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How to Cloak Affiliate Link in WordPress: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024

Last Updated on January 12th, 2024

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There’s no denying that Affiliate Marketing is a good type of business. All you have to do is build a blog, increase traffic, and make sales. 

It may look easy and simple. But, affiliate marketing is not as simple as it appears. Managing affiliate links is a time-consuming and tedious operation. So, what is the ideal solution to this hassle? 

Thankfully, there is a simple solution: affiliate link cloaking. It will save you time and make your affiliate links more aesthetically appealing and memorable. 

In this article, I’m going to explain how to cloak affiliate links manually and with a plugin. Once you learn these methods, you’ll have complete control over your links.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective and well-proven methods for bloggers to profit from their websites. In fact, some people have made a living solely through affiliate marketing. 

If you’re an affiliate marketer for a certain product or service, your goal is to convince people to buy it, and in exchange, you’ll get a small commission on each successful transaction. 

You’ll need a website or blog to assist you to promote these services or products. The majority of individuals use WordPress to manage this area.

After that, you’ll need to join an affiliate program, such as Amazon’s or one of the many other marketplaces. These suppliers will provide you with a link to utilize in your post. 

When one of your blog readers/visitors arrive at your site and clicks on that link, they will be directed to the product or service’s purchase page. You’ll get paid a commission if they buy something.

After that, you’ll need to join an affiliate program, such as Amazon’s or one of the many other marketplaces. These suppliers will provide you with a link to utilize in your post. 

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When one of your blog readers/visitors arrive at your site and clicks on that link, they will be directed to the product or service’s purchase page. You’ll get paid a commission if they buy something.

The word “link cloaking” may appear to be a black hat term in the field of analytics and SEO at first. This simply isn’t the case. 

A URL redirect is what link cloaking is. Customers interact with the presented hypertext by clicking on it. The customer is redirected to the affiliate link after the server gets the request. 

Essentially, the buyer sees a link on your website. The customer is directed to the retailer via the original affiliate link when they click the link. The affiliate link is hidden from the visitor with this redirection. 

Any new techniques you employ must have a measurable return on investment. After all, you wouldn’t automate your workflow unless it saved you time, and you wouldn’t start creating video content unless it increased engagement. Marketers promoting their services for a more trustworthy image can benefit from affiliate link cloaking. 

  • If you don’t cloak your affiliate links. They can be quite extensive, packed with characters, and oddly out of place. An affiliate link can be obtuse when used on a blog page or in a new subscriber onboarding email. It can harm the looks of your layout if you link it as text. Even if you’ve used anchor text to link to a page, it can be off-putting to a visitor and deter them from clicking on a link. 

Link cloaking allows you to create links that are significantly shorter and more concise. Even better, you can use link cloaking to make the link more detailed. A detailed link might help a customer maintain their desire to click through. For instance, [website].com/mens-jazz-shoes is a good example.

  • Depending on how your affiliate links are managed. Some services will include selection boxes or a useful dashboard that allows you to choose from a variety of categories. Others may simply shorten your URL for you. 

It will be quite easy to type up merchant connections from memory if you organize and have a decent name scheme for your affiliates. 

This is ideal for including in an email, a social media post, or any other email substitute. It’s easy to use and will save you a lot of time!

  • You’re probably aware of the importance of SEO as an affiliate marketer. Google and Bing’s gods are always shifting, and you’re doing everything you can to placate them. There are numerous techniques to climb the rankings, ranging from producing high-quality material to nailing your keywords. 

Guess what the search bots do when they come across your affiliate links? They degrade the quality of your website, as well as your keyword ranking. 

You’ve designed your website to work as an IVR system, providing users with a relevant menu of options to choose from. You’ve invested time and money into keyword optimization.

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So don’t squander your SEO work by leaving unsightly and visible affiliate links on your website. 

Use descriptive redirects to hide those URLs. Use terms that are relevant to your keywords, and make sure your cloaked links have a NoFollow tag. This will prevent the bots from demoting your page because of affiliate links.

  • When something that involves technology makes money for someone, others will look for methods to profit from it. Because affiliate marketing is reliant on commission, you don’t want your hard work to go to waste. 

