Introducing the Simple URLs Plugin for WordPress

How many times have you wanted to know exactly how many times that link you put in your blog post has been clicked? Have you ever wanted to shorten those long, ugly affiliate URLs? Well, if you answered “Yes” to either of those questions, Simple URLs is the plugin for you.

Simple URLs is a URL management system allowing you to create, edit and track any URL you want.

Now, I know there are URL shortening services out there that will do this for you, but when you’re placing links on your OWN site, it’s a bit unprofessional to link off to a URL shortening service. With Simple URLs, the links you publish will be from your own domain.

And although it’s popular to use page redirects to mask your affiliate links, this creates two very big problems:

1. There’s no way to tell how many times that link has been clicked.
2. As Otto points out, having too many pages can be a serious performance issue.

Simple URLs uses custom post types with a custom permalink structure, so performance and scalability issues are a thing of the past!


You can get yourself a copy of the FREE Simple URLs plugin at the WordPress Plugins directory – go ahead and download it there.

Here are just a few of the possible uses of the Simple URLs plugin:

1. Affiliate links
2. Banner, button, or text link advertisements.
3. Links to your other blogs and websites.
4. Links to your Twitter and Facebook pages
5. Internal (as opposed to outbound) link tracking.
6. Download link counter!
7. … and any other link you can think of!!!

Here’s a screenshot of the Simple URLs Admin page:

Simple URLs Plugin for WordPress
(click image for larger size)

Here’s a screenshot of the Simple URLs Add URL page:

Simple URLs Plugin for WordPress
(click image for larger size)


  1. Hey Nathan. Does this work ok in Multi-Site? I assume it does.

  2. Awesome plugin, it’s great to see more creative uses of custom post types. Just needs a fancy icon!

  3. Thanks for the great plugin. It is really a simple and powerful plugin.

    Thanks Nathan.

  4. Its really great plugin. I have been using gocodes till now. Can you please explain how this plugin is different from gocodes?

  5. Very nice plugin thanks for sharing

  6. At a glance it seems that I could easily have this plugin replace my YOURLS installation but riddle me this: does anyone (Nathan?) foresee the ability to auto-create short URLs and send them via API to, say, Twitter? Using the WP to Twitter plugin and YOURLS, this is quite simple but I’d be happy to switch it all over to this plugin if that type of functionality is possible.

    In any case, cheers for another great release!

  7. This is perfect!! Thank you – there are some plugins out there that are really popular with my clients but they are wreaking havoc on the loading times of the sites. So happy to try out this alternative!

  8. Looks pretty good. thanks. I’ll give it a go.

    I would like to add that I’m pretty sure this can be done with Google Analytics. That might be a bit more involved but it all keeps the Analytics centralized and consistent.

  9. Question: will the new URL work outside of the WordPress site? For example, let’s say we send it to someone in an email message… will it still work? Or do they have to click on the actual link within the site?

    I hope this question makes sense. 😉

  10. Isn’t this what the existing plugin “pretty link” already offers?

  11. Awesome plugin. I have wanted to have this kind of plugin in my site. Great work

  12. Awesome!
    This way a can have a “clean start” when I’ll switch from e-junkye to share a sale 😉


  13. I was just grumbling about how there had to be an easier way to shorten URLs on Friday — and wallah! StudioPress to the rescue!! I’ve played with other plugins and for some reason or another it never worked out and I was back to an off-site URL shortener. This will be fun and interesting to play with! Keep up the good work!

  14. Some other features that things like YOURLS and other plugins make use of that I am curious if this has…

    1. Auto-generation of short urls on page/post creation?
    2. Auto-generation of short urls when page is viewed (if one does not already exist)?
    3. Ability to send short urls through APIs to Twitter, Facebook, email app?
    4. Take over the “get shortlink” button on the post creation page?
    5. Accessibly via API so other plugins can pull short urls for pages?
    6. The ability for users to see and obtain the short url when sharing your page with others?
    7. The ability to replace the URL in feeds so that people who subscribe to the feed get the short url?

    Lastly as this plugin progresses I would love to see it fully compatible or integrated with the following plugins, if possible. Right now I am using a mix of YOURLS and Twitter Friendly Links to meet these requirements.

    1. FacePress II
    2. WP to Twitter
    3. Sociable
    4. SexyBookmarks

    I can’t think of others off hand, but I am sure they exist.


  15. I use GoCodes that does the same exact thing, including the /go/ url part… Coincidence?

    • We noticed that plugin after we had already released our plugin.

      One key difference between the plugins is the fact that Simple URLs uses custom post types. As mentioned in the blog post above, this alleviates any permalink lookup inefficiencies present in plugins like GoCodes.

      Also, GoCodes says it’s compatible up to WordPress 2.8. Obviously, our plugins are, and will always be, maintained for compatibility with the latest version of WordPress.

  16. This is one of the main reasons that I chose Genesis. The plugins and functionality is amazing. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Hi Nathan, are there any plans to record more stats about clicks on this plugin? eg. rather than just counting the number of clicks – also showing IP address, time of click, referring URL / keyword etc?

  18. Is there some way to track this through Google Analytics? I know the redirection page isn’t going to kick off JS, so perhaps a custom action hook that fires off when the link is clicked on the site?

  19. Nathan,

    A really stupid question– when I create a simple url, when I mouse over the link on the webpage, the simplified url should appear in the lower left corner of my browser, correct?

    With Simple URL activated and simplified urls created, when I mouse over the link, the affiliate links are visible, instead of the renamed url’s