Simple Link Cloaker

UPDATE December 14, 2010. Because some days are better than others, I managed to upload the wrong zip file of the link cloaker plugin. That error has been corrected. This is the correct download link for the Simple Link Cloaker plugin.

UPDATE December 12, 2010. Since WordPress has seen fit to not offer this plugin from the repository, it is now available for download. You’ll have to install it the old fashioned way: download the zip file to your computer, unzip it in an empty directory, then upload the entire plugin folder to your wp-content/plugins directory. You can download the plugin here: ilwp-simple-link-cloaker. Thank you all for your support.

UPDATE 7-23-09. Apologies for having one release right on top of the other. Fixing one problem (malformed ‘from’ addresses were causing .htaccess file problems) caused another – slashes being stripped from ‘from’ addresses. Both issues have been fixed in the 1.3.2 release.

PLEASE be aware that the plugin will ‘sanitize’ your ‘from’ address. It will strip out any illegal characters, convert spaces to dashes, and convert the address to lowercase. You will need to use the finalized version in your post links.

Update: have fixed a couple of issues that users have pointed out ( thanks very much Geoff and Francisco! ). New version is uploaded to the repository as of 4pm today; should be available for upgrade within 45 min or so. Thanks for your patience!

So here it is, the Simple Link Cloaker plugin for your affiliate WordPress blog. Or for whatever  you want to use it for.

While its usage is simple, explaining it is not. I will attempt to document how to use it below, but it might be easier to scroll to the bottom and watch the short video tutorial I made (rather, was going to make – coming soon as soon as I get software to work. ugh).

Download the plugin here: Simple Link Cloaker for WordPress

In general, this is what you do:

  1. Write your post, highlight your anchor (link) text, then click the ‘link’ button (assuming you’re using the Visual Editor).
  2. In the Link URL box, enter the link address without your blog URL, starting with a slash.
  3. Add your other link goodies like ‘target’ or ‘class’, click Insert.
  4. Finish and publish your post.
  5. Go to Settings -> Simple Link Cloaker.
  6. In the Add New section, enter the Link URL you just used into the left box.
  7. Enter your affiliate link in the right box.
  8. Click “Add Cloaked Links”.
  9. Done.

Example: suppose we want to link to a Clickbank product, and we want to use the URL, and the Clickbank hoplink is In the left-hand box, we’d enter <strong>/go/i-like-this-product</strong>. Notice there is no ‘http://’ or other URL parts in this box, just the part of the URL <strong>after</strong> your regular blog address. Then in the right box we’d type the Clickbank hoplink. Click the “Add Cloaked Links” button, and the redirect code will be added to your .htaccess file.

Super easy.

Here is a screenshot of the settings page after I added a redirect (click the image to view full-size):


If you notice an error after you’ve added a redirect, repairing it is easy. Just click in the box that needs correction, make your edit, then click the Update button. You can also delete the whole redirect by clicking the checkbox, then the Update button.

Finally, you can, if you wish, delete ALL of your stored redirects by clicking the button at the bottom. You’ll get one chance to change your mind, then *poof*, they’re all gone.

Download the plugin here: Simple Link Cloaker for WordPress

Here’s a short tutorial video: (well, there will be as soon as my screen cap program starts working :( . Stay tuned)

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{ 170 comments… read them below or add one }

baron May 26, 2009 at 2:54 am

Works great, thank you


Steve May 27, 2009 at 9:48 am

Thanks much, glad you could use it!


Geoff May 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

You’ve got a couple of bugs with this. For example adding a new link seems to replace one of the existing ones. Also the link to this page ( doesn’t work if you click it from the top of the setting page in wp-admin.


Steve May 28, 2009 at 8:09 am

Ouch. Thanks, Geoff. I’ll take a look.


Geoff May 28, 2009 at 8:30 am

That’d be great, your plugin is just what I want – a nice simple way of doing some redirects, but the way your form handles additions isn’t working. If you fill in two of the URL boxes, click submit, then do it again – it just replaces the 2 you made.


Steve May 28, 2009 at 9:45 am

The fix is in – and sorry for the problems; something I should have caught in testing (actually, I thought I’d fixed it, obviously not).

Changes are uploaded to the WP Plugins repository; you should be seeing notification of available upgrade on your Plugins within the hour.

If you don’t, let me know and I’ll post the updated zip.


Shakti Carola Navran May 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I like to see the video to know I can make sense of this…


Steve May 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I will try and get it up this evening for you, sorry for the delay.


Free bets July 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm

This is perfect. Its exactly what i’ve been looking for. Ive just set up my site and found out that link cloaking is teh way forward so this is just what i need. many thanks


Mike Melvin July 21, 2009 at 8:37 am

Hi Steve,
I’m very new to WordPress and I’m trying to get your
plugin to work. You say to
“click the ‘link’ button (assuming you’re using the Visual Editor).”
I’m using the editor provided by WordPress and nothing comes
up for me.
What am I doing wrong?


Steve July 21, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Don’t know what you’re doing wrong exactly. When you click the link button from within the post editor ( the icon that looks like a chain link ) you should see a dialog box open in the middle of your screen with several input areas. If you’re not seeing that, make sure you have javascript turned on in your browser.


Mike Melvin July 22, 2009 at 4:27 am

Thanks Steve, that was the piece I was missing.


Patrick July 23, 2009 at 2:55 am

Hey Steve,

thanks for your great plugin,
unfortunately it dropped all slashes in my cloaked links after the 1.3.1 update. and it’s not possible to add new slashes to my links.


