If you use the internet a lot you will always come across shortened urls, especially on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. We also see them a lot in emails we receive from people.
URL means Uniform Resource Locator and is an address which takes you to a resource on the Internet. On the other hand, shortened URLs are very short and are ‘meaningless’ web addresses that redirect you to longer and ‘unspecified’ web addresses.
People use a URL shortening process in places where they are limited in terms of what to post and where spamming is greatly frowned upon. A message on Twitter for example, may come with a URL that has been made short and unrecognizable. Internet marketers and other internet users may use a URL shortening service if they want to hide the explicit address behind their link when they want to make a joke or make you go to a page that they know you would not want to visit ordinarily.
Example of a shortened url is https://bit.ly/2NLdIIS. But the problem is that by clicking on this type of link, you are not safe from falling on a bad surprise since you do not know where it will lead you to. A shortened url can send you to a virus, porn site, malware, phishing site, etc.
If you have received a mail from a relative, friend or someone who had just gotten your contact from the web, asking you to click on a link shortened by a service like Bit.ly, Goo.gl or TinyURL.com, then it is possible that the link directs you to dangerous site or content.
Yes, evil exists on the internet, just like it does in real life. Even someone you trust can send you, without realizing, dangerous links.
Of course the links you will find on my pages or posts are verified, but this may not be the case with everyone, especially those who send you emails.
Rest assured, when you are not sure of a link found on the web or in an email, there are tools that will allow you to check the site or real URL behind the link, if it is a shortened URL.
When you get a weird message with an associated shortened link, it is better to unmask such a link before clicking on it. Do not take chances, go to one of the sites I’ll show you in some seconds, copy and paste your links in the window and click to check. You will then know where the link is pointing to by reading the real URL behind it.
This is a free online service that lets you know which actual URL is behind the short link, to avoid some pitfalls of malicious Internet users. URL Expander supports any URL created using popular URL shortening services, such as TinyURL, Bit.ly, Tiny.cc, T.co, Goo.gl, etc.
Note that you can unmask multiple URLs at a time on the site by pasting only one per line.
This site is better for this purpose because it further gives you deep information about the said site after unmasking it. Furlr provides a lot of detailed information on the link in question, an analysis of the reputation of the website and links on the web page. This will help you, especially if the website is not known to you, to decide whether to actually visit the site or not.
Take for example the URL of this article that I shortened: bit.byothe.fr/1d3zEHw. You can never guess what is behind the link right if you don’t check.
So, by going to Furlr, you will be able to have details about what is behind this link.
Though the analysis of reliability of little-known sites like techsfreak.com will not have a reputation index at all or high because of their small size, if you unmask a shortened URL of a big site with Furlr, you will see lots of information.
However, the most important thing, in any case, is to have visibility of the final URL to avoid unpleasant surprises.
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