Beginner's Guide for WordPress / Start your WordPress Blog in minutes

How to Cloak Affiliate Links on Your WordPress Site

Do you want to cloak affiliate links on your WordPress site? Not sure what does link cloaking means? In this article, we will explain what is link cloaking, and how you can cloak affiliate links in WordPress.

Link Cloaking

What is Link Cloaking and When do you need it?

Link cloaking is a technique used to make long affiliate links into a shorter and more branded link.

Often affiliate links are lengthy, hard to remember, and show your affiliate username or ID like this:

http://www.affiliatesite.com/products/?product_id=123&affiliate=123

Link cloaking allows you to shorten these lengthy ugly link into branded URLs like these:

http://www.yoursite.com/refer/productname

You can use anything as base URL. We use refer in our cloaked links on WPBeginner. Some other popular URL bases are out, go, recommends, etc.

If you are someone who uses affiliate links in your blogs to make money, then you should to cloak links. Many site owners cloak links to properly manage their affiliate links.

Link cloaking allows you to create easy to understand URLs for your outgoing affiliate links. It can also help you add an additional layer of click tracking to ensure you are getting paid for every sale you refer.

You can also protect your affiliate links from getting hijacked by using link cloaking. Lastly, cloaked links allow you to easily manage your affiliate links from your WordPress admin interface.

Video Tutorial

Subscribe to WPBeginner

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress

Since affiliate marketing is an important source of income for many bloggers, there are many WordPress plugins available that allows you to cloak your affiliate links and easily manage them.

We have hand-picked some of the best WordPress link cloaking plugins for you.

You can use any one of these plugins to easily add your affiliate links into WordPress and cloak them to get maximum benefits.

1. ThirstyAffiliates

ThirstyAffiliates is one of the best affiliate link manager and link cloaking plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily add your affiliate links in WordPress and manage them from one single dashboard.

You can insert your affiliate links in any WordPress posts or pages from the buttons on the post editor screen.

Another great feature is that you can automatically replace selected keywords with affiliate links. Aside from that you can choose the base URL, automatically nofollow links, A/B test your offers, geo-target your offers, get stats, and so much more.

We use ThirstyAffiliates on WPBeginner. See our guide on how to add affiliate links in WordPress using ThirstyAffiliates.

2. Pretty Link Lite

Pretty Link Lite

Pretty Link Lite is another WordPress link cloaking plugin. It allows you to easily manage your affiliate links. You can auto add nofollow tag to affiliate links, shorten links, and redirect them properly.

Pretty Link Lite also provides analytics with an easier way to purge older hits from your database. This ensures that these hit logs don’t take too much space on your database and backup files.

3. Easy Affiliate Links

Easy Affiliate Links settings

Easy Affiliate Links is an easy to use link cloaking plugin for affiliate marketers. It allows you to cloak links, add and manage all your affiliate links from a single dashboard.

Basically it has all the features that you would want from a link management plugin with a nicer and easier interface.

4. WP Wizard Cloak

WP Wizard Cloak

WP Wizard Cloak is another WordPress affiliate link management plugin. It comes with all the whistles and bells you would need from an affiliate link management tool.

It provides URL shortening and link cloaking with easy to use tools to add and manage your affiliate links in WordPress.

5. Links Auto Replacer

Link Auto Replacer

Links Auto Replacer is a bit different than most other plugins in the list. As the name suggests, its main use is to automatically add links for certain keywords. You can manage your links and add new links just like any other link management plugin.

6. WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links

WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links

As the name suggests, WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links plugin is for eCommerce sites built on WooCommerce platform.

This plugin cloaks all external links on a WooCommerce site automatically. You can choose a URL slug by visiting Settings » Permalinks page. You can also change the redirect type. But that’s about it, this plugin is not a link manager so you cannot use it to add or manage your affiliate links.

7. Affiliate Link Manager

Affiliate link manager

Affiliate Link Manager plugin takes a different approach for link cloaking. It does not add a URL base like most other plugins in the list. Instead it allows you to use a keyword as the URL slug for the cloaked link. In terms of features it is very limited, but it does the job. It also offers some basic stats for your cloaked link views.

We hope this article helped you learn how to cloak links on your WordPress site. You may also want to check out our list of the 10 best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit – a collection of WordPress related products and resources that every professional should have!

Reader Interactions

15 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Please i am really looking for a way to cloak my links. I will prefer just a keyword to display that can redirect my visitors to the affiliate page. Please which free version can help me with this?

    • It would need to be attached to a url, just a keyword would require editing the hosts file on a computer.

      Admin

  2. Looks like a lot of work for most of these plugins although the csv import is quite handy.

  3. nice article but i believe the best practice is to do it without pluging because it will affect speed. any tips on how to do it manualy?

  4. Great article with helpful tips. I have now set up the cloaking, but I was wondering about the following. Since all the links are redirects, it takes some seconds to load the links. Therefore I would like to show an “exit page” that says something like: Just waiting to redirect you to.. (shop name).. just a few seconds..

    Do you have a tip on how to show an exit page like that?

  5. I use the thirsty affiliate and when it cloak’s my affiliate link and is clicked on it changes back to the default affiliate link. I don’t think that is normal is there a way to fix this? Thanks

  6. Can I ask why you put /refer or /recommend or anything else in the slug when cloaking?

    Why not just have example.com/product-name?

    • You can have the slug right after domain. However, using something as base has its own advantages. It tells users what kind of link it is. If you have a permalink structure where you use post or page title right after domain, then it will be hard for users to guess whether its a post/page or an affiliate link. You may also be using category/tag urls with no category/tag base like example.com/mycategory. Now if you create a category/tag for that particular product then this would cause conflict.

      Admin

    • Hi, and you can with refer/ or something simmilar modify your robots.txt file with Disallow: /refer/ if you think this is a good idea. I think it is.

  7. Well I am giving Pretty links a go because I was using a pure redirection plugin before; but that seems to have really messed with my permalink structure in the Google index!

  8. I heard Matt Cutts saying cloaking any type of links is against quality guidelines. It is because user lands on page other than he see actually. Then how cloaking affiliate links is good?

    • If you are into affiliate marketing, it is highly recommended to cloak your affiliate URLs to make them a neat & clean. Also SEO friendly approved by Google guidelines are Geo – Location, First Click free, URL Rewriting and Replacement of Java Scripts. Yust make sure that you do not lie. If you try to trick search engines or wurse people then it is considerd Black Hat SEO.

Leave a Reply to rahul Cancel reply

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.