Excessively long Internet links (URLs) have been with us since the onset of the Internet. College websites are notorious for having long URLs to their content — especially URLs that are difficult to remember or type. Search engines have also played a part in promoting long URLs. For example, search engines like Google reward Web pages that use descriptive URLs — URLs that include related keywords.
For the most part, the “hyperlink” nature of the Internet makes long URLs a nonissue. However, it can quickly become a problem when you decide to email a long URL or publish a long URL on paper. Long URLs that are emailed often break the link and send people to “404 Page Not Found” pages. Also, if you print a long URL in a newsletter, it can be difficult and time consuming to enter into a browser.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma. It’s called the “URL shortener.” The need to shorten URLs — and to build a better URL shortener — has created a massive amount of Web services that do just that. One of the oldest and most widely used URL shorteners is TinyURL, but as I just stated, there are many more.
I’ve compiled the ultimate list of URL shorteners. Keep in mind that URL shortening services use redirects and that using them doesn’t guarantee that they’ll always work. In fact, many of these services come and go, because of excessive abuse by spammers.
Update July 2012: There are a number of these tools that are no longer online, we’ve removed the links to these non-existant tools.
Favorite URL Shortener
Ultimate List of URL Shortener Services
- Minilien.com (French)
- My T Url
- Short links
- URL Hawk
- YEP that URL!
URL shortening isn’t the only type of URL redirect service out there.DecentURL attempts to make URLs, well, decent. While HugeURL takes a tongue-in-cheek approach and creates a gigantic URL — just because they can.
Please leave a comment and list any URL shorteners that we’ve missed or send us a message @raventools.