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These three files together form an affiliate link redirect script.
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteRule (.*) ./index.php?id=$1 [L]
$id = isset( $_GET['id'] ) ? rtrim( trim( $_GET['id'] ), '/' ) : 'default';
$f = fopen( 'redirects.txt', 'r' );
$urls = array();
// The file didn't open correctly.
if ( !$f ) {
echo 'Make sure you create your redirects.txt file and that it\'s readable by the redirect script.';
// Read the input file and parse it into an array
while( $data = fgetcsv( $f ) ) {
if ( !isset( $data[0] ) || !isset( $data[1] ) )
$key = trim( $data[0] );
$val = trim( $data[1] );
$urls[ $key ] = $val;
// Check if the given ID is set, if it is, set the URL to that, if not, default
$url = ( isset( $urls[ $id ] ) ) ? $urls[ $id ] : ( isset( $urls[ 'default' ] ) ? $urls[ 'default' ] : false );
if ( $url ) {
header( "X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow", true );
header( "Location: " . $url, 302 );
} else {
echo '<p>Make sure yor redirects.txt file contains a default value, syntax:</p>
<p>Where you should replace with your domain.</p>';
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I must be doing something wrong because I can't get this to work right. It seems to work when I link using /out/{keyword} but not when I do /out/?id={keyword}. I've tried the following:

Putting all of the code from the .htaccess in a block in my .htaccess
(works on /out/{keyword} but not the other way)

Putting just the 4th line (the last rewrite rule) in the same spot in my .htaccess
(works on /out/{keyword} but not the other way)

Tried variations of the (.*) part

When I hard code a 301 redirect from /out/{keyword} to /out/index.php?id={keyword} and remove the RewriteRule (.*) ./index.php?id=$1 [L] line, it works fine (but that almost defeats the purpose of doing all of this)

I'm stuck. Any ideas?

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ghost commented Aug 20, 2013


Make sure the /out/ directory, and the files w/in it, have the same owner:group as your WP directory.

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ghost commented Aug 20, 2013

It seems to work when I link using /out/{keyword}


Isn't that exactly how it's supposed to work – or am I missing something?

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I wasn't sure if accessing the link both ways (using the direct /out/{keyword} and /out/?id={keyword}) would work at the same time. Must have misunderstood. Works fine with the direct link

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Parney commented Oct 14, 2013

Hi. What code do I need to add to open the redirected links in a new window? Thanks.

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Thank you for great script. This is working well on one of my servers. However I had problems to get it to work with my new host. Finally got it working by adding "RewriteBase /myfolder" to .htaccess file. I'm not a coder, so I'd be happy if anyone can suggest the reasons, why I had to do this?

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SEOMike commented Nov 15, 2013

Would anyone by so kind and help me make this script work in WordPress?

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I'm also trying to get this to work on WordPress. If my current .htaccess file looks like this:

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php5s .php

RewriteEngine On RewriteBase / RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

What should it look like after adding the necessary parts of the Joost .htaccess code?

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Hi Joost,

I try this script with wordpress.

I have a folder "goto" with 3 files: .htaccess, index.php and redirects.txt.

In redirects.txt, I have 3 lines :

Live URL:

Ping-O-Matic – Pinging search engines so you don’t have to.
"Ping-O-Matic" link to ""

But the output is 404 with url address:

How do I resolve the problem?

Thanks for your help.

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qim commented Feb 13, 2014

Hi jdevalk

I found your article very interesting but being a novice to this business, especilly away from html/css I am confused.

Basically I have 4 questions:

  1. add the code as it is in the article to my .htaccess without affecting what I have there already
    1. Do I use the php file exactly as it is, and where do I place it? In the root directory?
    2. The redirects.txt seems too simple to me as affiliate code is usually quite long.
    3. And the bigger question: what do I write in my html file instead of the affiliate code?