Patrick July 23, 2009 at 3:07 am

…wordpress version 2.8.2 and link cloaker 1.3.1

thank you for your feedback :)


Steve July 23, 2009 at 7:28 am

Patrick, so sorry about that. I’d been having so many reports of malformed ‘from’ addresses causing .htaccess errors that I felt something needed to be done – so I employed one of WordPress’s post title filters in the 1.3.1 release.

THEN I learn of your issue :)

So I released 1.3.2 which now allows forward slashes in the ‘from’ address.

Sorry for your troubles.


Patrick July 23, 2009 at 11:40 am

Thank you Steve! works like charm (again) :D

James Moralde July 24, 2009 at 12:45 am

Before I install any plugin in my blog, i always test it on my portable testing website (from a flash drive using MoWeS portable) with a url like Perhaps, this plugin works only in the real website environment because all I get after a ‘cloaked’ link is clicked is a ‘file not found’ page.


Steve July 24, 2009 at 9:50 am

James, it depends on how you have your portable stuff set up. When you hover over a cloaked link are you seeing the proper address (

Also, be aware that the redirects are done from an apache .htaccess file, not within WordPress itself. If you’re not running a compatible server locally as a test platform, testing it the way you’re doing probably won’t work.


Josh July 27, 2009 at 7:15 am

Hey Steve,

Thanks for developing this plugin.

I can’t, however, seem to find the “simple link cloaker” under the settings. Do you have any idea of why this happens?



Steve July 27, 2009 at 8:04 am

Josh, don’t know why you wouldn’t be seeing it. When you activate the plugin, it sets up an options page under the settings menu.

First thing to do (ALWAYS the first thing to do when you’re having WordPress problems) is to clear your browser cache, shut down then restart your browser. Then see if the problem still exists. Sometimes browser caches get so clogged up you start seeing javascript collisions, train wrecks, things like that.


Susan July 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm

This is a great idea – thanks!

I’m an ABC kind of person. Using your example:

a. what is the exact URL in the post link URL
b. what is the exact entry on the left side of the cloak link
c. what is the exact entry on the left side of the cloak link

The affiliate link I am using is

How would I enter that.


Steve August 7, 2009 at 12:03 am

Susan, sorry for the delay in answering your question.

The post link URL ( I’m assuming you’re speaking of the popup box to insert a link in a post ) would be either the full URL you want your visitor to see, i.e. or just /prettylink.

The left side will contain just /prettylink
The right side contains the full URL you want the visitor to go to, in your case,

Hope this answers your question.


Louis July 30, 2009 at 4:38 pm

When i activated the plugin I get this message:

Your .htaccess file does not appear to be writable. If you are unable to make the file writable by the server, you will need to copy/paste the redirect rules to your htaccess file manually. See below for rules.

How do I fit this?



Steve August 7, 2009 at 7:37 am

Just copy the block of text that’s shown under the rewrite rules section to the top of your .htaccess file.

To make your file server-writable and avoid having to copy/paste, change the file permissions for the .htaccess file to 664 or 666.


Zach August 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I keep getting this
Not Found
The requested document was not found on this server.

Web Server at

here is my htaccess file

Redirect 302 /123
Redirect 302 /zach

I have tryed different url forms

I am using plesk for windows server 8.6

Thanks in advance


Steve August 7, 2009 at 12:05 am

Zach, I think I mentioned in the post that I haven’t had the opportunity to test this on a Windows server.

It appears that your server isn’t recognizing the .htaccess file.

Have you tried setting up permalinks through your dashboard? Do permalinks work?


brillie August 11, 2009 at 6:04 am

Hi many thanks… I used it to my website


Tony August 13, 2009 at 3:16 am

Hi Steve,

Have just installed you plug-in on my site and it looks like a real beauty! Well done on creating such a simple, easy to use cloaking plug-in.

Thanks heaps and keep up the good work.


Sham August 14, 2009 at 9:10 am

Hi Steve,

Looks like your plugin may not work with PHP 5.2.9 or 5.2.10

Cos I have 2 sites…different servers…one is PHP 5.2.9 and the other is 5.2.6.

It works in the former and NOT in the latter….

I’m not sure, but just what I think. I could not get your plugin to work on the server with PHP 5.2.9


Sham August 14, 2009 at 9:11 am

Oops…mistake in the 2nd paragraph. This is to confirm…that I find it does not work with PHP 5.2.9 and above…


Steve August 14, 2009 at 9:22 am

Interesting – thanks for the heads up. Guess it’s time to upgrade my dev machine’s PHP, eh? LOL

Sham, if you read this, did you have any error reporting turned on? Can you tell me what doesn’t work or if there were any error messages?


Sham August 14, 2009 at 9:40 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks for a fast response! :)

Well, I’m trying to see the difference in server specs between the two servers (one is on an older configuration and the other is newer – obvious to see which is which). I think the server with PHP 5.2.9 has the latest Unix configuration, and both servers are Cpanel….

That’s all I’m seeing for now.

I’ll try to get to the error reports and see if anything shows, although I’m not a coder, so not sure what to look for :)

Well, if you can, try testing out your plugin on the latest Cpanel server configuration and see if you get the same thing. I’m getting Page Not Found (cos my aff link is going nowhere…)

But thanks for making this plugin, I used your plugin cos the other one by w-shadow doesn’t work with WP 2.8.4 anymore.



Steve August 14, 2009 at 10:51 am

I’m getting Page Not Found (cos my aff link is going nowhere…)

Ahhh…now we’re getting somewhere. On the plugin’s Settings page, are you seeing the “I can’t write to the .htaccess file” message? The only reason I know of that you would be getting a Not Found error is because the .htaccess file isn’t being updated, or it isn’t being updated properly.

Would you mind sending me the contents of your .htaccess file? You can copy/paste it into the form on my contact page, or paste in a reply to this comment if that doesn’t bother you.


