The Complete Guide to URL Shorteners

Anouar Miliani
Anouar Miliani Published on January 01, 2023

Are you looking for a way to easily share links with the world? URL shorteners can help you do just that.
Whether you need to shorten long URLs for a blog post, email marketing campaign, or social media
strategy, this guide will teach you everything needed to create and use shortened URLs. We’ll go over how
they work and how best to utilize them in your online efforts as well as some of the most popular services
available today. By the end of this article, you'll have all the knowledge and tools necessary to start using
URL shorteners like a pro!

What Is A URL Shortener?

A URL shortener is a tool that takes long and unwieldy web addresses and transforms them into much
shorter and more convenient URLs. This makes it easier for people to share links online, as they don't have
to worry about cluttering up their message with a lengthy address. In addition to this, shorter URLs also
look neat and tidy when included in various documents or on social media posts.

URL shorteners work by taking a web page's actual address, which is usually quite long, and mapping it
onto a much shorter numerical code. Whenever someone clicks on the shortened link, the URL shortener
redirects them to the original address by looking up the numerical code in its database. This process
happens almost instantaneously and makes sharing links across platforms quick and simple.

How Do URL Shorteners Work?

The workflow for URL shortener services is relatively straightforward: when you submit a link to be
shortened, the service will generate a unique token (or "key") associated with the original URL. It then
stores this key along with the original URL in the service's database. The user can then access this
"tokenized" version of their original link by accessing the domain of the service followed by the token
which has been appended to it. For example, if you have your URL shortened through, then
bitly. com/[token] would lead to your original link. Additionally, many services offer additional features
such as tracking statistics or password-protecting certain links — all of which require additional
information to also be stored within their databases alongside the tokens and URLs associated with each

When somebody clicks on one of these shortened URLs, they will first be directed to the domain
associated with the URL shortening service which is hosting it (i.e., bitly). Once at this site, their browser
will send an HTTP request to fetch any other necessary information from the hosting platform’s database
based on the token appended to the end of its address (the same one that was generated during initial
submission). This request will first look for any additional features associated with this particular link (such
as password protection) before ultimately redirecting them onto their intended page – usually following
some kind of analytics tracking parameters in order to data about how many times people have clicked
on that specific tokenized URL to be collected and stored in real-time by these services.

How To Use A URL Shortener?

Some important steps to follow while using a URL shortener are

Step 1: Choose a URL Shortening Service

When it comes to using a URL shortener, the first step is to select the service provider. There are several
reputable and popular services that are easy to use for this purpose, such as Bitly and TinyURL. When
choosing a provider, you should ensure that your choice offers a secure connection and is reliable in its

delivery of shortened URLs. Additionally, you may wish to consider the pricing structure of the different
services and decide if any extras or features are worth spending more money on.

Step 2: Paste Your Long URL into the Service

Once you have chosen your preferred URL shortening service, you will be able to paste your long URL into
the designated field or box. This can be done either by manually typing in your link or by copying and
pasting it directly from another website or application. It is important to double-check that all details are
correct before proceeding with the next step

Step 3: Customize Your Shortened Link (Optional)

Some services offer the option of customizing your shortened link before generating it. For example, some
providers allow users to choose their own unique identifier for their shortened links, rather than being
restricted to a randomly generated code assigned by the service. If you plan on using multiple links from
one domain for marketing purposes, then it might be worth adding extra identifiers in order to make them
easier for customers to remember and recognize.

Step 4: Generate Your Shortened Link

Once you have completed steps 1-3 (if applicable), you can generate your shortened link with a click of a
button or tap of a key. The new link should then appear in full length on your screen ready for use straight
away. Depending on which service you use, there may also be options available here such as copy & share
buttons which enable you to quickly get your new link out into the world with minimum fuss.

Step 5: Test Your Shortened Link Before Sharing

Before sharing or publishing any newly created shortened links with others, it is good practice to test them
out first. This ensures that they work properly and direct visitors towards their intended destination
without any issues arising along the way – something which can save lots of frustration down the line if
not taken care of now! To do this, simply open up each new link in an incognito window (or private
browsing session) before finalizing its publication elsewhere.

Step 6: Monitor Link Performance with Analytics Tools

Many services come equipped with analytical tools which show how many people have used each
individual shortened link so far, where these visitors are coming from geographically speaking as well as
other user behaviors such as how much time they spent on each respective page etc… This data can then
be used to help inform future decision-making when deploying similar links in other marketing campaigns

Step 7: Refresh Links When Necessary

Finally, although most popular providers will keep track of all URLs created through their service
indefinitely; sometimes links need refreshing after prolonged periods of non-use (for example 6 months
plus). Doing this is relatively simple; simply go back into the same panel where you generated each link
originally, copy & paste its contents into a new field/box and generate an updated version – thus ensuring
that all users are directed toward their intended destination without any delay or disruption during

Benefits of Using URL Shorteners

URL shorteners are a great way to make long, intimidating URLs much easier to send and share. They allow
us to take complicated and unwieldy links, like those for academic articles or software downloads and
turn them into much more concise addresses. This can be incredibly helpful for sending and receiving
information quickly. Are URL shorteners really as helpful as they seem? Let’s discuss the advantages of
using URL shorteners.

Increase Click-Through Rate

URL shorteners help optimize the click-through rate of your links. When a URL is shortened, it looks more
attractive and easier to remember. Additionally, it can also help prevent link breaking if the original URL
was too long for some systems or browsers to handle.

