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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>';

jdevalk commented May 21, 2013

If you want to make this work with NGINX, use this gist.

This script will always set the value of $url to:
$urls['id'] OR
$urls[default'] OR
an empty string

and therefore match the isset() at the end.
Without a default value you'll redirect to an empty string for missing id's.

@future500 is right.
Missing IDs should be 301'ed to homepage to keep the link (leak) juice :)


jdevalk commented May 22, 2013

Replaced the isset with an !empty, the default would take care of redirecting to the homepage so people should make sure that's set.


jdevalk commented May 22, 2013

Added a warning message for when default is not set :)


jdevalk commented May 22, 2013

Added some input checking and made slightly easier to read by defaulting the "default" value to false. Also now allows for /out/example/ (note the trailing slash).

Does this CSV file allow for blank spaces and/or mixed case letters? I would assume so if this is using rewrite.

hey joost, thanks for that. Is there also a script for lighty available?

mxlje commented Jun 28, 2013

@christiandietrich Since there are no htaccess files on Lighttpd, you need to put the rewrite rules directly into the server config.

Add this somewhere to /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

url.rewrite-once = (
    "^/out/(.*)"  => "/_outbound/?id=$1"

I put the actual redirect code in /_outbound because I like to keep things seperate.

Also: add url.access-deny = ("redirects.txt") to the config to prevent access to the file.

Didn't work for me :-(

Goes always the the "default" url.

Unfortunately the script doesn't work when there is a ? in the URL which you enter in redirects.txt. That's for example the case for amazon search results.
Anyone has an idea how to fix this? Probably somewhere in the index.php, but my php is a bit rusty...

edit: Ok, the answer was actually quite simple: replacing the ? with %3F did the job. I'll leave it here in case anyone else is trying to solve it...

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?


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.


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?


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

Parney commented Oct 14, 2013

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

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?

SEOMike commented Nov 15, 2013

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

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?

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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.

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???

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

Thanks so much for this script!

Is it allowed for Amazon affiliate links?

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?

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"

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>


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.

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!

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

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!!

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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