Sham August 14, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Hi Steve,

I don’t see any message saying “Cannot write to the htaccess file” on the Settings page. It’s working fine on that. My htaccess file is also showing # BEGIN SLC, followed by the redirect lines, and then # END SLC

So nothing seems wrong there.

But when I test the cloaked link…it doesn’t redirect me anywhere, except to a Page Not Found – on my WP site. Yet on the other server (with the slightly older setup and PHP 5.2.6) it works fine….


Steve August 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Would you mind sending me the redirect lines that are in your .htaccess file? If you like, you can email them to me at steve at or send them thru my contact form.

If the redirects are being correctly written to the htaccess file, differences in PHP versions are immaterial. Once the redirects are stored in the file, PHP has nothing to do with it; redirects and other directives in .htaccess are server functions.

Do you have pretty permalinks set up on the WP install that’s not working?


Sham August 14, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Yeah, I have pretty permalinks set up. Everything seems alright. I’ve sent you the redirect lines in your contact form. Thanks.


Krista August 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I downloaded the plugin and it is working awesome! However I have one question is there a way to no follow all of the cloaked links so google doesn’t index the cloaked links?



Steve August 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm

You’ll have to do that yourself in your post editor; the plugin doesn’t build the link for you. Click the HTML button on your editor, find the link you just created. Within the opening <a> tag, put rel="nofollow". Poof, you're done.


Laurie Pipenur August 18, 2009 at 9:20 pm

This plugin looks like it is just what I’ve been looking for, but I get this error message when I access the plugin under “Settings”. I can’t find the solution to this problem anywhere. I use Dreamhost for my hosting. Can anyone help?

Simple Link Cloaker v. 1.3.2 ~ Redirect List

Your .htaccess file does not appear to be writable. If you are unable to make the file writable by the server, you will need to copy/paste the redirect rules to your htaccess file manually. See below for rules.


Steve August 18, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Laurie, that’s pretty easily solved.

Using your FTP client or Dreamhost’s file manager, locate the .htaccess file on your server. It will be at the ‘root’ of your WordPress installation. If you see the wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes folders, you’re in the right spot.

If you don’t see the .htaccess file ( look carefully, it begins with a period character), then check the settings on your FTP client or the file manager; make sure the option to ‘show hidden files’ is enabled.

You’re going to change the file permissions for the .htaccess file so that the server can write to the file. You’ll need read the help file for your FTP client to find out how to do this. With FileZilla, for instance, you right-click on the file and pick ‘Permissions’.

Make a note of the existing permissions number, then change the permissions on the file to 644. Reload the Settings page for the plugin. If you still see the ‘unwritable’ message, try 664. The idea is to use the lowest number that will allow write access to the server. If you want more information on what you’re doing, google ‘chmod’.

If 664 doesn’t work, keep going up this list: 666, 764, 766, 776, 777. You really want to try and stay away from the 7xx permissions if at all possible, but sometimes you’ll have no choice.

If you DO have to use 777, I recommend that you add your redirects, then change the permissions back to 644 (or whatever they were to begin with) as a security precaution.


mark August 20, 2009 at 4:12 am

I have changed the cmod to 777 for the .htaccess folder and I still get the error message of .htacces is not writable. So, can I just fill in the redirects and copy and paste them to the .htaccess folder. Do I do this for each new redirect?


Vince August 24, 2009 at 7:52 am

Thanks for the great plugin.

I’d like just to confirm it can cloak a link that has the ‘?’ (without quotes) like this:

I can’t really test it live with this offer because the order page doesn’t give any clue about the affiliate like with Clickbank.


Steve August 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm

It should work fine. You can, though, test it fairly easily.

Open up your fav text editor and enter this:

< ?php
echo "This is a test page. The contents of GET are:<br/><br/>";
print_r( $_GET );

Name the file test.php and upload it to the root of your wordpress install.

Make a new redirect or temporarily change your existing one. Use the destination

You should end up on the test page with the “This is the test page” text and under it you should see something like

Array ( [aid] => [810799] )

If you see that, you'll know it's working ok.


Vince August 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Steve!
I try it now and will let you know.

Glenn August 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I’m new at WP, and am having a bit of trouble following the process to use this. Did you ever make a video demo yet?



Steve August 25, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Glenn, I haven’t, sorry. Been incredibly busy lately. Do you have a specific question or just having general difficulties?


baydog August 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Would be nice if there was an additional field available to name the link.. eg. LinkName

ie. LinkName, From Link, To Link..


Steve August 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Look for that in the next release, good suggestion. Thanks!


Glenn August 26, 2009 at 11:01 am

here is an example of what I’m having trouble figuring out.

In the column on the left I’m putting;


Then the code I have for the whole link in the right column is the following:

So, I guess my question is what part of the code do I change, and do I need to make it something like;

Thanks for the help. I hear this plug-in works well.


Laurie August 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Will SLC cloak a Commission Junction (or any other) link that has an image link associated with the affiliate information? I separated these two parts and just cloaked the affiliate information and it works fine. I am using the cloaked link in a blog that I am trying to optimize and I don’t know if Google will object to the image link or not.


Steve August 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Usually those images are for tracking purposes and not wrapped with a link.

There’s no reason why SLC wouldn’t work that way. A link is a link is a link is a link…no matter if the anchor is text or image.


Laurie August 28, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Tried cloaking the entire link and got a 500 Internal Server Error. Now I can’t login to to anything. Is there an easy way to get back in or do I have to reinstall?

Glenn August 28, 2009 at 7:51 pm


I had the same exact problem. The Server did not like the code the way it was put in. I had to call my service provider and they restored the most recent save. then it worked fine. But I could not do it myself.

