WordPress URL Shortening: An Interesting Consequence

Long post and page URLs can be annoying.

Take an example: https://gauravtiwari.org/2011/02/06/derivative-of-x-squared-is-2x-or-x-where-is-the-fallacy/ (one of the most popular posts from my blog).

Will you like to write these (about) a hundred characters?

Or will you prefer URL shorteners, like bit.ly or wp.me, instead?

As a third option, you may say, "I can just copy and paste the URLs to anywhere I want to share".

The second idea is great.

But using shorteners will never give you the same satisfaction as the first and third will do, because the blog URL https://gauravtiwari.org is not visible and also looks odd to see characters (like 1xYzKl3n).

What then? Copy-paste method appears to be the best method among all three. This post is about the fourth strategy of sharing URLs you may want to try.

The fourth strategy involves WordPress URL shortening techniques that is done without any external scripts or plugins.

WordPress' inbuilt URL Shortening: Explained

But before we proceed, let’s know what a ‘slug’ is?

A slug is a few words that describe a post or a page. Slugs are usually a URL friendly version of the post title (which has been automatically generated by WordPress), but a slug can be anything you like.

Slugs are meant to be used with permalinks as they help describe what the content at the URL is. The post slug is the part of the URL after the date in a post’s URL. When the default post slug is created, all letters will be converted to lowercase, spaces will be exchanged with dashes, and any special characters will be removed. You can modify the post slug by clicking the Edit button next to it in the visual editor. When you’re finished editing, click Save and then Update Post/Page.

»via WordPress Codex

How to shorten a WordPress post or page slug in a more efficient way?

Here are some interesting ways to define a personalized, very short and share-friendly version of the URL for your post.

Eliminate the ‘time-stamp’ from the slug and
https://gauravtiwari.org/derivative-of-x-squared-is-2x-or-x-where-is-the-fallacy/ should redirect to the same post at https://gauravtiwari.org/derivative-of-x-squared-is-2x-or-x-where-is-the-fallacy/

So it got a little shorter.

Want it to be even shorter? Then cut one or more characters from the URL: For example:

  1. https://gauravtiwari.org/derivative-of-x-squared-is-2x-or-x/
  2. https://gauravtiwari.org/derivative-of-x-squared-is-2x-or-x-where-is/

Both 1 and 2 are equivalent and redirect to the same post.

Want it to be shorter? Then eliminate everything but a single word. e.g., https://gauravtiwari.org/derivative/

Looks cool, no? Yes, Just like a Page URL! And it redirects to the same post as all other links above.

You can share this URL with your friends now. :)

Still the word too long for you?

Then abbreviate it further to

Want it to be a little more short? Try the shortest, a single letter: https://gauravtiwari.org/d/ !

Well, it does not redirect to https://gauravtiwari.org/2011/02/06/derivative-of-x-squared-is-2x-or-x-where-is-the-fallacy/

Where does it go?

It goes to d’ Alembert’s Test of Convergence.

(URL= https://gauravtiwari.org/2011/04/09/d-alemberts-test-of-convergence-of-series/)

Why ?

The reason is specified below at point 2.

Important Points to Take Note Of

Here are some points which follow and guide you on shortening URLs:

  1. Date stamps are not important when writing shortened-urls. You may totally ignore them from the shortened URL or just leave them as they are.
  2. Any URL of the type https://gauravtiwari.org/d redirects to a post/page which slug starts with ‘d’. If there are two posts having slugs starting with the same letter of the alphabet (here d), then it will, in alphabetical order, redirect to that post in which the first word (if same then the second word) comes first in English Dictionary. For example, https://gauravtiwari.org/d will redirect to https://gauravtiwari.org/d-alembert ... rather than to https://gauravtiwari.org/derivative/
  3. If two/more posts have the same slugs and you are using an identical shortener that might go to any of them, then that will choose to go to the post which was published earlier.

Some slugs are not allowed in posts or pages on WordPress and WordPress.com due to security reasons.

  • Periods(.)
  • /activate/
  • /category/, /subject/ (or any category base slug, which is chosen from Setting –>> Permalinks).
  • /comments/
  • /feed/
  • /i/
  • /next/
  • /signup/
  • /tag/, /topic/ (or any tag base slug, which is chosen from Setting –>> Permalinks)
  • /wp-admin/
  • /wp-content/

PS: You cannot shorten your post URLs /page URLs (this way) until they are published.

This trick works for both the free WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.org blogs.