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There are loads of short url services these days, but a lot of them disappear and your links are lost. So what can you do in order to have control over your short URLs? It's pretty easy (assuming you have your own domain): create your own short url service with Google Apps. Obviously, this is a free service (as long as you have the domain name).

1. The first thing you need to do is set up Google Apps for your domain.

2. Then go to THIS link and click on "Add it now" button and enter your domain name. After logging in, enter the subdomain for your short URLs. For instance "sh.yoururl.com". You then need to create a new CNAME in your domain name control panel. Name (alias) this CNAME "sh" (for my example, it depends on what you have chosen), and redirect it to ghs.google.com

3. Let's take care of all the settings for our short URLs. Click on "Additional Short Links settings":

short url google apps

For the good of your own url shortening service, make sure you check the following boxes:

Access restrictions: Only administrators may create new links.

Miscellaneous options: Use permanent redirects (HTTP code 301).

4. To create your short url, go to the subdomain you have set up. In my example: http://sh.yoururl.com. You will reach as screen which looks like this:

google apps short url

You can now start creating your own short urls using Google Apps. You can either choose to create your custom short url or hashed short url (which will look like this: http://sh.yoururl.com/rtu62f)

Also, as you can see, there are also two bookmarklets you can use, one for private and one for public links. You can drag them to your browser toolbar and click whenever you want to create a short url.

And finally, you will also have some stats for your links so that's also something to take into consideration when deciding if you want to use your own url shortening service with Google Apps. As you can see, basically you won't lose any (or most of them) features other url shortening services have, and also, using Google Apps, you are sure you won't lose your short URLs!