I’m still trying to figure out how to use this. I’m pretty new at this.


Laurie August 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for the reply. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. So far I edited my .htaccess file and removed the bad link. I can get back to my website and that seems to be fine. However, when I try to login, I don’t get the login screen, but get taken directly to my home page minus my content.

Does anyone know how I can get my login screen back?



Steve August 29, 2009 at 12:55 am


The issue is only in the htaccess file and the way you tried to cloak the link.

Copy/paste the contents of your htaccess file to me in an email, send to steve at

Glenn August 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Steve, I’m trying to get a handle on how to use this. Please let me know if I’m right.

The example below is a link to a picture and specific costume on my site.

If I replace the part that says:

With something like:

Then in simple link cloaker on the the left column put:


And in the right column put:

Will that work. And will it continue with the rest of what my link on the post had.

I know this is long but it’s the only way I could explain my questions.

Thanks for the help.


Steve September 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Glenn, I’m sorry, your question got caught in my spam catcher.

Yes to all your questions except the first: when you make your link in the post editor, you don’t have to enter your domain name info. Simply put /rocker in the Link URL box of the link-maker dialog.

One thing – you don’t HAVE to make the link like I outlined above, it’s just easier. The way you did it will work fine; my motto’s always been ‘less typing means fewer typos’. :)


Tim September 1, 2009 at 9:53 pm

This is awesome
but what would be REALLY awesome is a file cloaker.

I.e. cloak a file NAME to another one. Hashed or direct cloak like in the URL cloaker.



Glenn @ September 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm


Ok, I’ve got the cloaker working and it really does a great job. I have another question that’s not necessarily about your plug-in but more to what would be common practice.

I’ve set up the cloaker to cloak each link to some items in an array of costumes for my site. a secondary part of each ling is a pointer to a costume picture on the affiliate website. It shows that it is in that seperate part of the link.

do I need to cloak that too. ( something like /images on my end)?

Or because it’s only pointing to an image will the search engines not bother with it?

I hope this isn’t too confusing of a question


Patrick September 7, 2009 at 8:31 pm

I got your plugin and it works perfectly on my site. Thank you!


Steve September 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Glad to hear it. Good luck in your endeavors.


Laurie September 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I am using Dreamhost and cannot get my web stats. The Dreamhost forum describes this as the fix

Will I adversely affect SLC if i do as they describe?

Thank you.


Steve September 12, 2009 at 2:37 am

Laurie, no problem at all. SLC writes its own section, delineated by

## Begin SLC
redirect rules here
## End SLC

As long as you follow the DH instructions and place their code at the beginning of the file, you should have no troubles whatsoever.


Jacquie September 13, 2009 at 11:19 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks for this great tool that I’m using on my sites.
I was trying to add target=”_blank” to the right side of the redirection so a new window is opened when the link is clicked but my site became unaccessible after clicking on save update. Hopefully I could restore a .htaccess and the site got back and running.

Is there a way to open the vendor’s page in a new window with a cloaked link?


Steve September 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm

You have to do that when you make the link in your post. Set the ‘Target’ dropdown box to ‘New Window’.


Jacquie September 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm

In fact the link is on an image. Where should I put the Target? I initially put target=”_blank” after but it did not seem to work.


Steve September 14, 2009 at 12:28 am

The target attribute goes within the opening <a> tag. If you’re building your links manually, yours would look like this:

<a href="/gohere" title="link title" target="_blank"><img src="http://imageURL" alt="img alt text" /></a>

If you’re building the link through WP’s HTML editor, you click on the image to select it, click the link button, enter the link address, alt text, and select the link target from the dropdown box.


Jacquie September 14, 2009 at 12:36 am

Thanks Steve. I see my where I made the mistake. I’ll try it now.


Brenda September 15, 2009 at 10:14 am

I installed from wp and used link cloaker version 1.3.2 this morning. When I went to view my site I got an internal server error. I had to contact my host to get my site back. I really want to use this plug in but I am scared to now after this. Any suggestions on how to use this plug in without losing my site? I am new to this if that helps and I am not sure if I wrote the code wrong or what.


Steve September 15, 2009 at 10:23 am

You got the error immediately after activation, before you entered any links, or was it after you tried to enter a link?

Without some details about your server setup, etc., it’s kind of hard to troubleshoot.

If you want to shoot me an email with a little more explanation about what you did and when you did it, when the error occurred, and what hosting company you’re with, I’ll try and help out. You can email me at steve at ilikewordpress dot com.


Costera September 16, 2009 at 2:16 am


I’ve setup a new blog, and immediatly installed SimpleLink Cloaker.
It’s a 2.8.4 version.
When I activate SLK, “it tells me” :
Your .htaccess file does not appear to be writable. If you are unable to make the file writable by the server, you will need to copy/paste the redirect rules to your htaccess file manually. See below for rules.

What shouf I do now ? I don’t understand this message.

Thanks !


Costera September 16, 2009 at 3:14 am

…I’ve modified the permalink with the option:
and I have no more error message,


the link cloaked doesn’t works. No redirection. Any idea ?


Doug Morris September 22, 2009 at 6:14 am

I love the plugin. However I do have a question. With the cloaked links I’m unable to track click-outs from those links with WP blogstats. Is there another way of tracking those click-outs. Thanks.


[email protected] September 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I have been using link cloaker on this site for a month. Today, I noticed that one of my links was not working properly – so I went in to check/change the link. It did not work – so I went into Link Cloaker and deleted old redirect – and entered a new one. It still does not work. I was getting an Internal Error that Host Gator fixed. But still, cannot get Link Cloaker to accept new redirect. It goes to a page on my website – not the site I want it to go. The URL for the redirect works when I entered it in the browser window: I am able to make links using my other redirect links to other sites. Any ideas what to do?


