Making Short WordPress URLs with and PHP

Tweet This Much to my chagrin, the latest update of Stats (v. 1.63) broke the internal shortlink functionality in WordPress (ie. the links that accompany every new post). After I realized this was causing my post content not to display properly, I pulled the get_shortlink() function off of my site and thought about what I should do next. After a little Googling, I came upon David Walsh‘s excellent article on how to create short URLs using PHP and the API. It basically told me everything I needed to know, but since the API had changed since he wrote his article, I modified the function to make it v3 compliant (it’s possible that the 2.01 API he was using still worked, but I didn’t actually check). You can find my new version of the function down below.

< ?php /* make a URL small */ function make_bitly_url($url,$login,$appkey,$format = 'xml',$history = 1) { //create the URL $bitly = ''.$login.'&apiKey='.$appkey.'&uri='.urlencode($url). '&format='.$format.'&history='.$history; //get the url //could also use cURL here $response = file_get_contents($bitly); //parse depending on desired format if(strtolower($format) == 'json') { $json = @json_decode($response,true); return $json['data']['url']; } elseif(strtolower($format) == 'xml') //xml { $xml = simplexml_load_string($response); return $xml->data->url;
elseif(strtolower($format) == 'txt') //text
return $response;

/* general usage */
$short = make_bitly_url('http://YOUR LONG URL','YOUR LOGIN','YOUR API KEY','xml');
echo 'The short URL is: '.$short;


Because I wanted to use these short links on my blog in place of a “” widget, I added the make_bitly_url() function to my functions.php file and the following code to my Index Template (index.php) and my Single Post Template (single.php):

< ?php $the_title = get_the_title(get_the_ID()); ?>
< ?php $the_permalink = get_permalink(get_the_ID()); ?>
< ?php $bitly_link = make_bitly_url($the_permalink,'YOUR LOGIN','YOUR API KEY','xml'); ?>
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  1. Mike W. says:

    As far as I can tell this script works like a dream. Thanks for sharing. I’m not using it with WP —- just on my site — but it’s working great so far.

    Fantastic work!

  2. bumpershine says:

    Thanks Mike, glad you like it.

  3. Klebson says:

    What if the system returns an error? or even returns nothing (due timeout or serverdown) ?
    How can I catch the error?

    1. saya says:

      i’m having the same issue…

  4. amoswright says:

    this is simple and awesome, thanks so much for sharing!

  5. This is great, thanks!

  6. Sparen says:

    Thanks a lot!

    Is it possible to use an encrypted https connection to ?

  7. logan says:

    how do i insert the permalink into another url? I want it to connect to pinterest via their sharelink.$the_permalink.pinterest&media=&layout=

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