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What is a shortened or vanity URL in a QR Code?

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Anatomy of a shortened URL

If you create a dynamic QR Code, a shortened URL in the QR Code will be used, so fewer characters must be encoded in the QR Code and the QR Code will be easier to scan. Thus, the QR Codes is smaller in size, and you need less space when you print the QR Code.

The shortened URL in the QR Code is also called a custom URL or vanity URL. 

Shortened URL of a dynamic QR Code
On the left you see the shortened URL of the dynamic QR Code and on the right you see the destination URL

The shortened URL of a QR Code contains a customizable text that provides a hint to the user scanning the QR Code about the content of the destination URL. For security reasons and to avoid duplications, it only accepts lower case characters. The length of the vanity URL has to be between 3 and 50 characters.

The destination URL of a QR Code can include parameters and it can contain up to 2048 characters.

Please note, that you can change the target URL on the right side any time, however, you should not change the shortened URL after creation. If you change the shortened URL anyway, all printed QR Codes will stop working.

Short URL versus regular URL

The following example shows a regular URL versus a shortened URL with the same destination:

QR Code with Full URL encoded
The very moving farewell speech at Stanford University by Steve Jobs in 2005 can be found at:
QR Code with shortened URL
The smaller QR Code with the shortened URL looks like this:

Create shortened URLs with your custom domain

The link from the previous example is short and easy to remember. However, when you create a dynamic QR Code the shortened URL will contain the  domain from our website. If you want to brand the QR Code, you can also assign your own domain.

This is possible with our white label platform, which you can operate under your own domain or sub-domain. You can use it to construct any link and are no longer tied to our domain.

Frequently asked questions

Can I pass parameters in the short URL that are passed on to the target URL?

Yes, that is possible. If you add the id parameter to a shortened URL, e.g., the parameter will be passed on to the target URL, e.g.:

Last update 4 months ago