Steve September 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Holly, because you got a 500 error, I tend to think that you were/are trying to cloak a URL that isn’t compatible with .htaccess redirects – or maybe I need to look at the formatting.

Can you shoot me an email with the text you want to use as a link and also the final destination URL? You can use the contact form or email me direct at steve at ilikewordpress dot com.


[email protected] abdominal fat September 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

I input it as say /word.html
Cloaker returned /”wordhtml”
It looks weird – but it works this way.


mark September 28, 2009 at 5:00 am

Hi Steve,
I got an 500 error. I had host monster fix the file, however when I try to go to my subdomain htaccess file it says it can’t find it. I thought I had the permission set up on the sub domain but I only had it set up correctly on the root domain. How do I fix the subdomain .htaccess file?


Steve September 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

The easiest way is to upload an empty file to your subdomain root, then rename it to .htaccess. Set the file permissions to 644 to start. You may get the ‘file not writable by server’ message; if you do, try ’664′ and if that doesn’t work, try ’666′. As a LAST RESORT, you can try ’777′.


Michael September 29, 2009 at 8:16 am


I have installed your plugin on a few of my WP sites however I am getting the following error message.

Your .htaccess file does not appear to be writable. If you are unable to make the file writable by the server, you will need to copy/paste the redirect rules to your htaccess file manually. See below for rules.

Can you tell me how I fix this. I am using Hostgator for hosting.

Many thanks


Steve September 29, 2009 at 8:25 am

Michael, follow the directions above in my reply to Mark. You should be able to use ’644′ permission setting with HostGator.


Helene October 3, 2009 at 11:44 am

Thanks Steve for this great plugin I’m using on my site.


Steve October 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Thanks! I’m glad you’re finding it useful.


Cyzko October 6, 2009 at 12:35 am

wow nice plugin..


Bill October 7, 2009 at 8:44 am

Hi Steve:

Would your plugin work with Amazon text links? If so how?

When i am in the amazon interface and then generate there affiliate link it is very long. (For this example i am just doing the text link.) So as i look at the html code they give me – i am guessing i would have to talke out the link in there code so that the html would not be producing an achor text link on my sites page and just use the exact link that goes to the amazon page on my site. Then just cloak that link. Is that correct?

Also -do you know Google’s opinion of amazon affiliate links? Is is recommended from a SEO marketers point of view if they should be cloaked? I know some affiliate marketing courses say in a blanket statement all affiliate links should be cloaked – but do you personally know about amazon?

If you would be so kind as to answer – What is the best way to cloak amazon links? That would be apprecaited

Much thanks

and Best Regards



Edward Palomo October 18, 2009 at 11:17 am

found this plugin on an article about WordPress essentials…i still don’t know where i would use it, but still this is pretty cool! thanks!


Glenn November 2, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Sorry to say I have given up. I followed the directions as you said but after 5 hours of trying to get it to work, no luck.
I don’t really see how it can work. The only link I end up with is the word I highlight, and after I cloak it, all that shows up in my browser is my url/the word I highlighted.


John November 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Hi Steve,
Is there a way to get the .html at the end of the cloaked link? I am worried that without the .html at the end it will signify a cloaked link from one of the search engines.

I am new to blogging so maybe I should not worry. Some of the people I ask say it works and I rank well with it so I am not worried about it. It works well without the .html but I spent a few hours unsuccessfully trying to get the .html at the end of the cloaked link working and would appreciate your thoughts.


Steve November 4, 2009 at 7:31 am

Hi John,

Welcome to blogging! heh

You don’t have a thing to worry about. Although I will be upgrading the plugin in the future to allow for filename extensions, they are definitely not needed. The SEs don’t care about cloaked links, especially if you make sure you have the rel=”nofollow” attribute in the link.


Holly November 4, 2009 at 8:10 am

Regarding question above. How do I get the nofollow in the link? I added a dofollow widget to the site.

A few months ago – I tried to get this site listed on a directory. They said no sites with redirects. I submitted my site to see what would happen and they turned me down. It seems if Directories know I have a redirect that Google would be able to detect too. Could there be something wrong with the redirect?


Steve November 4, 2009 at 1:27 pm


Easiest way to get the nofollow in the link is to edit the link manually from the HTML tab of the post editor. You’ll have to disable your dofollow plugin.

I don’t quite understand what you’re asking, “Could there be something wrong with the redirect?”. Redirected/cloaked links aren’t undetectable. The only eyes we’re hiding anything from belong to the human visitor who may be skeptical about clicking on an affiliate link. That the links are redirected is obvious to anyone who looks at them, and of course Google knows as soon as they follow the link.


Greg November 8, 2009 at 7:49 am

Hi Steve,
I’ve installed the plugin at my site and everything seem fine.
My htaccess also showing the url correctly
# BEGIN WordPress

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

# END WordPress

Redirect 302 /celebrityteethwhitening
Redirect 302 /idolteethwhitening
Redirect 302 /freeteethwhitening

But when I click on the link, it just result in Error 404 – Not Found
can you advise what should I do to get it working? BTW, I’m using wordpress 2.8.5
Thanks in advance.


Nathan November 14, 2009 at 9:16 am

I have not been able to get it to function properly cloaking. Now I get the .htaccess problem. I have had to deactivate. I am using the v1.3.2
Any ideas? I host with


Nathan November 14, 2009 at 9:42 am

update on my htaccess problem. I confirmed that the permissions are 644 as above. When I cloak, or try,I get the server error. I now know to change my htaccess file to htaccess old and I gain access to my site.

