Affiliate Link Cloaking

How to cloak affiliate links

The main goal of an affiliate marketer is to get the user to click on the link and make a purchase. There are many difficulties in this process, up to the link itself. To make it more decent and clickable, the affiliate hides the link using special services. We will talk about why cloaking affiliate links is needed in our article.

Why cloaking affiliate links

Increasing clickability

Standard links can be long and obscure. They scare away users as you never know what will be on the other side, you can run into scammers or catch a virus on your device. Public opinion has developed in such a way that long links are considered suspicious and even dangerous, while short links are absolutely safe.

Simply put, no one wants to click on a link like this:

But such a link for the user looks quite normal:


Links can serve as a way to increase brand awareness if they are memorable. Naturally, the shorter and simpler they are, the easier they are to remember. If necessary, the user can even enter them into the address bar and go directly to the desired page.

Traffic tracking

A link cloaking plugin helps you keep track of who is going to your site and from where. This simplifies the work with affiliates as you can give them your own links, with the help of which you can then track their effectiveness. The same goes for different traffic channels – you can set different links for email, Facebook and other sites.

Improvement of SEO-indicators

Link cloaking helps maintain a balance between external and internal links. In addition, a link that is clicked more often gains more weight for search engines. Cloaking just makes the link short and beautiful and more clickable for users.

What plugins are used to cloaking links

Pretty Links

Pretty Links is a link management plugin for WordPress. It is designed to create short and beautiful links, but also has many other useful features.

For example, a plugin can track the number of clicks on a link, including unique ones. This is useful for collecting statistics, you can find out which ad was more successful.

Pretty Links also provides a redirect feature. Redirection can be made permanent or temporary – however, it will be available already on the paid version.

By itself, Pretty Links is free and you can cloak links like that. But the premium subscription expands the plugin’s capabilities. It costs from $99.5 per year.


ThirstyAffiliates is a slightly more complex plugin for WordPress. It also helps with link cloaking, but requires more technical knowledge from the user. For webmasters-beginners, it is not suitable so it is better to look for something simpler.

In addition to link shortening, ThirstyAffiliates has an A / B testing function, the plugin determines which of the links performs better. In other words, this is a verification of the affiliate program.

The plugin seamlessly integrates into the site’s visual editor – an additional button simply appears in the control panel. Managing links in this way becomes as simple and clear as possible.

Thirsty Affiliates has both a free and premium version. The latter costs from $79.50 per year.

WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Link

The WooCommerce plugin is an easy-to-manage and reliable way to cloak links. You can set up any of three types of redirects – 301, 302 or 307.

The plugin itself is completely free. On the other hand, it does not provide any way to track users coming from links. If you need options for collecting incoming audience statistics, you should choose another plugin.

Simple URLs

Simple URLs is another great plugin for WordPress that allows you to shorten and mask links, as well as track their data. It is easy to manage and does not require payment,  with such a tool, you can easily eliminate the need for such services.

The only problem with Simple URLs is that developers have stopped updating it. Some users complain about compatibility issues, that is, the plugin is not suitable for everyone.

Easy Affiliate Link

Easy Affiliate Link is an affiliate link management plugin specifically for WordPress. The plugin is more focused on Amazon affiliate links, but it can be used for other links as well.

The free version of the plugin allows you to collect statistics, categorize links and export them to XML files. The premium plan expands the possibilities – for example, the plugin will notify you by email if the link suddenly becomes broken.

The premium version of Easy Affiliate Link costs only $29 per year, which is not cheap for such powerful functionality.

URL Shortener

URL Shortener is a simple and fast tool for shortening and cloaking links.

The most important advantage of this plugin is speed. Shortened links load instantly, users do not have to wait several seconds, as is the case with other services.

However, URL Shorteners also have disadvantages. For example, after installation, it does not get up with a built-in widget in the sidebar of the control panel. This means that each time you have to open the plugin interface and work with it directly, the processes become somewhat longer.

URL Shortener is absolutely free.

Main points

  • Link cloaking is needed in order to make a long affiliate link more clickable.
  • Disguise services help collect statistics. They track the sources from which people go to your site.
  • To cloak links, you will need to connect the plugin to your site. For beginners without layout and programming experience, this can be somewhat difficult.
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