Create Your Own URL Shortener with Polr

Mainstream URL shorteners like are great but hard to customize. Their APIs can be limiting, and while they are perfect for most smaller projects, they do lack that certain flair of a unique URL shortener.

Polr is a free open source URL shortener API that you can install and run locally on your own domain. It’s written in PHP and runs on Lumen, so it should be easy to deploy for any server. You can actually see a live demo here if you want to try it out.

Polr allows you to write your own custom URLs and to auto-generate a link if needed. You can install this on any domain to build custom URLs that point to any page anywhere online.

The framework is surprisingly simple to install and it comes with a full installable web app for your site.

Granted there is a semi-detailed installation guide which you can read here if you’re interested. This basically covers the requirements such as PHP/MySQL along with the installation steps for working with Laravel/Lumen.

I’ll say this is not the simplest solution out there. However it is secure, powerful, and one of the best tools for maintaining control over your own custom URL shortener.

If you check the demo page you can log in using the user/pass of demo-admin.

polr links table

Polr comes with a dashboard page displaying all the links ever created on your site. You can search by keywords or sort by settings such as creation date. It also lets you customize or delete certain links from the database if you want to clean up some URLs.

And it has a fully-fledged API which lets you (or others) apply for API keys and build links programmatically. This is huge for writing your own shareable links that get auto-posted to social networks like Twitter.

Think about huge blogs like Mashable or TechCrunch that run their own URL shorteners. Polr allows anyone to do this on a simple PHP server with an open source platform.

This is by far the best app for anyone looking to create a custom URL shortener. It may take some elbow grease to set up but once you get it going this URL shortener will prove invaluable to your marketing strategy.