I decloake my efforts and no problem. I just can not use the plugin as designed.


Anand Srinivasan November 14, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Is the plugin compatible on WP 2.8.5 and above? I have 2.8.5 and the redirect is not working…


Nathan November 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I also am using wp 2.8.5. It would not work. It created so many problems with server shut downs that my host techie had to go in remove the plugin to give me back my site.
It a buggggg


Steve December 10, 2009 at 9:55 am

Without knowing exactly what link text you were trying to use, your description isn’t helping much. The plugin creates standard Apache 1.3/2.x .htaccess redirects that will work on all normal server configurations.


krypton December 10, 2009 at 3:08 am

I faced some problem when i keyed in the html code into the link. when i click on enter, my whole blog went into external 500 error and i have to get my host company to repair this for me.
Could you explain this problem ? thanks


Steve December 10, 2009 at 9:57 am

See the reply to Nathan above.

I expect your issue is related – either illegal characters in the address, or your server doesn’t support .htaccess redirects.


money expert December 10, 2009 at 8:51 am

I found a bug in version 1.3.2: When you have a blog installed in a directory (e.g. the directory doesn’t get pre-pended in the .htaccess-file.

So when you create a link like you get /go/product in the .htaccess-file which doesn’t work.

Besides that issue, I really like your plug-in. Keep up the good work!


Steve December 10, 2009 at 9:58 am

Thanks for the bug report, ME. I’ll definitely get that fixed next release.


Joseph January 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Thanks for the plugin!

Check out for easy screencasting. I have no affiliate interests in it…just the easiest screencast method I’ve found.


claire covington January 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Thanks for your plug-in. I’m told that it is very good. I have a problem. Even though I have version 1.3.2, I have an alert in a pink box which says—–Your .htaccess file does not appear to be writable. If you are unable to make the file writable by the server, you will need to copy/paste the redirect rules to your htaccess file manually. See below for rules.—
Is there something I must do to fix this?

Thank you.


Frank February 1, 2010 at 6:57 am

Foolishly, I installed link-cloaking software to my public_html folder forgetting that it does not work with WP. The original .htaccess-file was over-written in the process.

Any way to tell if this plug in will still work for me?

Many Thanks.


Free Bets February 4, 2010 at 5:39 am

Excellent plugin, much better than having to set up php redirects manually. Thanks very much.


mugger February 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Redirection of link does not work. In .htaccess, your one line Redirect 302 does not put anything in front of your panel’s “from”, i.e., the domain.
Cpanel writes .htaccess differently as
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain/folder/page$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.domain/folder/page$
RewriteRule ^/?$ “newdomain/page” [R=302,L]

Can you point me to reference on the single vs multiline form?


Steve February 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Redirection and Rewrites are different animals. Redirection uses mod_alias and performs simple redirects while rewriting uses mod_rewrite to perform potentially complicated rewriting/mapping of URLs to the file system.

A good first step in understanding the differences is to start with the Apache documentation (link points to docs for version 2.2, your server might be running a diff version).


Jamie Murphy February 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I just did something bad because now I cannot log into my site. It always gets redirected to this

Ive tried just typing my WP login by hand but it always gets redirected. Could you please send me an email on how to fix this. I deleted the link cloaker from FTP but its still not working



Jamie February 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for your help-it fixed the problem. I still dont understand how to use this and Im afraid if I try it again-something wrong will happen again. Is there a video tutorial ?


[email protected] March 17, 2010 at 10:27 pm


Thanks for making this programm however I’m afraid I tried to use it with the current version of word press 2.9 and it keeps loging me out of my site with a internal error regading the htaccess file hence I had to contact my host provider to do something to let me back in my site… he furthmore told me not to activate the code as it wasnt leading anywhere and was causing all the trouble?

have you got a update of the program that will work in the most current up to date wordpress 2.9? with out causing errors?

appreciate all that you are doing.


Free Wordpres Sales Letter March 18, 2010 at 5:56 am

Nice, works great! Not confusing or trying to “wipe your rear” like you said, just plain cloak and redirect, exactly what we want.

For tracking I just use Google Analytics, why make this harder than they should be. :)

Thanks again!


robin May 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

Plugin works like a charm. Little suggestion, a hack that I implemented because it works better for me. It seems like a PITA to find the menu.

## end options page
function slc_options_page () {
add_submenu_page('edit.php', 'ILWP Simple Link Cloaker Redirects', 'Simple Link Cloaker', 8, __FILE__, 'slc_redirect_options_page');


Steve May 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

THanks Robin, I’ll take a look at that on the next update. (Unfortunately, WHO KNOWS when that will be. Been kinda busy lately)


Philip Kebbell June 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for providing us with Simple Link Cloaker. An absolute breeze to install and to use, and I have never had any errors or ‘bugs’ when using it.
Keep up the good work!


Anna July 6, 2010 at 5:52 am

HEY – I dont fully get how this all works – it seems to mask teh link for a second when you click on it then go back to teh original url ? is this suppose to happen

so I put onlinehealth in teh left and muy aff link in the right

to get – now this url works except it only masks it for a second – then reverts ot teh normal url or is this what its supose to do ? if so whats the point as the link will be covered by the anchor text anyway ? – is tehre a way to properly cloak teh link so teh visitor just sees and thats all — no aff link is seen at any stage -

ive tried a couple of plgins and your seems teh best one – it it indeed simple thnks


Steve July 6, 2010 at 7:20 am

Hey Anna,

The only ‘masking’ or ‘cloaking’ that happens is when the user rolls over the link or views the page source code. At that stage of their visit, it is impossible for them to discern where the link goes – they have to click to find out.