The majority of these cybercriminals primarily employ malware in various forms. And we’re not just talking about getting these nefarious programs onto your own computer; we’re also talking about getting them onto the computers of your potential clients! 

When a visitor comes to your website, the malware looks for affiliate links. If it detects a person clicking on one, it will lead them to the creator’s website.

This means that if a customer purchases something from the retailer, you will receive a comiission. 

When clients can’t see the links, viruses can’t see them either. Hide your links to save time, money, and irreplaceable emotional harm.

  • Nearly one-third of internet users now use ad blockers. With so much stuff and so much going on on the internet, using tools like an ad blocker to filter out the rubbish is really beneficial. 

Unfortunately, ad filters can be overly strict, preventing readers from engaging with the content they might otherwise enjoy. For example, you might have a blog about cloud communication services with the best business VOIP, but the affiliate link is disabled. 

In this situation, the consumer found your page while looking for a solution but did not click on the link. You’ll miss out on a conversion opportunity, and the company will lose out on a sale.

In a nutshell, everyone loses. 

Unfortunately, this is a symptom of an internet world where there is fierce competition for a customer’s attention. Avoiding ad blockers by using link cloaking allows customers to see the relevant product links that your well-crafted web content is directing them to. 

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As a result, you’ll see an increase in click-through rate, conversions, and commissions.

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of tracking your links. Every competent salesman knows that tracking ads and seeing which ones are working and which ones aren’t is the best approach to increase sales. 

On multiple landing pages, emails, and social media postings, you’ll link to the same merchants. Don’t you want to know which media are the most effective? Is it your low-cost email marketing that’s driving traffic, or is it a specific blog post? 

Many of the link management technologies available allow you to not only conceal links but also track which sources are generating traffic to merchant sites. But, more crucially, you can monitor your content’s conversion rates.

This will allow you to adjust your strategy as needed. You’ll be able to improve your content and increase sales as a result.

It’s feasible to cloak affiliate links in WordPress without using a plugin if you don’t want to use one. This is a possible solution if you don’t have a lot of affiliate connections.

  1. Copy and paste the following code into your text editor:
Header(“Location: YOURAFFILIATELINK”);
  1. The header should be replaced with your own affiliate link. 
  2. Make a folder called “recommendations” on your desktop.
  3. Make a new folder inside the Recommends folder. Give it a name that will make it easy to recognize the affiliate product. Use lowercase letters instead of capital letters. 

For example:

  • wpliftaffiliatemarketing
  1. Return to your notepad and save the text file you just made in this new folder. index.php is the name of the text file.
  2. All we have to do now is use Filezilla to upload the recommendations folder to the root of our server.
  3. Make sure the index.php files are titled index.php and not index.php.txt.

That concludes our discussion. Simply type the address into your web browser and hit enter to ensure you’ve done everything correctly.


how to cloak affiliate links using ThirstyAffiliates

ThirstyAffiliates is widely praised by bloggers and marketers as one of the best affiliate link manager plugins for WordPress. 

It streamlines the process of adding, organizing, and managing affiliate links. This affiliate link management plugin is jam-packed with features that will help you boost your affiliate sales.  

Content containing a lot of affiliate links will be penalized by search engines like Google. Before hitting the publish button, it’s necessary to cloak the links. 

It has a tool called Automatic Keyword Linking that helps you increase your revenue by adding affiliate links to keywords. Including keywords in your past posts as links might be really effective.

Geolocation Link Redirects are also included, which is beneficial. If you utilize affiliate networks like Amazon to monetize your site, this plugin allows you to redirect people based on their region. 

It also has an Amazon API Importing capability, which will be quite useful for Amazon affiliates. Using the Amazon API, you can rapidly search for product affiliate links and import them.


  • It also integrates with Google Analytics. 
  • It allows you to categorize and arrange your links.


  • Split testing and rotation aren’t available. 
  • Optional paid add-ons will be required for further features.


