With the advent of social networking and micro-blogging sites like Twitter, on which messages are required to fit into limited characters, compression of URLs become ubiquitous. In order to turn long URLs into shorter ones, so called URL shortening services (USS) are offered by various companies.
When users want to shorten a long URL, they submit the long URL to a shortening service that returns a short URL which typically does not exceed 30 characters (including the ‘http://’ part). The users then include the short URL instead of long URL in a Tweet, IM chat or email. When others request the short URL, the shortening service automatically redirect subsequent visitors to the intended source. For example, if the user submits a long URL to bit’.ly, the service will return a short URL to the user like this http://bit.ly/tWpCjY, which consists of just 20 characters. The user can then share the short URL on any webpage, blog, forum, IM program, SMS or social network. Any future access to http://bit.ly/tWpCjY will be redirected by bit.ly to the original, longer URL.
In this article, we presents Top 5 URL shorteners that shrink long web address, making the links easier to share via email, Chat or text message and social networks.
This site is the leader in URL-shortening, no other site has received as much as publicity Bit.ly has. Its free, with no limit or bandwidth restrictions. It has an user-friendly design and all the tools you need are on the homepage. Just paste a long URL into the box on homepage and click ‘Shorten‘ to instantly get a shortened URL in return. You can also change the random letters and numbers that Bit.ly generates into recognizable words, so called vanity URLs (screenshot).
Bit.ly has a inbuilt web analytics tool which provide a way to monitor and analyze how many links have been clicked in real-time and show stats about referrers location. [Quick tip] Adding a ‘+’ after a bit.ly address will give you access to short URL’s analytics and a QR code which can be scanned using a mobile phone to open site where short URLs point to. For example, http://bitly.com/tWpCjY+.
There are browser extensions and ’bookmarklets’ that let you shrink URLs on the fly. For Link-shortening addicts, Bit.ly also has an impressive app like HTML5 mobile site. Best of all, it provide safety measures by protecting people from opening untrusted websites concealed by shortened links.
It uses a cookie to remember the last 15 links you’ve shortened and displays that history on the home page when you visit. However, to explore full history and other useful features, you can create a free account.
GOOGLE URL SHORTENER
Google URL shortener is a great service to keep your URLs short. Besides providing a short URL for each long one, It also provide safety by automatically scanning the destination URL to detect and identify malicious websites, and by warning users when the shortened URL might be a security concern.
If you sign in with your Google account, you can store every link you create, see the click history to now how popular your shortened URLs are and get QR code for each ‘goo.gl’ address. On dashboard, a handy search bar lets you quickly find any link you’ve shrunk and you can delete all your short URLs in one go. Unlike Bit.ly, It does not offer URL customization features to create vanity URL.
This URL shortener take long web address and shrink it to a short URL, called Snip. It provide handy customization options – you can rename the shortened URL’s suffix with a recognizable word (so called Nickname) and also change the default prefix for your snips from ‘Snipurl.com’ to ‘Sn.im’ or “’cl.lk’.
Sharing your Short Urls is a breeze as it offer lots of sharing options. You can instantly share Snips via email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Delicious, Stumble Upon and more. You can also limit access to a short URL to selected people with a private key. And, there is an aggregator under ‘Browse Snips’ tab, which show interesting snips around the web.
It offer all the feature that Bit.ly has- shortening of Long URLs, bookmarklets for easy shortening, sharing links via Twitter and Facebook and Short URLs analytics. Beside these basic features, it can also create geo-location rules(screenshot) to provide different destination URLs for different countries- so you can, for example, direct a UK resident to ebay.co.uk and a Indian user to ebay.in to view the same product.
And, as a safety measure, it first directs people who click your shortened URL to a preview page rather than actual. In this way it can thwart phishing attack.
If you want to make a bit pocket of money from URL shortening service, adf.ly is an option for you. Adf.ly, not only allow you to shorten the long web addresses but also enable you to make few pennies out of it. You get paid for every person that visits your short URLs.
Using Adf.ly is simple, just put your long web address into the box and click ‘Shrink’ to get a tiny 18 character long URL. When others click the short URL, the shortening service automatically redirect to an page showing banner or full page ads. After 5 second, it take visitors to the final URL location. See adf.ly short link in action- http://adf.ly/5XR