Once they click, it’s too late – the affiliate site has already laid its cookie. Now, the determined and savvy commission thieves will copy the address, clear their cookies, and revisit after changing the aff part of the URL. There’s very little you can do about that.

What you’re talking about is domain masking, which can be done at the URL level by some registrars ( GoDaddy, for instance ) or by framing the URL inside a page on your own site. I think you’ll find, however, that this violates the TOS of most if not all affiliate programs. They catch you doing it and not only will they boot you from the program, they might withhold any commissions that you’re owed. Is it worth that risk?


Anna July 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

this is interesting

i think there is enough info to show that hiding your afiliate link is a must -


Lavender July 21, 2010 at 1:22 am

Great plug in, saves a lot of time from doing it manually.


Prince August 13, 2010 at 10:04 am

Thanks a million for this wonderful plugin. The challenge I’m facing after installing and following your instuction is that I cannot publish my new post. I was able to preview the post but I couldn’t publish it. Pls can you tell me something I might have done wrong?



mike August 26, 2010 at 10:28 am

have you got the video up to help others how to use the cloaker


cashbagg September 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm

i tried this.

it created this in htaccess:

ErrorDocument 404 /index.php
Redirect 302 /watch-full-movie http://www.————

but i get a page not found when i click link.



Steve September 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm

cashbagg, I’ll need to have your site address and also the affiliate link. You can use my contact form to send if you like.


Ike September 20, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Im trying to understand what this link cloaking is ment for. You mentiened it hides affiliate links on a word press site but why hide them? Im just wornderign if this is useful to me if i used it.


Stuart September 28, 2010 at 8:38 am

‘ILWP Simple Link Cloaker’ seems to have disapeared from the plugin list, nothing found when searching for it, any ideas why?


Steve September 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

No clue, Stuart. I suppose I should look into it. Thanks for the heads-up.

I don’t know what the story is. The plugin files are still in the repository at the link above, but the directory is unavailable unless you’re logged into Am attempting to find out just what is going on.


anty September 29, 2010 at 5:16 am

I don’t see it when logged in, either :/

Dave October 7, 2010 at 6:20 am

Hey Steve, I can’t find the SLC in the plugin directory either!

Thanks for an awesome plugin btw!



Steve October 7, 2010 at 8:15 am

Thanks Dave.

I have found out that the powers-that-be at don’t like the idea of “link cloaking” plugins and have removed all of them from the repository.

It seems that I will have to somehow relabel or repurpose the plugin to remove references to cloaking.

Oh, well. Their sandbox, they’re the bosses.


Stuart October 22, 2010 at 8:01 am

Whats next, they gonna remove htaccess file….. lol

Troy November 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Hi Steve,

I use this extensively on all my sites so, THANKS. Have you relabeled it yet so I can add to new sites? Or, do I have to grab from another site and mess with cpanel?

Thanks again,


Tara October 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Hi there, I’ve been using this plug in for over a year. Now that it has been removed from the WP directory, it seems that when I try to add a link to the list, it messes up my site and gives me and “internal server error.”

Are you aware of this? Just wanted to let you know in case it has something to do with the plug-in going missing in the directory.

Please keep me updated.



Steve October 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Hi Tara,

Sorry you’re having troubles.

Has nothing to do, though, with the plugin being gone from the repository.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the last URL you added wasn’t quite right – had illegal characters or something like that.

If you want to email me the text of the offending htaccess file, I’ll take a look at it for you. You can send it to steve at


Microwave Heating Pad October 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for the tip, not having to do it manually is a real timesaver, and I need all of that I can get!


Sunshine October 21, 2010 at 11:34 am

Hi Steve,

Your plugin still works successfully on one of my sites from a year ago, but I wanted to add it to another site and the download link is no where to be found within the WordPress plugin directory.

Is there some way to download it from this site? Or do you offer it for sale elsewhere?

I found it to be extremely simple to use no pun intended. Especially for non techies like myself.



Stuart October 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

True, its a great plugin, and after WP removing it, and not being able to download it, I have successfully moved it to my new site :-) , basically:

1. find the folder for the plugin files in your hosting account, the plugins are stored in the ‘plugins’ folder in the ‘wp-content’ folder, the plugin itself is called ‘ilwp-simple-link-cloaker’

2. ‘copy’ (not move or cut) ‘ilwp-simple-link-cloaker’ the whole folder, and ‘paste’ it in the new sites ‘plugins’ directory

3. go back to the new sites wp-admin and it will be in plugins list!, but it will appear de activated, just activate it, and you are done!

IMPORTANT NOTE: No tech support from me on this one, it just worked for me, NOTE: it might not WORK for you, if you dont know how to do the above, and fix it if it goes wrong, or dont understand what the above says, dont touch, and find someone that has the skills in wp to help you.


Nirmal October 28, 2010 at 4:18 am

cant able to download the plugin.. check it pls


siptah October 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Download link is not working. Could you please up it again? Would be great!


Moist Heating Pad November 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

Download link wasn’t working for me either, then I came back a few days later and it worked fine. Thanks for the help!


Massage Holster December 4, 2010 at 9:59 am

Not working for me either, I will check back later,


Anton December 12, 2010 at 1:59 am

I can’t find the pluging anymore. Did WP remove it?
I would like to download, but can’t find it. Could someone please post the link?
Thanks in advance


Steve December 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

Anton, check the top of this post for the download link. If you don’t want to scroll to the top, here it is: ilwp-simple-link-cloaker


Anton December 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

thanks, Steve

Vlad December 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

When I try to install simple link cloaker it gives me this message :
“The plugin does not have a valid header”
Have I done something wrong?
Thank you!


