I've recently started to roll my own short URLs. Using Netlify's optimised edge redirects via Netlify's redirects API is incredibly efficient and gives me URLs which I manage on my own domain instead of farming that out to a third-party provider who might go away.

It is remarkably easy to set up. Here's how.

Ant and leaf

The redirect API

Netlify allows you to run redirects directly on their ADN by adding a _redirects file to your project. You can read more details in the documentation, but that file contains lines of config which look a little like this:

/a-short-path http://some-place-on-the-web

By maintaining this file, and pushing it to a Netlify site, we can create as many redirects as we like. Mine, which drives the redirects for a domain I purchased especially for the job is public and available to see on github.

If no matches are found, it falls through to the last possible match in the redirects file and sends people here, to this page.

👋 Hi there!

Sorry I couldn't find that link for you. Or maybe you just wanted to see how this thing works.

More convenience

The rather excellent Kent C Dodds noticed the potential in this technique and took it a stage further, adding some useful utilities to keep the redirects file orgnaised, create shortcodes automatically, and streamline the process of making new URLs with a handy script.

His video walk-through of how he made Netlify-shortener is very good. I recommend giving it a watch.

Photo credits

Vlad Tchompalov - https://unsplash.com/photos/dQkXoqQLn40