A simple little URL shortener script that saves its data in flat files rather than a database.
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The No Database URL Shortener

This is a simple little URL shortener for personal use which utilizes flat files rather than a database in which to store its data. It's easy to set up, easy to use, fast and secure.



To install the No DB URL Shortener, take the following steps:

  • Upload this entire repository to the host on which you want this to live. It should work on the document root or in a subdirectory. Don't forget the .htaccess file. Alternatively, you can do clone this repository to the server where you want this to live.
  • In the inc directory, rename config.php.sample to config.php and change the values in that file to something that works for you.
  • Change permissions on inc/config.php, inc/daily-count.txt and content/urls to be writable by the server. Ususally, that involves a chmod 777 on those files and directories in the terminal.
  • Hit the URL you've uploaded this to in your browser. You should be prompted to set a password, so do so!

That's it! Once you've set your password, the URL Shortener is ready for you to use.

Adding a Short URL

To generate a short URL and add it to the system, there is /create URL which you can make a REST call to.

Example: /create?pw=PASSWORD&link=URL&hash=KEY

The call accepts the following parameters:

pw required
This is the password you set up during the installation process. Any requests to the /create endpoint that don't include the password will result in an error.

link required
This is the link that you'd like to shorten.

id optional
If you'd like the hash to be generated from an ID (say, the ID of a post in your CMS), you can pass that id in here. If omitted, an id will be calculated utilizing the current date and the number of times you created a shortlink that day, and that will be used to generate the hash.

hash optional
If you have a hash, or slug, that you want to utilize, you can pass it in here. This is handy if you want create vanity shortlinks, such as http://mub.io/awesome. In that case, you'd add hash=awesome to the create request. Note that if a hash is already in use in the system, what you pass in here will be ignored and it will generate a hash for you.

When you make a call to /create, you will get a JSON response. A successful response will look something like this:

    "originalURL": "http://michaelbester.com",
    "shortURL": "http://mub.io/olL43",
    "baseURL": "mub.io",
    "hash": "olL43"

If an error is encountered, the JSON will return an appropriate error message, something like so:

    "error": "Sorry, but your password was incorrect."

Example REST call function

Here's an example PHP function that makes the REST call to the URL shortener, passing in parameters from the $_POST array. It has the pw parameter baked in, but you'd still have to pass in at least link as a post parameter:

public function build_short_url()
	$url_shortener_endpoint = 'http://mub.io/create;
	$url_shortener_password = 'abc123';

	$post = array_merge($_POST, array('pw' => $url_shortener_password));

	$options = array(
		CURLOPT_URL => $url_shortener_endpoint,
		CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS => http_build_query($post)

	$ch = curl_init();
	curl_setopt_array($ch, $options);
	if ( ! $result = curl_exec($ch ) ) {
		$content = new stdClass();
		$content->error = "curl_error($ch)";
		$content = json_encode($content);
	echo $result;

Note that I currently haven't provided any alternative methods to create new short URLs such as a form or a bookmarklet. The current implementation suits my immediate needs, but if you would like to set up some alternative avenues to create URLs, pull requests are more than welcome.

Changing Your Password

If, at any time, you'd like to change your password, it's easy to do. Just take the following steps:

  • SSH or FTP into your server, and open inc/config.php for editing.
  • Delete the HASHED_PASSWORD definition and its comment. Save and close the file.
  • Reload the index page of your instance of the URL shortener in your browser.
  • Set a new password in the form there

That will write a new HASHED_PASSWORD definition to inc/config.php. Be sure to update your calls to the /create endpoint to use the new password!

Version History

0.2.0 - Added a default redirect option. Current stable version.

0.1.0 - Initial release.



MIT License. See the LICENSE file. You can use URLShortener in personal projects, open source projects and commercial products.