Steve December 14, 2010 at 7:07 am

No Vlad, you didn’t do anything wrong. I did. But now it’s fixed. Sorry about the troubles.

Please delete completely the ilwp-simple-link-cloaker folder that you uploaded previously. Download, unzip, then upload the new folder.


Anton December 14, 2010 at 6:25 am

I experienced the same as Vlad. After activating the plugin, WP tells me that the plugin does not have a valid header. Could someone please advise?


Steve December 14, 2010 at 6:52 am

I’ll take a look and fix asap. It’s strange it’s exactly the same files that are in the repository…


Steve December 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

Fixed. Sorry about the troubles. Please delete completely the ilwp-simple-link-cloaker folder that you uploaded previously. Download, unzip, then upload the new folder.


ASimeone January 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I have installed the plugin, but the page is not redirecting to the target link. It keeps going to the visible address link and then giving a 404 Page error.


sam February 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm

i just install to test plugin on my website but after setting up it takes me to 404 eror page. i removed plugin and edited .htaccess but still there is a problem. please help in great trouble.


Hemp Love February 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

I’m going to give this a try.Thanks!


Best Heating Pad February 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

I tried this link cloaker trick and got it to work on the first try.
thanks for the easy to follow post.


steven kirk February 12, 2011 at 8:57 am

Hi thanks for the plugin works really well.


garcemac February 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

This is a great, efficient, simple plugin. Its pretty sad that WP isn’t listing Simple Link Cloaker – or any other simple redirect plugins – anymore.

I appreciate your work, and this your plugin does EXACTLY what I need. Nothing more, and nothing less. It just works.


Panda March 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Works with my new WP 3.1, thanks!



Mark L March 15, 2011 at 5:51 am


The plugin works great however I get the message that others have already posted
“Your .htaccess file does not appear to be writable. If you are unable to make the file writable by the server, you will need to copy/paste the redirect rules to your htaccess file manually. See below for rules.”

I’m not sure why this message is showing up and if I still need to do anything if it’s working?



avnorthmedia April 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I tried adding an affiliate link to your plugin and bucuase I did not know what I was doing I entered a / only in the first field. Now the entire site redirects to my affiliate page and I can no longer even log into the WP Admin……I know…it would be funny…if I knew how to fix it.
I tried deleting the ilwp-simple-link-cloaker folder by FTP and uploading the latest version—no luck.
Is there are perticular wordpress file I need to edit to get back to my admin login?

Thank you


Steve April 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm

@avnorthmedia – oops!

You’ll need to FTP back to your site, to the main WordPress folder, and rename the .htaccess file. Just rename it to htaccess.txt. Your site will come back. Then you can edit the file and remove the offending redirect lines. OR you can NOT edit the file, regenerate your permalinks from Settings > Permalinks. WP will create a new htaccess file and you’ll be good to go.


Carlo May 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I changed a cloaked link using Simple Link Cloaker and my entire blog went into 500 Internal System Error. Just want to let you guys know that I managed to fix the problem by going into the .htaccess file and fixing the link — I only typed in “” for the redirect link whereas it’s supposed to be “”


Steven June 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Hey Steve, I’m having a bit of trouble with your cloaker. I think it has something to do with the structure of my domain. my first site is but my site that i’m having trouble with is set up like i have tried to set up the link and it tells me that its there, but when i try to get there all i get is an error page.

your cloaker tells me to use /domain/cloakedlink but when i do that it just wont’ work. Actually, i can’t get it to work at all. but with the other site it works instantly. Any solutions?


Steve June 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Actually, all you should be putting in the left-hand box is the actual link text that you’re using, prepended by the slash. You should NOT have to include the subdirectory. Let me know if you can’t get it working, I’ll try to help you fix it.


Steven June 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm

if I had put it in as it would just give me a 404 message, if i did the i would get the error page. under manage cloaked links in the left box it says /cloakedlink, and on the right box is the link to cloak. but if i put it in the text link as /cloakedlink, i get the 404, and if i add /domain/cloakedlink it just gives me the error page. so i went into the .htaccess file and edited the link to be to be /domain/cloakedlink. now it works.

Jason July 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Hi Steve,

Is it possible to cloak clickbank banners? I’ve followed the instructions but they still remain unclocked.




ShaoKhee July 20, 2011 at 1:37 am

Where can I download this plugin? I follow the link above to, but it seem like not exist.


Wachira September 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Thanks you. I like Simple Link Cloaker becouse it very easy to use.


link cloaker October 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

What the heck is link cloaking? To be as plain as possible, cloaking affiliate links is the art of showing your visitors an internal link when they mouse over an affiliate link so that the visitor doesn’t think they are leaving your site.


link cloaker October 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm

What the heck is link cloaking? To be as plain as possible, cloaking affiliate links is the art of showing your visitors an internal link……


marikamitsos November 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

Hello Steve,
I want to try your plugin. I canNOT find it @ any more.
Your latest version here on your site dates back to December 14 2010.
Your latest comment was for an update on June 28, 2011. Are you still supporting it? Does it work with wordpress 321 and will it work with wordpress 3.3?

Thank you in advance


Steve November 17, 2011 at 8:27 am

Hi, the plugin will work with 3.2.1 and also with 3.3. I haven’t updated it for a while because there hasn’t really been a need.

I am going to try to get it back into the repository under a different name, we’ll see what happens.


marikamitsos November 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

Thank you for the quick reply.
Great news. !!! Please keep us posted.

Steve November 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hi Troy,

I’ve tried a couple of times to change the label so the powers-that-be would like it but nothing’s worked so far. I think I might try a brand new submission and see what happens.


Steve June 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Ahhh, I understand now. I’ll have to see what kind of a fix I can come up with for that. Sorry you’re having troubles.


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