Thank you very much

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qim commented Feb 13, 2014

Well, I decide to go ahead and try. First, when I added the htaccess code I could not open any of my pages; I decided that was because it was looking for the non-existent index.php but after putting that in the root directory again I could not open any page of the site.

I assume that the index.php is not supposed to replace the index.html, right?

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qim commented Feb 13, 2014

Please ignore the previous two posts (I don't know how to delete them).

I managed to make sense out of it but although I can redirect easily to normal sights, the affiliate code does not worl, probably because, as was mentioned above, that your code does not like question marks in the url.

In the actual link I was testing for a hotel chain, first the url got stuck and did not open anything; when I changed the ? to %3F as suggested above, the page opened but in the affiliate company and not in the advertiser...

Do you have a work-around?

Thank you

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qim commented Feb 14, 2014

Please ignore my posts above. I've sorted it our and it works very well. I ignored the .htaccess file because it, somehow, prevented any of my pages to open. In any case I already had in it
Options -Indexes
which stops folders being accessed.
If anyone needs to see what I have done you can see the code in one of the pages, e.g.

Thank you very much.

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I am having trouble with mine. It doesnt seem to be working at all. Not sure what Im doing wrong. Trying to implement it on WordPress. Tried it on a test site of mine and no luck. Last link on this page called "test Link".
I created a new folder in my root folder of my site called out and uploaded the files and left the yoast link as a test.
If you could please help.

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So I just put all this (including NGINX script) in my server & I don't see no /out/ links on my website yet. How long before I see a difference???

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3mounika commented Feb 4, 2015

I have tried this on wordpress blog It's working for me.
But i have lossed what i am getting before.

i.e I am using affiliate links like this -[currentuser_id](short code plugin) i am getting at the front with current logged in user id example for admin is -

But after using this trick i have lossed it, at the front end i am getting, but clicking on that link it will going directly -

Please help on this. Please

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Thanks so much for this script!

Is it allowed for Amazon affiliate links?

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pnb1 commented May 21, 2015

I'm sorry, but where exactly I need to put these files? Do I need to append this code to the existing files?

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kenroar commented Jul 29, 2015

I hope you don't think my questions are stupid. I am not well versed at this. I need to cloak my Amazon affiliate links.

  1. Will the redirect open in a new window or do I have to add the "target=_blank" code in the URL?
  2. Do I have to create a separate script for every affiliate link in the /out/ folder?
    If I need a different redirect for every link would it look something like this?
  3. Does the redirect file in the /out/ folder act like CSS where I add something in the original URL in HTML in my pages such as div="redirect"

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ghost commented Sep 2, 2015

Hi @kenroar

  1. It will not open in a new window, but yes, if you use target="_blank" in your link tag (a href=...), it will open in a new link.
  2. No, you don't need a separate script (if you mean PHP script), the single index.php script works for all links, but as you pointed out, you need a unique entry in redirects.txt for each affiliate link.
  3. Not sure what you mean but the redirect file in /out/ is not in any way related to CSS. It simply accepts a target id through the href link in your HTML's a tag and redirects accordingly. Any CSS should be added to the HTML tag. So, an example link would be something like this assuming you use the folder /out/ as Yoast does:
<a href="/out/?id=amazon" target="_blank" class="{whatever css class you want here, nothing to do with the redirect}">Get this product on Amazon</a>

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I’m no PHP expert, but I wanted to change the 302 status code to 307. When I did it, I may have found redundant code here: header( "Location: " . $url, 302 );

First, I attempted to change the current 302 copy to 307. This did nothing. I did a bit of research and then changed the X-Robots-Tag instead:

header( "X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow", true );
header( "X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow", true, 307 );

I also deleted the 302 in the Location tag since it doesn’t seem to have a purpose (The default response is 302 for redirects, so a 302 status is return whether the 302 is in that tag or not):

header( "Location: " . $url, 302 );
header( "Location: " . $url );

All put together I’m now using:

if ( $url ) {
header( "X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow", true, 307 );
header( "Location: " . $url );

Please correct me if there's a purpose for the 302 in the Location tag. As far as I can tell it doesn't create the status code.