Easy To Share

By using a URL shortener, you make it easier for users to share your links on social media platforms such
as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Shortened URLs are less cumbersome and easier to read than long ones,
so they take up less room when published in messages or emails.

Save Space On Print Materials

If you often publish printed materials such as flyers or brochures that include links for readers to use
online, then a URL shortener may be particularly useful for you. It will save valuable characters which is
important on printed materials where space is limited and every character counts!

Make URLs Look Professional

A long and messy URL can not only affect the aesthetics of your website but also give an unprofessional
appearance to any communication material used by your company or brand. Shortening these URLs helps
make them look cleaner and more attractive while still linking correctly to their content destination when
clicked on by a user.

Password Protect Content

With some URL shorteners, you have the ability to password-protect content so that only people with a
special code have access to the page it takes them through too. This feature is great if you want to share
sensitive information with a select group of people without having direct access from other sources like
search engine results pages (SERPs).

Analyze Keyword Performance

By tracking clicks coming from specific keywords that you use in different marketing activities (such as
SEO campaigns) through shortened URLs, it becomes much easier for marketers to track how well these
keywords are performing over time; this enables them to react and adjust their strategies accordingly in
order to get better results from their efforts .

Customize Links

Many URL shortening services also offer customized options such as adding parameters like UTM codes
onto the end of shortened URLs before sharing them online so that marketers can track visits coming from
specific channels such as Google Ads or emails campaigns easily. This helps them determine which
channels deliver better ROI effectively making their budgeting decisions clearer when planning future

Reduce Development Time

For developers working with CMSs (Content Management Systems) like WordPress, using shorter links
significantly reduces overall development time, especially when pasting large numbers of videos or images
into posts. This is because digital assets like videos often come with very long embedding codes which
need to be manually post-processed before being posted online - something which can take up valuable
coding hours if done manually.

Tips to Use URL shorteners

If you're looking to gain more visibility, traffic, and engagement for your website or blog, URL shorteners
can be a valuable tool. URL shortening is a process that allows users to take overly complicated URLs and
condense them into something more manageable — without losing any of the essential information
contained within each link. By using strategic URL shortening in combination with other tactics, you can
increase clicks on your content exponentially! Let’s discuss everything from why should you use URL
shortener services, how to shorten links effectively and safely with free online tools, and tracking options
available through many modern services today.

Check the Source of the Link

URL shorteners are used to make a URL shorter and easier to share, but criminals may also use them to
mask malicious links that can lead to viruses, malware, or other dangerous online activity. Before clicking
on any link, it is important to check where it leads by hovering your mouse over the link or digging into
the source code of the page. This will help you identify whether the shortening service used may be a
fraud or not.

Look for Unusual Domain Extensions

Carefully examine the domain associated with a shortened link before clicking on it. If it has an unusual
extension such as .tk or .co, this could be an indication that it is not a legitimate link. Genuine sites tend
to have extensions such as .com, .gov, .org, or .net. It's best to avoid clicking on links with suspicious
extensions in order to protect yourself from any malicious links.

Use Trusted Shortening Services

It is important to use trusted URL shortening services when creating your own shortened URLs as some
services may contain malicious content and scams. Popular URL shorteners such as Bitly and TinyURL offer
reliable services and provide helpful features such as password protection, expiration dates, tracking
analytics, and custom branding options which can help you secure your links further

Scan Your Links with Antivirus Software

Using antivirus software is another great way of protecting yourself from malicious links embedded in
shortened URLs: most modern antivirus programs have URL scanning capabilities that can detect
potentially dangerous links before you click on them and alert you if they are linked to malware or other
threats online.

Disable Redirection in Your Browser Settings

Most web browsers support URL redirects which are commonly used by scammers when creating
malicious links using shortened URLs – they allow users who click on a specific link to be redirected to
another website without their knowledge or consent. To protect yourself from these kinds of attacks,
disable automatic redirection in your browser settings and always double-check where a link will take you
before clicking on it (by right-clicking on the link).


Some frequently asked questions about URL shorteners are

Why would I want to use a URL shortener?

Using a URL shortener makes it easier to share long URLs without having to waste characters or make
them too long for the message being shared. Additionally, it helps make sure links look neat and orderly
since there’s no risk of making it look cluttered or messy when using shorter URLs. Furthermore, some
URL shorteners also offer you access to analytics, allowing you to see how your link performs once clicked
by users.

Are all URL shorteners the same?

No - each one works differently depending on its features and capabilities. Some offer tracking capabilities
which can provide additional insights into user behavior when clicking on the link whereas others simply
only shorten the existing links without any other features included. Additionally, some may also provide
social media integration so that users can easily share their links across multiple platforms with a single

Is there any risk associated with using a URL Shortener?

Yes - most premium-level URL Shortening services allow for custom domain names when creating
shortened links so that users remain consistent regardless of which platform they choose for sharing their
content without compromising on branding identity since all generated links appear under the same branded
domain name rather than default provider options such as bitly etcetera.. This allows businesses more
control over brand image since customers won’t feel confused about where these specific links come from
nor question the credibility thereof upon first sight since all branded domains are recognized instantly by the end
the user thus giving business owners peace of mind when marketing their products/services online through
these methods...

Now that you know everything there is to know about URL shorteners it is time to start using them! is the best place to get started. With our user-friendly interface, you can start creating
short URLs in no time. So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start sharing your shortened URLs
with the world!


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