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Zero Width Shortener (ZWS)

Number of shortened URLs Number of visited URLs ZWS version

Shorten URLs with invisible spaces.

Try it out online: (or with our CLI).

You could also host your own private instance and use any characters you'd like (a-z, emoji, etc).


Code Contributors

ZWS is maintained by Jonah Snider but contributions to the codebase are more than welcome!

Special thanks to Jaex for integrating ZWS into ShareX.

Financial Contributors

Help support this project as a financial contributor.


Individual contributors


Support this project with your organization. Your logo will show up here with a link to your website.

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Status page

A status page for the official instance of ZWS is available at



Deploy to Heroku

Running an instance of ZWS on Heroku is an easy way to self-host thanks to our app.json & Procfile.


Deploy on Railway

You can also easily deploy an instance of ZWS on Railway.


Deploy to DO

We provide a template app specification YAML file to allow users to launch an instance on the DigitalOcean App Platform.

Docker Compose

  1. Clone the repository
  2. Copy db.example.env to db.env and fill in the values
  3. Copy example.env to .env and update the DATABASE_URL environment variable to match the values in db.env
  4. Remember to change the hostname of the database container to db - trying to use localhost will not work
  5. Run docker-compose up -d (this will automatically apply database migrations)

Database migrations

Database migrations are automatically applied on Heroku and Docker Compose. You can easily run database migrations manually through Docker Compose by running the following command:

docker-compose up migration

Make sure the DATABASE_URL environment variable in .env is accurate.

Heroku Postgres

If you are hosting your instance on Heroku, migrations are automatically applied. If you need to manually apply migrations or are only using Heroku for your database you'll need the credentials for your database:

  1. Get the Heroku Postgres connection URI from
  2. Create a .env file and enter in the connection URI



Afterward you can run the migration commands shown above.


ZWS instances expose a few routes that implement the Shields endpoint schema:

Image Route Description Example
Number of shortened URLs /stats/shields/urls Number of shortened URLs
Number of visited URLs /stats/shields/visits Number of visited URLs
ZWS version /stats/shields/version ZWS version