Free Web / URL Redirection Services, Free Subdomain Names
Get a subdomain name or a shorter URL for your website
Free Web Redirection, Free URL Redirection, Free Domain Names (Subdomain Names), Shorter Web Addresses
If your website has a long URL (web address) as a result of being hosted on a free web host, these free services provide you with either a free subdomain name or at least a shorter URL that you can publicize on your website. When visitors enter that shorter URL, they will be redirected to your actual website. Unless specified otherwise here, you may assume that the free services impose some sort of advertising on your site, whether a popup window, banner frame, text link requirement, or otherwise.
Also listed on this page are some services that say they provide "free domain names". In general, while this is correct in a manner of speaking,
in that you can get some sort of domain name which you use for your website, be aware that you won't be able to get a
.net domain names. They are often some sort of domain name of the form
x.y.z since the person
running the service has probably bought a
y.z domain name and are offering subdomains of this. The same arguments against
using the free subdomain names provided by a free web host, given in the article
Is it Possible to Create a Website Without Buying
a Domain Name? The High Price of "Free" also applies to such domains. The services that provide these subdomain names may also
provide DNS services as well so as to allow the subdomain name you sign up for to be directed to an IP address.
If you can afford it, and you really want a permanent URL for your website, I strongly recommend that you buy your own domain name. There's just no good way around this. A step by step guide can be found in the article How to Register Your Own Domain Name. You may also want to read Important Precautions to Take When Buying a Domain Name.
Incidentally, before you willy nilly replace all your site's addresses with short URLs, be aware that many users don't like to click
such short URLs because they don't know where they will be taken to. With the prevalence of all sorts of malware plaguing the Internet,
people are more inclined to trust a URL containing a normal address like
http://www.thefreecountry.com/webmaster/webredirection.shtml than a shortened URL like
http://chtsw.com/f/fwrd no matter how neat it appears to you.
Explanation of Some Terms Used in URL Forwarding
"Path forwarding" means that if your visitor enters a filename together with the shorter URL (like www.whatever.com/somename.html) they will be redirected correctly to the somename.html on your actual URL. This is not automatic for all free web redirection services.
"URL Cloaking", "Stealth / Cloaked URLs" or "Masked URLs" means that your visitors will not see your actual web address (URL) when they arrive on your site. This is typically accomplished by putting your website in a frame.
"301 Redirect" or "Permanent Redirect" means that the service redirects the address to your site using something known as a "HTTP 301 server code". This is important for those using such services purely as a URL shortening for use on sites that restrict the length of your URLs (like Twitter), but otherwise have their own domain name. This allows search engines following those links to credit such links to your site such as computing your site's importance for ranking purposes.
Free Web / URL Redirection and Free Domain (Subdomain) Names
This is a URL shortening service that can redirect to any page on your website. Your URL does not expire. As far as I know, I think it uses a 301 (permanent) redirect.
- Bit.ly: A Simple URL Shortener
This URL shortening service also gives you statistics on the links you shorten. Note that it also makes an archive copy of the URL you shorten (at the time you shortened it). The redirections are permanent, ie, they use 301 redirects.
This service provides you with a free subdomain name of the form www.yourname.co.nr. It provides URL cloaking or masking, and forwards the address via URL redirection to your actual website. It also supports path forwarding, META tags support, and Favicon support.
- UNONIC United Names Organisation Free Domains, JOYNIC and Smartdots.com
UNONIC provides web forwarding for subdomain names of the form *.net.tf, *.us.tf, *.eu.tf, *.ca.tf, *.int.tf, *.edu.tf, *.de.tf, *.at.tf, *.co.at.tf, *.ch.tf, *.ru.tf, *.pl.tf, *.cz.tf, *.bg.tf, and *.sg.tf. JoyNIC provides you subdomain names of the form www.your-name.us.tt, www.your-name.uk.tt, www.your-name.eu.tt, www.your-name.ca.tt, www.your-name.de.tt, etc. Smartdots provides get subdomain names like www.your-name.net.tc, www.your-name.us.tc, www.your-name.eu.tc, etc. The forwarded subdomain names may be cloaked (URL cloaking) and have path forwarding. You also get access the web statistics for your subdomain, a catch all email address (all email messages sent to any address at your subdomain is forwarded to you), and support for your personal favicon.
DotTK provides you with a domain name of the form yourname.tk which you can redirect to point to your existing URL. They can also forward email messages sent to that domain to your existing email address. You must have an existing website before you can apply, and you must receive a minimum of 25 visitors every 90 days.
HotRedirect provides you with a subdomain name like yourname.hothere.com, yourname.coolhere.com, yourname.homepagehere.com, etc. Your subdomain works with or without the preceding "www". You can hide your actual URLs, and the service provides path forwarding so that URLs like yourname.hothere.com/whatever.html and yourname.hothere.com/directory/whatever.html works correctly. This service places banner advertisements on your pages.
In exchange for a 88x31 button link back to them on your pages, ShortURL will provide your site with a subdomain name like *.yourname.shorturl.com, where * can be anything you want ("www", "anything", etc, or even just yourname.shorturl.com). It includes URL masking, traffic statistics, referral reports, path forwarding, frame killers, meta tag support and mirror management. Other domain names that you can choose from include vze.com, spyw.com, alturl.com, filetap.com, etc.
You get three free short URLs for your site: http://browser.to/yourname, http://thrill.to/yourname, and http://WebAlias.com/yourname. In addition, they will hide your site's real URL, causing your users to only bookmark your WebAlias URL. They also provide free banner advertising, usage statistics, and the ability to restrict users accessing your site.
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