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This is a server that bounces traffic to better leverage Deep Linking in mobile apps.


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Universal Deep Link (UDL) Server

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This is a server that bounces traffic to better leverage Deep Linking in mobile apps.

The project's objectives are to be a simple, effective and lightweight tool that can help any website provide a seamless integration with associated mobile apps.

How it works

Modern mobile browsers provide developers with Universal Links (iOS) or Android Intents to support deep linking users from a website directly into a mobile app.

However, do you share links to your website on social media or other 3rd party apps? Your website will likely be browsed on a webview (embedded browser) inside a 3rd party app, i.e. Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, etc. This means iOS Universal Links won't open your app automatically because users are clicking links on the same domain.

When a user is browsing your website in Safari and they tap a universal link to a URL in the same domain as the current webpage, iOS respects the user’s most likely intent and opens the link in Safari. If the user taps a universal link to a URL in a different domain, iOS opens the link in your app. (reference docs)

This is how the UDL Server helps make this a smooth experience for you:


It's a dead simple pivot server that will allow for Universal Links to trigger wherever your users are browsing from.


Following the "reservation" example app from the diagram above (assuming you support Universal Links already) all you need is to add a button (link) on your website that reads "open in app" requesting a redirect to your target location:

This will bypass the limitation of Safari (embedded webview) that doesn't allow your Universal Links to trigger. You should now have a working "open in app" UX. is a public (free to use) UDL Server instance for anyone to try out and use on your own. It has usage limits (throttling), which should be more than enough for most low-medium traffic websites.

If this service adds value to you or your company please consider sponsoring me right here on GitHub. I offer different sponsor tiers too where I will host a private instance without usage limits for ensured reliability. Read more about this on my profile to support the OSS work I do on my free time.

Self host

The project makes it easy for you to self host a UDL Server. The easiest way to do this is to:

  1. Fork this repository
  2. Configure a PaaS to automatically deploy from your fork repository
  3. Configure your custom domain/sub-domain
  4. Keep up with upstream (this repo) for future updates
    • Use the "Sync fork" feature in your GitHub repo
    • Or manually using git
  5. Customize your deployment using ENV variables
      • Number of requests allowed per THROTTLE_PERIOD
      • i.e. 30 (default is 5)
      • Period to track requests to be throttled in seconds
      • i.e. 60 (default is 30)
      • Space separated list of domains for private instance usage
      • i.e. "" (if set it will disable throttling)
      • Disable throttle/safelist feature
      • i.e. "true"

Alternatively you can run the lightweight fdocr/udl-server Docker container on your own. At the time of this writing the docker image is only about 26.3 MB in size (10.87 MB compressed).


Some common details to keep in mind in case your redirects aren't working properly:

  • Make sure your redirects are all using https
  • If links aren't working try to use target="_blank" on your anchor tag
  • Make sure your iOS app has properly configured Associated Domains for the websites you want to support.
    • There's a chance it won't work in development mode (i.e. only signed with a Production certificate). I suggest releasing to TestFlight in order to properly test everything.

Performance & Roadmap

The project was originally written using Ruby & Sinatra. It was a joy to write and worked perfectly fine, but I always wanted this "pivot request" to be as instantaneous as possible. It was doing ~40 ms response times for P99 on less than 1 rpm but supporting consistent daily traffic.

The project is now ported to Crystal and Kemal framework. I'm now seeing response times drop to microseconds, which is very exciting!


I'm aiming to work on adding a bunch of other features to the project and share blog posts with walkthroughs/benchmarks/etc. Feel free to tag along and submit feature requests in the issue tracker.


Please check out the Contributing Guide.

Code of Conduct

This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct.


Released under an MIT License


This is a server that bounces traffic to better leverage Deep Linking in mobile apps.



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