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Guide: Best Tools to Show Shortened Links
We use link shorteners everywhere – from Twitter to even bundling up multiple links in one. A long URL (and they seem to get longer every day) is impractical and too much to even copy and paste. They also tend to break multiple lines in emails, texts, and status updates. So far so good … but shorteners for links have a small downside. You cannot tell from the URL what is behind it. Is it the real site or are you waiting for an internet trap from malware infection? Or it could be anything from a spam link to an online ad date.
Cool Tip Turns out we have one guide on ways to keep you from clicking suspicious links online. Check that out too.
Some services such as Tiny URL come with a preview feature that reveals the shortened links. If you get a shortened link and you want to make sure what it points to, try these three handy tools to reveal the shortened links.back to menu ↑
Unshorten.It is a web app that reveals the long form of a URL when you paste a shortened link in the field box. Keep your bookmark if you are a user of Twitter and other services such as Digg that use shortened links. The site offers you browser add-ons for Chrome and Firefox.
As you can see from the screenshot, Unshorten. It also shows information about the target web page title and description tags, a screenshot of the target website, Web of Trust security ratings, and a warning if the website is found in the HPHosts blacklist. Note that the blacklist is a free downloadable community-managed host file for blocking ads and malware sites, so a relatively unknown site may not be listed. Thumbnails may also not be displayed up sometimes, but it’s not much of a problem as the WOT ratings and long URL should be your main concern.back to menu ↑
Sound the same Unshorten.com is more barebones when it comes to function. While the previous site didn’t mention this, Unshorten says it supports short URLs from TinyURL.com, SnipURL.com, NotLong.com, Metamark.net, zURL.ws, and many others. It’s a more minimal service because it simply gives you the longer URL to research and click through.back to menu ↑
Xpnd.It UPDATING: This tool is no longer available) is a handy Firefox add-on that decodes a short link from over 500 services and expands to its long shape in a small preview window when you hover the mouse pointer over the link. It’s pretty fast – and as the add-on page says, the service uses local caching plus three layers of remote caching on the server. On your end, you can flag a potentially harmful link by clicking it + mark as malicious! link in the preview window.
These three services that give you the truth behind shortened links by revealing the full URL can be your first line of defense in the digital Wild West. Do you have a service that you use? Post it in the comments.back to menu ↑
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