[Publish] Setting up your own custom link shortener

You might have noticed that when you paste a link into Buffer's composer, it's automatically shortened to something like “buff.ly/...” or “bit.ly....”. This can be changed by clicking on Settings and then Link Shortening.

You can also set up your own custom link shortener with Buffer, which uses your personal or business' brand name. Our friend Alex from  Name.com put together this simple guide to help you get things set up!

If you have multiple custom link shorteners, registered under different Bit.ly accounts, and you'd like to connect different ones to different social accounts within Buffer, please log out of your Bit.ly account before going through the steps below. You'll then be prompted for authorization, at which point you can ensure you're logging into the Bit.ly account you'd like to use.

1

Register the domain you’d like to use. It’s important to note that this domain can only be used for shortened URLs. Your short domain name needs to be 15 characters or less (including the dot and extension), or else your links won’t display your custom URL.

2

Add your domain to Bitly. You need to sign in or register for a Bitly account. Once you’ve logged into Bitly, you’ll need to go to Settings in the upper right pull-down menu and then click on the Advanced button.

Under the header Branded Short Domain, you need to select if you’re using your short domain for personal or business use. Bitly is going to make you verify your email address quickly before you can continue on from this step.

3

Create a DNS record for your domain name.The next step to bringing your short URL to life is changing your DNS information. A DNS is what makes a browser point to a website, so this is where you’re telling your custom short domain to point to Bitly. To update your DNS information, you’ll need to go to the website where you registered your domain name.

Updating your DNS is typically pretty simple and should be very similar to the instruction below, even if you don’t use Name.com. For Name.com customers, you’ll login to your Name.com, click on your short URL, and then click on Update DNS records.

You’ll now need to edit the A record for your site. You do this by changing the IP address to 69.58.188.49. If there isn’t an existing A record, simply add a new one. Where you see host, you can either leave it blank or add an @ sign. Either option works because they do the same thing. It’s also important to note that you should only have one A record. If you have more than one A record, you should remove all of them that don’t point to Bitly’s 69.58.188.49 IP address.

4

Verifying your domain ownership. Now that your A record has been added to your domain name you need to go back to the Branding Domains Settings on Bitly and press on the verify button. When you do this, your domain is now connected to your Bitly account and your new domain is the default domain for the links you create using Bitly.

5

Pat yourself on the back! You’re almost done! You’re now able to make your custom short URLs work on bitly, but now let’s get to the fun part… making your custom URLs work on Buffer.

6

Connect your Bitly account to your Buffer account. Head on over to Buffer, press the Settings button in the top navigation, and then click on Link Shortening button when the drop down menu appears.

7

Connect to Bitly. Now that you’re on the Link Shortening page, you’re going to press the Connect Bit.ly button. You're then going to go through a flow on the Bitly site that authorizes Buffer to connect to your Bitly account. Once you’ve successfully connected your Bitly account to your Buffer account, you’ll be taken back to the link shortening page in Buffer, where you’ll see your custom URL displayed as selected.

8

Give your custom short URL a spin on Buffer. Now that you’ve set up your custom short domain, you probably want to try it out! All you need to do now is head on over to the Buffer homepage where you schedule your updates, and then type in your message. You're all set 👍