Minimal URL shortener that can be entirely hosted on GitHub pages. Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020


GitHub Pages URL Shortener

This is a minimal URL shortener that can be entirely hosted on GitHub pages. It does not need the maintenance of any servers or databases and can be hosted entirely on GitHub for free.

Yay! We got to the top of HN!


  1. should link to this repo.

  2. To add a new short link, add an issue with the title being the link you want to shorten (including the http(s)://) to

  3. The newly created short url can be accessed via{issue_number}


  1. Unlike many URL shorteners, this one does not need a database uses a “database” in the form of GitHub issues and can be entirely hosted on GitHub pages.

  2. There is no need for the pound symbol - short URLs look clean like this: instead of looking like this:

How does this work?

Thanks to @kidGodzilla for the pretty neat explanation here.

  1. CNAME points URL to gh-pages branch
  2. 404.html handles all requests
  3. Small javascript snippet fetches a JSON representation of the GitHub issue via the JSON API, and redirects to the issue title, as a URL.
  4. Profit?

This is so cool! How can I use this with my own domain?!

Disclaimer: This method of creating a URL shortener is hacky and not meant to be reliable or used in production. Do proceed at your own risk!

  1. Fork the repo before cloning your fork.
  2. Set up GitHub pages for your forked repo.
    1. In your forked repo, click the Settings tab and scroll down to the GitHub Pages section.
    2. Then select the main branch source and click on the Save button.
  3. If you are using your own domain:
    1. Set your domain up for GitHub pages.
    2. Change the URL in CNAME file to your domain.
  4. If you are using GitHub page’s default domain i.e. Something like https://<username><repo-name>/
    1. Delete the CNAME file.
    2. Change var PATH_SEGMENTS_TO_SKIP = 0; at the top of 404.html to var PATH_SEGMENTS_TO_SKIP = 1;.
      1. This is as GitHub domains have an additional path segment (the repo name) after the host name.
  5. Create a new repo as a database. (Or you could use your forked repo)
    1. Update var GITHUB_ISSUES_LINK = "<your-github-issues-link>"; at the top of 404.html accordingly afterwards.
      1. Format for GITHUB_ISSUES_LINK:{owner}/{repo}/issues/
      2. Remember the trailing /!
  6. Push your changes to your forked repo, and your low cost and cool as heck URL shortener will be ready for use!

To feature your fork here, edit this section and open a PR!

  • eexit/s - Created a bash script that allows for shortening of URLs straight on the command line! Check out his script here.
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Article Title: Minimal URL shortener that can be entirely hosted on GitHub pages.
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