Create TinyURL Using Bitly API in PHP

Are you looking to create short links for long URLs? Short link or TinyURL is easy to share via email and on social media. When a user clicks the short URLs, they’re automatically forwarded to the destination URL.

Bitly is a popular URL shortener service. They allow us to create short links and track the individual link analytics. In this article, we study how to create a short link using the Bitly API and PHP.

When we generate TinyURLs with Bitly, your link will be something like where is a domain and 3PCDJW2 is a random string assigned for a long URL. If you run or hit this short URL, it first goes to the domain and then will redirect automatically to the main URL.

Bitly uses HTTP 301 redirects for its links. The 301 status code means permanent redirecting.

Getting Started

To get started, you first need to have an account on Bitly.

In order to use Bitly API, you have to generate an access token. The access token is mandatory to interact with the APIs. During the API call, you must send this token in the Authorization header.

To generate the access token, click on Settings from under the top-right corner of your username.


On the next page, click on Developer Settings => API. Enter your password and you’ll get the access token. Copy this token as we need it in a moment.


Next, to create a short link with Bitly, it needs to send the HTTP POST request to the API endpoint. In PHP, you can send HTTP requests with Guzzle and cURL. I am going to write a code for both Guzzle and cURL so users can pick the one fitting their application.

Send HTTP Request Using Guzzle

For sending HTTP requests, I personally recommend using Guzzle as it does not require a cURL extension enabled on your server. Additionally, Guzzle provides a much cleaner code as compared to cURL.

Install the Guzzle library in your project using the command:

composer require guzzlehttp/guzzle

Upon package installation, write the below code in your PHP file which generates TinyURL for you.

require_once "vendor/autoload.php";
use GuzzleHttp\Client;

$token = "ACCESS_TOKEN";
$long_url = "LONG_URL";

try {
    $client = new Client([
        // Base URI is used with relative requests
        "base_uri" => "",
    $response = $client->request("POST", "/v4/bitlinks", [
        "json" => [
            "long_url" => $long_url,
        "headers" => [
            "Authorization" => "Bearer $token"
    if(in_array($response->getStatusCode(), [200, 201])) {
        $body = $response->getBody();
        $arr_body = json_decode($body);
        echo $arr_body->link;
} catch(Exception $e) {
    echo $e->getMessage();

Make sure to replace the placeholders ACCESS_TOKEN and LONG_URL with their actual values. This code sends a POST request to the along with a long URL. In response, you will get your short URL. Try to visit this short URL and eventually, you’ll be forwarded to the original URL.

Send HTTP Request Using cURL

$api_url = "";
$token = "ACCESS_TOKEN";
$long_url = "LONG_URL";

$ch = curl_init($api_url);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, json_encode(["long_url" => $long_url]));
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, [
    "Authorization: Bearer $token",
    "Content-Type: application/json"
$arr_result = json_decode(curl_exec($ch));
echo $arr_result->link;

All short links generated via Bitly API are available inside the Bitly dashboard. On the dashboard, you will also get insights into these links that can be used for marketing purposes.

I hope you understand how to create TinyURL using Bitly API in PHP. I would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.

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