What is URL shortening?
A URL, short for Uniform Resource Locator, is basically the web address that you type into your browser to get to a particular website, like www.geeksquad.co.uk. Sometimes URLs can be long and confusing, which is where a URL shortener comes in.
How can we make a long URL short?
There are many sites out there that will shorten URLs and some notable ones would be:
For this example I will be using Goo.gl to make www.geeksquad.co.uk shorter.
- Go to ‘goo.gl’
- Type in www.geeksquad.co.uk
- Press ‘Shorten URL’
- Now it will ask you to fill in a ‘Captcha’ (just to prove you are not a robot). Some of them may look like nonsens,e but you can click the refresh button to change the captcha until you find a readable one
- When you have entered the captcha press verify and you will be given a link to copy (CTRL + C)
As you can see, http://geeksquad.co.uk has been shortened to http://goo.gl/kUsga. You can shorten any website URL in the same way.
Why shorten a URL?
The main reason for URL shortening is to save space in a tweet or Facebook update. Some URL shortening websites allow you to customise the url to make it more relevant to your topic. For example, www.geeksquad.co.uk/kv/latest can be shortened with TinyURL to http://tinyurl.com/g33ksqu-d.
Important - security issues with shortened URLS
Because the real URL is masked by the shortening of the URL, malicious links to nasty websites can be hidden. Be careful what you're clicking.
You can install a web browser extension to review the full URLs of shortened addresses.
Google Chrome: View Thru