  • Thirsty Affiliates Pro Add-on cost from $49 to $149
  1. Install and activate Thirsty Affiliate in your WordPress.
  2. Set up the Thirsty Affiliate General Setting

Link Appearance Tab

How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress using ThirstAffiliate Pro Link Appearance Tab

Link Prefix – This is how you want your links to look. You have a variety of options to pick from. Bloggers frequently utilize prefixes such as goto, advises, and suggests, among others. Link in the category – Using this option, it will just lengthen your links. 

Link Redirect Type – 302 Link Redirect Type (302 is recommended redirect for Cloaked URLs) 

Use nofollow on links – Choose yes. I strongly advise you to check this box and make all of your affiliate links nofollow.

Open link in a new window – Choose Yes, It opens URLs in a new browser tab by default.

Link Redirect Type - 302 Link Redirect Type
  1. Add Individual Affiliate Links

To add your first cloaked affiliate link, click on ThirstyAffiliates New Affiliate Link. After that add a title to the top of the page. Make it relevant to the link, as this will help you remember it and put it into the material. Then, in the Destination URL box, paste the affiliate link for the destination.

  1. You can utilize the Link Categories box to arrange your links by creating new categories or assigning existing categories, just like you would with a conventional post.
  2. Setup Thirsty Affiliates Keyword Autolinker

The option to automatically add affiliate links to your blog entries based on keywords is one of the features of the Pro edition. This is a terrific way to monetize your prior material quickly and easily. A word of warning, though: keep the number of links to a bare minimum.

This is where you can choose how your blog entries will be linked automatically. 

  • Keyword Limit – This is where you specify how many times you want the keyword to appear in your blog entries automatically. I went with two, but you may adjust this on an individual basis within your blog entries if you choose. 
  • Random Autolink Placement – Check this box. 
  • Link Inside heading tags – This was left unchecked. If you don’t like any links shown on your headlines. 
  • Disable auto linking on archive pages- leave this unchecked.
  • Disable auto linking on the home page – Yes.
  • Enable auto-linking in feeds – Check this option.
  1. Set Link Health Setting

ThirstyAffiliates will notify you whenever it identifies an issue.

ThirstyAffiliates will notify you whenever it identifies an issue.

You can choose to keep the default settings to run the cron job in days that you want it to work.

  1. If you’re done configuring the settings you can now click Save Changes.

Get ThirstyAffiliates


how to cloak affiliate links using AffiliateWP

AffiliateWP can assist you in successfully setting up and running an affiliate program from your WordPress site. Over a dozen features are included in the plugin, each of which is meant to guide you through the various stages of an affiliate program.

Businesses may use AffiliateWP to form meaningful agreements with affiliates, who can then use their marketing efforts to bring in more clients for the brand. They help generate visitors to business websites, increasing the likelihood of a lead being converted from a window shopper to a paying consumer.

You may use AffiliateWP in conjunction with a slew of other MemberPress plugins, like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, Easy Digital Downloads, PayPal Buttons, and a slew of others, to boost your affiliate database to new heights.


  • Extremely well constructed 
  • Customer service is outstanding. 
  • Compatible with other plugins


  • Add-ons must be purchased separately.


  • Premium Version costs from $ 249 to $299 per year

Get AffiliateWP

how to cloak affiliate links via plugin - Pretty Links

Pretty Link is another link shortening plugin, particularly for custom links. It’s an excellent approach to tidy up your affiliate links and hide them according to your preferences. It also includes tools like link reporting and auto-linking that can help you make more money from your site. 

Pretty Links has a URL shortener as well. It also keeps track of all of your affiliate links. It keeps track of clicks and assists you in locating your most popular sites.


  • The user interface is smooth and intuitive. 
  • An interface for reporting that may be filtered by date period or specific links clicked. 
  • Custom link settings and tracking options are available.


  • Links can’t be scheduled. 
  • There isn’t an automated link health checker.


  • The Premium version costs $49 to $149 per year.

Get Pretty Links 

Wrapping Up!

This post showed you how to cloak affiliate links on your website in a simple but efficient way. Using a plugin is clearly the more convenient choice because it saves time. It also makes it simple for affiliates to organize the various links they utilize to promote different programs.

As usual, let us know how you get on this one! :)

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.