of /recommendations/. So you just need to create the page name.

They also have a nice feature that helps you track how many outbound clicks you are getting to those referral links. If you forget, or need to make any changes to this redirection just go ahead and “edit the post” like you would with any other wordpress blog post.

If you visit: //pdxweb.design/recommended/godaddyhosting.html
You will see that you get sent to godaddys website.

being this is a example – i did not use a real affiliate link here. If you want to have more control over there redirection process, then you will have to manually create a file to upload to the server. 

Optional: Manually Creating a Redirection File

Manual Download LinkNotePad++ 

Notepad++ is a free text editor that makes writing html documents offline really convenient and simple.  If you want to create a custom url to redirect like pdxweb.design/freegodaddyvps.html, then this is the way to go about it for a affiliate link. Create a php or html document in Notepad++ and paste in one of the following codes. Make sure to change out the affiliateoffer.com domain for the link you are wanting to redirect to.

PHP Based Redirect

// PHP permanent URL redirect
header(“Location: http://www.AffiliateOffer.com/new-page?affid=244&cid=352.html”, true, 301);


HTML Based Redirect

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; url=http://www.AffiliateOffer.com/new-page?affid=244&cid=352.html”>


Create and Save the Hypertext Document:

We are going to go ahead and make a HTML redirect, called freegodaddyvps. Paste in the HTML code from above, and Save AS a Html hypertext file. 

Uploading the HTML document With Filezilla:

If you are using a unmanaged VPS Server, or like using a FTP program over cpanel, Then go ahead and drop the new html file manually into the HTML folder.

example: /var/www/html/godaddyfreevps.html

Manual Link redirect example

Uploading the HTML document With Cpanel:

If you are using cpanel, then go ahead and head to the upload file manager. Select the file and upload it into the Public_HTML folder.