Link Cloaking Guide: How to Cloak Affiliate Link in 2021

Link Cloaking

Tons of affiliate marketers struggle with spammy links and commission theft. Some people replace your affiliate link with theirs. Or your SMTP server marks your emails containing affiliate links as spam. The good news is that there's a simple solution called link cloaking.

A lot of people ask me, “Hassan, why are my emails going to spam even if I use Amazon Simple Email Service (SES)?”. Some people also complained that they got their SES accounts blocked even if they only sent legit emails. 

After investigating the issue, I found out that they used affiliate links that contained suspicious or blacklisted domains. The algorithm of email service providers may mark your emails as spam. So, how to avoid it?

Yes, cloaking your links is the solution. This guide will walk you through a step-by-step process to do it without or without a website.

But first, I'll help you understand the concept of cloaking, which is misunderstood by the masses. Let's get started without further ado. 

The term ‘cloaking' sounds like a sin, but it's a legit and useful practice in digital marketing. Link cloaking simplifies long and complex URLs and makes them more user-friendly. It helps you avoid your emails from going to spam and protect your affiliate commissions. 

Let's define link cloaking now.

Link cloaking is the process of shortening an affiliate link to make it user-friendly and less of an affiliate. 

Lots of people use the terms cloaking and link shortening interchangeably. But they're different. Link shortening is shortening a link, of course. Let me give you an example of a shortened link:

Long URL:

Shortened URL:

As you can see that the shortened URL is shorter than the long URL, without a doubt. But it's not easily memorable at all. So here comes the difference between link shortening and cloaking.

The goal of cloaking is to make the links user-friendly and easily memorable for your users. While in link shortening, you only shorten the link.

But what are the benefits? Let's get to know why you would want to cloak the link. 

There are tons of benefits of cloaking your affiliate links in addition to protecting your commissions. Let's discuss them one by one right now. 

Isn't it obvious? Today, people are smart enough to understand online tactics to boost CTR (Click-Through-Rate). That's why they have learned to click the legit links only.

People are more likely to click “YourWebsite.Com/Product” than on “ARandomWebsite.Com/Products/eb45ez”

I hope it makes sense. Cloaked links attract more clicks. They're trustworthy and easily memorable by your site's users. All this makes your links more user-friendly than traditional affiliate links. 

Tracking the traffic on your affiliate links becomes easier with link cloaking. Knowing which affiliate links are getting traction is important because you can better serve relevant content then. It will substantially boost your profits without a doubt. 

Let me give you an example. If your audience clicks on links about games more than links about gaming peripherals, you know to focus more on games now. That's the power of tracking your links.

Links cloaking offers efficient link management without a doubt. As an affiliate marketer, I don't have one or two affiliate links. I've hundreds of them, actually. So, I need to manage them effectively. 

You can customize your links while cloaking them. And some link cloakers also offer customization as well. It means you can change your links as per your choice. You can divide them into categories as well. 

In this guide, I'll help you set up your own link Cloaker, so you don't have to pay a high price for it. And you can do the link cloaking without any plugin. Sit back, save your bucks, and do it yourself! 

To build your own link Cloaker, you need a small VPS server to host your affiliate links. You also need a domain name for cloaking your links. For VPS hosting, I recommend DigitalOcean because of its affordability and seamless functionality. 

Let's have a look at the steps you need to cloak your affiliate links now.

