This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page gives answers to some common questions we get asked about v.gd, as well as some that we never actually get asked but think people ought to be interested in!

Ways to use v.gd

About using v.gd

Technology and architecture

Spam and abuse


Ways to use v.gd

Can I use v.gd straight from my favourites list?

Yes you can. Just bookmark the following link: Shorten with v.gd. When you click the link in your favourites list, v.gd will provide a shortened link for the page you're on.

Please note that you need to bookmark this link (in most browsers either a right click menu option or done by dragging it to your bookmarks menu) - just clicking on it will try to shorten a link for the page you're on (in this case the is.gd FAQ) and throw an error because of that.

The bookmark requires Javascript to be enabled in your browser (usually on by default). You can safely ignore any security warnings that pop up when adding the bookmark - these are because the link contains Javascript code.

Can I use v.gd from my browser's search box?

Yes. If you visit our homepage your browser should give you the option to add v.gd as a search provider (often this is accessed from a dropdown menu near the search box). Obviously v.gd isn't a search engine, but once you've done this if you put any URL into the search box with v.gd selected, we'll shorten it for you.

Is there a v.gd plugin for my browser?

There are 3rd party plugins available for most web browsers that support our service. See our software page for details.

Is there any other software I can use to create v.gd links?

Please check our software section for a list of 3rd party software that makes use of v.gd.

Can I use v.gd from the application or webpage I'm making?

In general yes. Our developer documentation has the information you need for this as well as some handy examples. Be sure you're aware of our API restrictions and limitations when deciding if v.gd is suitable for your app.

What is a QR code and why would I want to generate one?

A QR (Quick Response) code is a two dimensional barcode. When you generate one, it contains the v.gd URL that you generated it for. If somebody scans it with a compatible device (such as an Android smartphone) they can go to your link. You could place the QR code in a magazine or on a business card. It's debateable whether this is more useful than just writing the shortened URL at the moment, but we think QR codes are cool technology and that more interesting uses for them will appear.

About using v.gd

How can I view statistics on who has visited my shortened link?

Visit the shortened link to get to its preview page. Once there use the link near the bottom of the page that says "I want to see statistics for this link".

Note that you can only view statistics for links that have stat logging switched on (accessed via the "further options" menu when you create them).

Why do I always get to a preview page when I visit a v.gd shortened link?

By default we send everyone who clicks on a v.gd link to a preview page where they can check the link's destintion. This helps to prevent misuse of v.gd (for example in spam emails) by making sure people who click our links, who may never have heard of v.gd, are aware that they could be redirected anywhere and have the opportunity to check the destination. If you'd rather not see a preview page, visit our preview control page to turn it off.

I turned off v.gd's automatic link previews, how can I turn them back on?

Either clear the cookies stored in your browser or visit our preview control page and select the appropriate option.

How can I get to the preview page to see link stats etc. without using automatic previews?

Regardless of how you've set our automatic preview feature, you can always get to the preview page by adding a dash (-) to the end of the shortened URL e.g. https://v.gd/example-. There's a link to view your URL's statistics on this preview page.

How long do v.gd links I create last?

We don't remove shortened URLs as long as they're created in accordance with our terms & conditions. As such we expect them to last forever, excepting technical issues and other difficulties covered in our terms.

How long will my shortened URLs be?

Our automatically generated URLs are typically 19 characters long (including the beginning https://) and will remain that long for the foreseeable future since we can store many billions of URLs of this length. The shortest custom URLs you can create are slightly shorter than this at 18 characters, but you can also make them considerably longer depending on your choice.

What custom URLs are allowed?

The custom part of the URL (everything after https://v.gd/) must be between 5 and 30 characters long. Custom URLs are case sensitive and can only consist of upper and lower case letters, numbers and the underscore (_) symbol. Non-English characters aren't allowed in custom URLs (but you can shorten URLs containing them). We don't have any other restrictions and don't plan to appoint ourselves the moral guardians of the Internet, so things like rude words are allowed.

Are v.gd's shortened URLs unique?

In most cases yes (shortening the same URL multiple times will get you the same shortened link back). This doesn't apply to custom shortened URLs (because we use the shortened URL you supply) or to URLs with stats enabled where we always generate a fresh link to make sure the stats we collect are specifically for you.

Can I delete the shortened URL I made or point it somewhere else?

No. Our shortened links are permanent once created. The main reason that we don't offer this is that it could be abused (e.g. spammers could create innocuous links and later point them somewhere malicious).

Can I shorten non-web URLs (e.g. ftp://)?

Yes. v.gd can shorten URLs that use most common protocols. This includes all on the IANA list of URI schemes except data: (as it was widely abused). We check schemes against a whitelist to cut down on junk submissions - if something you want to use isn't supported, get in touch and we'll consider adding it.

