Monday, February 15, 2010

URL Shortening - Link Shorteners

If you're using Twitter, then you might have seen these links on tweets: Have you tried clicking on them? If you have, then you might have noticed that the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is actually longer. This is what we call "URL shortening" where the shorter link that you see points or redirects you to the page that has a longer link. This is accomplished by Link Shorteners, which are web services that makes a web page available under a very short URL. For example, the link becomes

So, WHY USE LINK SHORTENERS? These are some of the reasons (taken from Wikipedia):

1. Avoid URL Garbling - Copying a URL that is hundreds of characters long can make the URL garbled and a shorter URL is more desirable to copy on an email or in forurms.

2. Use the smallest space possible - Just like the example above, link shorteners can turn a link with more than 100 characters into a link that has no more than 20 characters.

3. Manipulate visitors - URL shortening is a special kind of URL redirection and may be used in pranks or phishing. However, short link filtering services (like Google Safe Browsing) are already present to make sure that short links are safe.

Some URL shortening services that I have used are and tinyURL.

You might be wondering why I'm posting something like this right now. That's because I've become pretty active in Twitter and it's really inconvenient to post long links (they eat up what little space I have). So that's when I turned to URL shortening and it's quite convenient so I decided to post something about it in my blog. I hope you found this post useful and informative.


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