$ ln -s_ Because the Internet can never have too many redirector services...



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The idea of URL redirection services on the Internet is nothing new. There are other similer services like smlnk.com and tinyurl.com. ln-s.net started as a project to take what these folks had done and optimize it in a fairly silly fashion.

By silly optimization, we referr specifically to the content of the URLs generated by ln-s.net. The most obvious optimization is in the name itself. "ln-s.net" has one fewer character than "smlnk.com". (For those who aren't familiar with Unix, the command "ln -s" is used to create a symbolic link on a file system.) Further, ln-s.net uses base-67 encoding of its URL indexes.

Why base 67, you ask? Because there are exactly 67 characters that meet the following criteria:

  • Don't have special meaning to HTTP (this kills ?, &, % et al)
  • Automatically create a highlighted link in the windows ssh client (this gets rid of <, (, |, "." and the end of a URL, et al)
  • Automatically highlight with a double-click in rxvt (Unix) (this excludes [, ], \, et al)
  • Properly select with the "Open URL" function in SecureCRT
... which leaves you with 0-9, A-Z, a-z, $, +, -, :, and _. Using Base 67, the maximum signed-long value of 9223372036854775807 = 540rs:Rov9a. Four characters is enough to encode over 20 million URLs.

So what does all this mean? You'll always get a small URL that's as compact as possible while still complying with web standards that's easily selectable from common Unix terminals and a common Windows terminal (I'd have considered PuTTY also, but it won't even auto-select the "http:" in a basic http:// url).

We encourage you to use ln-s in automated scripts, bots, and so-on using our API.