What is the longest URL I can shorten with v.gd?

You can shorten URLs up to 5,000 characters long. This is an arbitrary limit we've imposed to prevent misuse rather than an architectural limitation. Hopefully we won't see web addresses this long any time soon!

Does v.gd require Flash/Javascript?

Basic URL shortening is available without Javascript support, but more advanced features such as custom shortened URLs require it. Flash support is required to view graphs in the statistics pages for shortened URLs, but isn't used for anything else.

What exactly do the "Lower case" and "Lower case pronounceable" radio buttons do?

When a custom shortened URL has not been specified, we generate shortened URLs using a mixture of upper and lower case letters (the links are case sensitive) and numbers. The "Lower case" radio button restricts this to lower case letters and numbers. The "Lower case pronounceable" radio button restricts this further to lower case letters only and tries to generate something vaguely pronounceable using a basic algorithm which alternates vowels and consonants.

Technology and architecture

What software does v.gd use?

The software that helps make v.gd possible includes: -

  • nginx (web server)
  • MySQL (relational database)
  • mongoDB (document-oriented database)
  • PHP (scripting language)
  • APC (PHP cache)

See the acknowledgements section for more on packages and 3rd party software we use.

How does v.gd work?

The principle behind v.gd is pretty simple. When you shorten a URL, v.gd stores the original long version in our database along with its new shortened alias. We either automatically generate an alias that's not in use or use the one you've specified (for custom shortened URLs).

When somebody visits the new shortened URL, v.gd extracts the alias from the URL and looks it up in our database. We can then pull out the original URL and either redirect the visitor there immediately or display a preview page, depending on their preferences. We also log that the visit happened so that we can include it when we update our statistics. All of this happens extremely quickly.

Although the principle is pretty simple, the reality of serving hundreds or thousands of requests every second is a little more complex. We do things like caching details on frequently used URLs on our web servers so that we can serve them very efficiently as soon as a request comes in.

Spam and abuse

What action is v.gd taking to prevent its shortened links being used for spam/abusive purposes?

We're one of the most proactive URL shorteners in combating service abuse. Please read our spam policy for a list of some of the many measures we're taking to prevent abuse of our service.

Why was my shortened link disabled?

Check whether the link's content or the way you used it violated our terms. If not, the URL may have been added to a blacklist that we consult - if you try to create a new link with the same destination our site should tell you which of the blacklists we use the URL is on so that you can attempt to get it removed. If it's inappropriately on our internal blacklist or if none of these things apply, please contact us so that we can look into it since mistakes are very occasionally made (we can easily reinstate disabled links if so).


What's the deal with v.gd and is.gd? Is there a difference between them?

v.gd and is.gd are sister services, but are two separate URL shorteners. They're run by the same team and on the same platform, so their functionality is very similar. The main difference between them is that v.gd displays a link preview page by default whenever somebody visits one of its shortened URLs, but is.gd doesn't (by default it sends people straight to the link's destination). For this reason v.gd can be seen as a slightly "safer" option and is handy for users who always want to know where a link goes before clicking it.

We originally planned to implement previews as the default on is.gd as well, but changed our plans on this because it broke some legacy is.gd links people had embedded directly in webpages as images, was confusing to non-English users, and wasn't popular with is.gd's large existing user-base. The preview page can still be enabled as an option on is.gd on a per-user basis.

Can I/my company advertise on v.gd?

Unfortunately not. We want to keep v.gd as fast and clean for our users as possible, so aren't allowing any 3rd party advertising on the site.

Does v.gd use 301 redirects/does it give my links credit for SEO?

When v.gd serves up redirects it always uses 301 (permanent) instead of 302 (temporary), so does pass on SEO credit to your link. As you may have noticed we serve up a preview page instead of a redirect to users by default, however the default is different for search engines crawlers and other things we detect as automated services. We ensure they're served a 301 redirect rather than the preview page to make sure that your shortened links are crawled and credit passed on appropriately.

Why does the counter on the front page sometimes jump around/increase a lot very quickly?

Because the only accesses that the counter "knows" about instantly are those served by the same web server that's handling your request. Once every minute the counter will factor in the counts from our other servers to get the real value, which causes it to jump up. It can also sometimes jump around or appear to count down if your requests are handled by different servers.

What does v.gd/is.gd stand for?

v.gd is short for "very good". We chose this domain because v.gd was originally developed to be an improvement on our other service, is.gd, which stands for "is good". They have since been ported to the same architecture, so should be equally "gd".

Acknowledgements for things v.gd uses (OK, this isn't a question but it's going here anyway)

v.gd uses a few pieces of open source software as well as some free services to help us on our quest to URL shortening nirvana: -