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How it works

The Abacus ‘Link-Cloak’ software creates special files on your web site that redirect visitors instantly to where you want them to go, but the link that they see and click is different from the destination web address.

If you’re wondering why you should want to do this, there are many reasons.

A very common reason is to hide the URL of a web site that does not belong to you, so that your visitors do not go there directly, but are routed through a web page of yours. This enables you to pass through to the destination web site any parameters, such as an affiliate or referrer ID, to ensure that you are paid any commission resulting from a purchase by the customer whom you sent there.

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As an example, let’s say that you want to cloak an affiliate link, so that it looks to the visitor as if the clickable link goes to a page on your own web site, but, in fact, it displays the content of the vendor’s page. You will earn the commission if the visitor buys something on the page.

1. Specify the local upload folder

Click the ‘Folder’ button in the software main interface. Create a folder with the ‘Make New Folder’ button in which to keep all the temporary files to be uploaded to your web site by the Link-Cloak software. We suggest a folder called “Upload” inside the folder containing the other web site files.

Click the ‘OK’ button.

This folder needs to be created only the first time. Thereafter you just click the ‘Folder’ button, navigate to it in the ‘Browse For Folder’ dialogue box, and select it. Alternatively, you can paste or type its full path into the ‘Local folder…’ textbox. Furthermore, if you’re likely to use the same folder again, you can save all the data in the form and load it again later, to save you the time re-entering the same data.

Create or navigate to the local upload folder on your computer
2. Specify the URL to be cloaked

Paste or type the full path of the URL to be cloaked into the ‘Link to cloak’ textbox.

Paste or type the full path of the URL to be cloaked

3. Specify your web site’s domain URL

Paste or type your web site address, e.g., www.yourdomain.com, with or without the "www.", as applicable.

Type your web site URL

4. Specify a sub-folder for the "redirect" files

Type the name of a sub-folder on your web site, to which to upload the redirecting files generated by the ‘Link-Cloak’ software. This is not a requirement, but it’s tidier to keep these files separate from your web site’s regular files.

The sub-folder name should be relevant, because it will be seen by both human visitors and search engine robots.

You do not need to create this sub-folder manually. If it does not exist already, ‘Link-Cloak’ will create it for you.

Type your web site URL

5. Specify the "redirect" file name

Type the name and extension of the redirecting file to be generated by the ‘Link-Cloak’ software.

The file name should be relevant, because it will be seen by both human visitors and search engine robots.

Type your web site URL

6. Specify the title of the "redirect" page

Type the page title of the redirecting file to be generated by the ‘Link-Cloak’ software.

The page title should be relevant, because it will be visible at the top of the browser window, and is very important for search engine position.

Type your web site URL

7. Specify the link text

Type the "anchor text" of the link which will be generated by the ‘Link-Cloak’ software.

The link text should be relevant, because it must entice visitors to click on the link, and will also serve as a back-link, which is important for search engine position.

Type your web site URL

8. Choose the redirection method

Each redirection method has different characteristics, and should be chosen to suit the purpose.

In this case, choose the ‘iframe’ method, which will display in the browser’s URL box the full address of the web page that you have specified above, instead of the actual destination URL.

Type your web site URL

9. Generate the "redirect" file

Click the ‘Generate file(s)’ button.

The ‘Link-Cloak’ software generates a redirecting file, with the file name that you specified in
step 5, in the local folder that you specified in step 1.

Type your web site URL

10. Specify the FTP settings

Click the ‘FTP’ button, to open the ‘FTP’ form.

Specify the settings that allow you to connect to your web site by FTP.

This is where you specify a deeper sub-directory path, if you need it.

Type your web site URL

11. Upload the "redirect" file

Click the ‘Upload’ button.

The redirecting file that you generated in step 10 is uploaded to the folder on your web site that you specified in steps 3 and 4.

Type your web site URL

12. Test the "redirect" file

Click the ‘Test’ button, to display the destination web page in a browser window, after the redirection has taken place.

Notice in the screen-shot below that the full path of the file you specified in step 5 is shown in the browser’s URL box, as if the visitor were still on your own site, but the content of the page is actually that of the URL in the ‘Link to cloak’ textbox that you specified in step 2.

The ‘Link-Cloak’ software has passed along your affiliate ID invisibly, and ensured that you earn the commission if the visitor buys anything.

Type your web site URL

13. Generate the hyperlink

Click the ‘Generate link’ button, to display the HTML code for the hyperlink.
(This is done automatically, every time you ‘Upload’.)

Click the ‘Copy’ button, and paste it into web pages, e-mails, or anywhere you wish..

Type your web site URL

The link appears as the "anchor text" that you typed in the ‘Link text’ textbox in step 7. When the mousepointer hovers over it, your own URL is displayed in the status bar, but, when clicked, it leads to the final destination web site, i.e., the cloaked link.

Type your web site URL

Try it yourself. Here is the link that was generated in this example of the ‘Link-Cloak’ software:
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For examples of other important reasons why you might want to cloak links, see the Support page.

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