Cheers! And thanks for the script.

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prof611 commented Apr 24, 2016

I just ran across the other day, and since I am somewhat of an expert on link-cloaking, I decided to try out this method myself. It works, but there are two disadvantages compared to the method I recommend, .

(1) There is quite a bit of work involved in setting it up, and the instructions are not very clear in some places,

(2) My method has been around for years, and it is superior to yours in two very important respects: (i) The affiliate ID is not shown in the address bar of the destination URL, and (ii) The destination page may be ANYWHERE - it's not necessary for the user to be redirected to the same URL that appears in the affiliate link.

Please take a look at for a 5-step procedure of how to use CloakerBuzz, and an explanation of how it works. And download a free copy to try on your own - it's easy, and it works!

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Okay, so I have godaddy website builder, and I also have absolutely no clue how to code. I downloaded the files, but where would I even put it? When I add the code to the html code thing it just makes text. I'm so confused

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Mack86 commented Aug 18, 2017

Hi Everyone,
Find this page very interesting!!
I'm new in this cloaking stuff finally reach here.........
Can Someone tell me how to cloak it, I have watch lots of YouTube tutorial but nothing help me..

  1. index.php
  2. .htaccess
  3. redirects.
    In INDEX

Make sure yor redirects.txt file contains a default value, syntax:


Where you should replace with your domain.

'; } If my landing page is "" where should I change it and the safe page is "" where should I put it Thirdly? which code shoud I use in my index.php for Highly appreciate!!

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What I did is just upload 3 files into my domain main directory and overwrite .htaccess and replace my domain in redirects.txt and I am getting following error ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS in chrome browser I didn't create any robots.txt. when redirects.txt was default my domain redirects to
Will someone please help me to sort this issue?

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MomBot commented Apr 26, 2018

It does what it says on the tin! I had already created a subdomain for my website, which I won't list here, but I simply created a subdomain and named it "go" and then issued a Let's Encrypt SSL certificate for it (because... why not). I created a robots.txt file and yes I did exclude that whole subdomain. Then I uploaded the three files (index.php, .htaccess, and redirects.txt). In the redirects.txt file, I started with my default entry, which is my homepage, and then listed out all my affiliate links. I keep a separate spreadsheet with the raw and cloaked links for all affiliate programs. When I tested the links, they simply worked! I'll now be setting up this same list on all my sites so that they can individually link to the affiliate links smoothly. This rocks! Thank you, Yoast and Github!

Someone advised me to cloak all my outbound links for consistency and because if those links start up an affiliate program later, it's simple to change the entry for that link in the redirects.txt file and then it's done! I also have a couple of affiliate programs that I'm waiting on an approval for. I'll go ahead and write my articles and link to the regular site with the cloaked link, then once the programs are set up, I'll insert my new affiliate link into the redirects.txt file.

One last note: the question marks in my links did not require special handling as someone noted above. I left them in place and the links worked as desired. Color me one happy camper!

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This is so fcking incredibly useful! Thanks a lot.

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zakul commented Apr 21, 2020

Hi, great work on this solution!
I am wondering if it is possible to have Google Analytics for the links which will be then redirected?!
Does anyone have a solution for this or can point me in the right direction?

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Hi, great work on this solution!
I am wondering if it is possible to have Google Analytics for the links which will be then redirected?!
Does anyone have a solution for this or can point me in the right direction?

My solution is to use Google tag manager to set a "goal" to capture click url that contains "go" (just treat it as an external link), otherwise Google analytic alone could not capture it because you have no Google Analytic code in the /go url. Correct me if I am wrong.

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Johndale99 commented May 18, 2021

Great work. Any idea how I block direct browser access to the redirects.txt file via htaccess?

Currently all my aff urls are accessible via https://my-site/link/redirects.txt

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