Under the Hood: The Story Behind the Links

Under the Hood: The Story Behind the Links

Here at Sniply we manage our thousands of user’s links and work hard to make sure that people clicking Sniply links have a fast, seamless experience.

One of the cornerstones of the Sniply experience are the short snip.ly/abc links that we generate for you to share.  Let’s take a quick moment to dissect what goes into one of these links.

First, you’ll notice that sniply links are based on the snip.ly domain.  We chose snip.ly as our domain not only because it’s extremely catchy (right!?) but because it’s short and concise.

Second, we have the Unique Link Identifier code (‘abc’ in the above link example).  This uniquely identifies your link against the hundreds of thousands of other sniply links that have ever been created.  Sniply link identifier codes currently are composed of three characters from a set of 62 possibilities (26 uppercase letters + 26 lowercase letters + the 10 numbers).

When looking at how many unique sniply’s can exist under these parameters we can calculate it using a simple math formula:

number of unique links possible = (number of characters in option pool) ^ (number of characters in link code)

For the current system that means we can have 238, 328 possible different sniply links (62^3).  Once we start approaching this threshold, look for us to do one of two things:

  • expand the set of characters used in the codes (including ‘-‘ and ‘_’ for instance would yield an additional 23,816 possible links!)
  • increase the number of characters in the identifier code (4 characters, for instance, supports 62^4 unique links – a massive 14,776,336 combinations!)

So there you have it – a look into how sniply links are created.  Now you’ll understand what’s going on behind the scenes when you copy that sniply link.


About the Author

Chris Bowal, Tech Guy at Sniply
chris-pChris has an odd passion in box office statistics. He also loves law and finance. Naturally, he’s our tech guy! Because, why not? Oh, he’s also a lifeguard. Chris built an app that was nearly acquired by Sony, when he was 17. As he would say, “no big deal”.

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