The cheapest way to get a custom, branded short link domain
How I got chk.fyi and 1,000 short links per year, for £2.14.
I was getting tired of telling people to "go to chuckwired.com" to find my CV, and my Skillshare referral link was pretty long too. I'd have to copy paste it, and it'd look pretty unprofessional. After some searching and reading reviews, I found the cheapest way to get set up, but still get great control over your links and analytics to boot.
Here's some comparisons before and after link shortening:
Link to my CV
Skillshare referral link, 1 month free
If that sounds good, let's get stuck in!
Get a domain
You can get a domain through most short link providers as part of signing up, but I prefer to keep my domains all in one place. It doesn't matter where you purchase the domain from, ultimately.
Decide a domain name
First, you'll want to get a rough idea what short link domain you want. Here's some criteria that may help you:
- Keep it 6 letters or less in length
- Experiment with alternative spellings e.g. chk, chuk, chyk
- Let the domain search show you results for the domain endings
Common shortlink endings include .ly, .io, and .to.
Decide a domain provider
Secondly, choose a provider to search through and purchase your domain. Here's a few suggestions, with reasons why you might pick them (don't worry, no affiliate links here):
- GoDaddy—they had a one-click setup with the short-link provider I used
- Google domains—recognisable, and keep everything with your Google account
- Namecheap—lucratively priced domains, and they've improved the UI a lot
Protip: if you change your mind, you can always transfer out your domain to another provider later. Usually there's a lock-in period of 3-6 months before you can do this.
Setup your short link provider
We're going to be using short.io. I compared a few others, but here's why I chose them:
- Well designed landing page—I'm a designer, I'm a sucker for this stuff!
- Generous free plan—up to 5 domains and 1,000 custom links
- Customer base—over 20 million redirects daily, and high-profile customers
- Analytics included—I get to see clicks, locations, and any dead links attempted
- One-click setup with GoDaddy—no manual editing of records needed!
By using short.io and GoDaddy I didn't need to do much. If you're setting yours up manually, you'll need to set up a few records. Don't worry, it's usually pretty easy through most domain providers.
You'll need 3 records:
Arecord with value
18.104.22.168, and TTL of
Arecord with value
22.214.171.124, and TTL of
CNAMErecord with value
your.domain, and TTL of
The first two record will tell visitors to visit short.io, and ask it where the short links point to.
The third record points the
www.your.domain to the naked domain,
Add your first short link
You can edit links after the fact, but it can take time for those changes to propagate. By that I mean, it takes time for the link to update everywhere for everyone. Therefore, pick something that's highly unlikely to change, such as a link to your CV.
Test it out!
In a matter of seconds, your short link is generated, and you'll be able to load it from any browser in the world!
Amazing when you think about it, right?
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