A Quick Look at URL Shortening Services & Extensions

If you are new to URL Shortening or are just looking for some good services to use, then join us as we take a quick look at URL Shortening and four of the more popular services available.

What is URL Shortening?

URL Shortening is a process that translates long (and sometimes awkward) website addresses into short easy-to-manage URLs. These shortened URLs serve as a bridge to redirect you or people you share the URL with to the original website address.

Here is an example of just how much difference there can be between a regular URL (with eighty five characters)…

https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/what-is-ctfmonexe-and-why-is-it-running/

Versus a shortened URL for the same address (now only having eighteen to twenty characters)…

http://is.gd/4E3EN

http://tinyurl.com/2th782

http://bit.ly/ApWlc

http://snipurl.com/sth8b

That is quite a bit of difference from the original. While the shortened length may vary they all do that one wonderful thing that you need…provide an easy-to-use address for your social accounts, blog posts, and e-mails. No more awkward or broken links that have to be copied, pasted, and then pieced back together before you can use them.

And now on to the services and some nice Firefox extensions…

is.gd

Once you have installed the is.gd Creator extension you will be able to access it by clicking on the “Toolbar Button” or through the “Context Menu”. Any newly created URLs are copied to the “Clipboard” and can be pasted from there.

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If you decide to directly use the is.gd website, this is what it looks like…lean and focused. For those who would like to add a bookmarklet to their browser(s), there is one available on the “Instructions Page” approximately halfway down the page.

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TinyURL

After installing the TinyURL Generator extension, you can access it through the “Status Bar Icon” or the “Context Menu”. Depending on the particular type of “Shortened URL” that you chose to create, you will have either a “Direct or Preview Link” that is copied to the clipboard and ready to use.

Note: The difference shown in the “Context Menu” is a result of changes available in the options for this extension…but both types are always available in the “Status Bar Icon”.

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The TinyURL website… There is a bookmarklet available for those who would like to create TinyURLs in other browsers (or skip installing a Firefox extension).

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bit.ly & Snipurl

The bitlyFF URL extension works a little differently than the two above. You can access it through the “Toolbar Button, Status Bar Icon, or Context Menu”. Using the “Toolbar Button or Status Bar Icon” will only produce “bit.ly Shortened URLs”. If you would like to create a shortened URL for TinyURL, is.gd, or Snipurl, then you will need to use the “Context Menu”.

Whichever of the options that you use, the shortened URL that you create will be copied to the clipboard and can be pasted into the appropriate app or webpage from there.

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A look at the bit.ly website… You can add a bit.ly sidebar bookmarklet or a regular bookmarklet to your browsers and sign up for an account.

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And finally the Snipurl website where you can set up an account and/or add a bookmarklet to any of your favorite browsers.

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Conclusion

These services can provide a quick and easy way to create shortened URLs and provide different levels for managing them based on your personal needs.

Links

Download the is.gd Creator extension (Mozilla Add-ons)

Visit the is.gd website

Download the TinyURL Generator extension (Mozilla Add-ons)

Visit the TinyURL website

Download the bitlyFF URL Shortener extension (Mozilla Add-ons)

Visit the bit.ly website

Visit the Snipurl website

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .