Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, July 29, 2007

URL Shortening Services: A Mini-Guide

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Are you looking for a way to shorten long URLs to be inserted in your newsletter or in an email you need to distribute to non-technical people? URLs sometimes get to be very long indeed, and having the ability to crop them easily to a few short and easy to remember characters is often a significant advantage.

Photo credit: Kmitu

Shortening long URLs provides a convenient way to share links via IM, email or through mini-blogging platforms. Twitter and Jaiku, for example, offer a limited number of characters that you can use; in such cases, having the possibility to shorten a long URL makes the difference between being able to share a link or having to keep it for yourself.

In this mini-guide I have listed for you some of the most popular and useful free URL shortening services available online.

Please remember that this mini-guide does not pretend to be a fully comprehensive catalogue of all the URL shortening services available online; you are in fact very welcome to suggest additional services by using the comments section that you will find at the bottom of this article.



SnipURL lets you not only shorten a web site address but also modify the URL once it has been shortened. SnipURL also provides statistics, allowing you to see which of your shortened web site addresses are the most visited. SnipURL allows users to make private shortened web site addresses. Additionally, you can shorten more than one web site address at once.




urlTea makes a shorter URL for you, and it will remind you if you have already created a shorter URL. Also, with UrlTea the user can add a description to the URL, which may be useful for replacing URLs which are not descriptive of the related content.




TinyURL is a site that makes it easy to shorten any web site address. You can shorten your long URL simply by clicking on the TinyURL bookmarklet that you will have previously dragged to your favorite browser. Plus, TinyURL lets you see what the shortened web site address will look like.




TraceURL shortens any URL plus it tracks traffic to the page through the TraceURL shortened web site address, showing where the traffic originated. This can be a useful tool for anyone trying to track which promotional tactics are working the best. TraceURL is one of the few URL shorteners that requires users to register and log in to use the free service.




ReadthisURL is a special URL shortener, since the link that it generates is very intuitive and easier to remember. In fact, you can shorten the URL plus add more than one relevant keywords to the shortened web site address.




Memurl creates very curious web addresses which are highly readable. The words that Memurl creates are easy to spell, but are not real. You may not remember it without storing the new web site address somewhere. Free to use.




What Doiop allows you to do is actually define your own keyword so you can give your short link some context, something simple which many URL shortening services just don't offer. For now, Doiop generates names that make sense, but it will probably start generating more random URLs once it gets more popularity.




On top of a basic URL shortening system, DwarfURL allows users to track statistics and traffic of these shortened URLs. Perfect for marketing purposes and for tracking how many people actually visit those links you send them.




NotLong lets you enter the URL that you want to shorten and also choose with which word or character combination you want to synthesize it. This is very useful because users can remember the newly generated URL with no difficulties. The service is completely free to use.


url (x)


url(x) is a service that lets you generate a short URL from a long one. You can decide whether you want to make the URL public or private. You can also include or exclude domain name in the short URL as well as preview short URLs before activating them. The service is free.



URL Shortening Services: Comparison Chart

Livia Iacolare -

Readers' Comments    
2011-01-03 07:44:00


Greaaaat list. Thank you very much.

2009-06-19 17:52:23

I use - a free link cloaking service which works well. Free and no expiry.

2009-05-08 01:55:09

Jame Howard

I love to hear your review of that is the only one I am stick with

2009-04-15 22:06:11


We recently launched a new website that provides a URL shortening service for "multiple" websites:

Viewista creates a short URL for “multiple” websites. Plus, you can view the multiple sites all at once. We think it can be a real time-saver. You can also post comments on the sites and share with your friends, making it a social URL sharing service. Viewista can be particularly useful on Twitter because a user can create a short URL for multiple sites on a topic without having to use multiple tweets.

2008-08-20 13:41:44

Rick Lim does more then that. It also allow you to choose to preview it by putting preview. in front of the shortened URL eg:, it will bring you to a preview page which will allow you to preview the original URL before giving access. This way, you can more or less be sure that the site you'er about to browse is on a domain you trust!

2008-08-15 13:52:32

Cristine is also great site for those who looking for such service.

2008-05-18 01:44:48

angeln looks really cool

2008-04-19 13:32:57


Here's another Url Shortening Service which is a little 'different':

2008-02-06 19:24:21



2007-09-01 13:52:56

Josh Sherman

Don't forget about, it's free as well.

posted by on Sunday, July 29 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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