1. Create a Droplet on DigitalOcean

1. Create your DigitalOcean account for free

link cloaking in digitalocean

2. Log into your account and click on the “Create” button given in the top-right. 

create droplet in digitalocean

3. Go to Marketplace and click see all marketplaces

marketplaces in digitalocean

4. Choose ‘LAMP,' which is a pre-configured server. And you don't need any technical knowledge to run it. 

choose lamp in digitalocean

5. Create LAMP Droplet

Create LAMP Droplet in digitalocean

6. Choose a $5 machine that is enough for all your cloaking needs

Choose 5 dollar machine in digitalocean

7. Select a data center of your choice and scroll down

8. Choose a hostname, which may be your domain name. I've entered as my hostname. Choose a domain name with substantially good standing. J

Domain to do link cloaking

9. Create your droplet by clicking on the green button below the page now. 

10. Wait for a sec so that your droplet gets configured. 

11. Now copy the IP address given next to your hostname

copy the IP address for link cloaking

12. Go to “Networking” given in the left bar of your DigitalOcean dashboard

networking in digitalocean

13. Add your domain here or click on “More” if you've already added your domain name

manage domain for redirection

14. Manage your domain and create a new record for it

Create a record in digitalocean

2. Configure Your Droplet Now

Now that I've created a new droplet and my domain is pointed to the IP address given next to the hostname. 

15. Download the PuTTY app, which is an open-source SSH and telnet client

download putty app

16. Open the app and enter your hostname or your IP address and click on “Open” now. In my case, it was 

Open your link in putty

17. Choose “Yes” from the dialogue box that appeared on your screen now

Putty app

18. You will also see a DOS-like screen where you will write “Root” and press the “Enter” button

19. Enter the password of your DigitalOcean account by the right-click

Right click for password

20. Re-enter the password and choose the new one for your account

Congratulations! Your server is configured now.

21. Close the PuTTY app and create an HTML file like this using Notepad. 

Affiliate link for cloaking

22. Upload the HTML file on your server using WinSCP. Enter your hostname, username, and password, and log in. 

Use WinSCP for cloaking a link

23. Go to your server's directory. And choose the VAR folder and ‘www' folder. Create the new folder and drag the HTML file into it. 

go to www folder for link cloaking

Open the link you've cloaked just now to confirm if it's working. In my case, it was: If it is redirected to your desired URL, you're good to go. You can create hundreds of thousands of cloaked links this way.  

Can you do link cloaking without a website? Technically, yes, you can do it. But for that, you need to use the services like or But you cannot really cloak the link itself. You can neither change the destination nor manage your links easily.  

If you are on WordPress and don't want to try the method I've told you earlier. And you really want a plugin to do the cloaking for you. You can easily do that as well. Let me share some of the best plugins for affiliate link cloaking right now. 

And the list continues. You can search for such plugins on WordPress. And all of them make the cloaking easy. I don't like cloaking my affiliate links using WordPress plugins because they may not be clean. 

Cloaking links is an extremely powerful method to boost your affiliate commissions and keep your emails from going to spam. That's why I call it link cleaning. There are many plugins to cloak a link on your WordPress site.

But I recommend using your own server to cloak your links because it's more affordable and efficient. Here's how you do it:

1. Opt for the best VPS hosting service like DigitalOcean

2. Create a new folder on your server

3. Add an HTML file containing your affiliate links

4. And upload it onto your server

Easy-peasy, right? Yeah, but do it carefully because it can bug your hosting if you do it the wrong way. Which method of link cloaking did you like the most? Let me know in the comments below.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hi Hasan, I respect your work and the information you provide, but this time it is not so.
    After reading the article and trying to follow the instructions, in step 1 immediately misinformation and obstacles, specifically digitalocean, when registering requires a card entry with the possibility of withdrawing funds from the account or paypal of $ 5, which means it is not free. I respect the policy of that company, but then write so that the one who does not have money at his disposal does not start the process at all because everything else is in vain when item no.1 is not as you stated. Thank you

  2. thank you for the great work, sir. I enjoyed most of the video on URL shortenings, but am I unclear about cloaking affiliate links without a website, or is it safe to use my shortened affiliate links for my articles on quora? am in the early stage of having my online presence in quora and Redditt as a beginner.

  3. Hi Mr . Hassan. Thanks for your efforts. Just to give feed back :Section no 21 is not Clear. There is only a screen shot without explanation.. Secondly screen shots are blur not readable from my tablet. Hope best.