Improving our short URL service

Posted in: Archive

Starting from today, if you ask us to create or edit a short URL on, we'll provide you with a web address instead.

Benefits of

Short URLs are shortened web addresses which are used in marketing campaigns, social media and printed publications. They're sometimes called vanity URLs or shortcuts. They allow users to go directly to a page in a website without the need to navigate through the site or use a search engine. They are also often easier to say than the full address.

In the past, we created short URLs by editing a file on a web server. This has been the wrong approach; it's slow and over time this file has become harder to maintain as we've added more addresses. addresses have been introduced incrementally over recent months but with the deployment of a new URL shortening service that we have developed, we are ready to roll out URLs as standard. The benefits are:

  1. It's much easier to create and update short URLs
  2. We now keep a history of changes made to a short URL
  3. We now keep a log of whenever someone visits a short URL.

Existing short URLs

If you ask us to edit an existing short URL starting with ‘www’, we will also create a web address for you to start using.

We'll agree a timeframe with you to retire your old 'www' short URL. You'll have time to update any marketing materials, letterheads or business cards to use your new URL.

New short URLs

To make it easier for users to read your shortened address, all addresses will use hyphens (-) between words. This will make our URLs consistent with the rest of

Example of a new shortcut: is a shortcut to

To make sure that your short URL request is accepted you should ensure that:

  • the short URL doesn't already exist
  • the address can be easily read and understood by other people
  • it only contains lowercase letters, numbers and hyphens.

Requesting a new short URL

You should email and include the address you'd like to use and also the web address of where you'd like to point it to.


This change does not affect redirects which we use to send users to the location of a page or folder which has moved.

URL standards for

While we are on the subject of short URLs, if you are interested you may wish to familiarise yourself with how URLs are used on and their formatting requirements. These standards are subject to regular review and we will post announcements of any updates.

Posted in: Archive