Shortened URLs are everywhere today. On many social networks, it’s a common practice to use shortened redirect URLs rather than giving the original URL (often much longer) of a page. This is especially common when character limits are imposed, such as Twitter’s 140 character maximum. Those shortened URLs (also referred to as “cloaking links”) may be convenient and tidy on social media but can be extremely risky because have no idea where they are about to be redirected and what’s behind those links.
Previewing shortened URLs for a safer browsing experience:
It would be great if you can figure out what is lurking behind a shortened URL and find out which URLs you can trust. Thankfully, many online URL shortening services offer ways of previewing the full URL before visiting it.
1. Unshorten.It: Web Page & Browser Extension
Just copy and paste a shortened URL into Unshorten.It and you’ll find out the original URL, a summary or description of the page (if available), and its safety rating provided by Web of Trust (WOT).
With Unshorten.It, you would rather not have to open up the website every time you want to check a link, Chrome and Firefox users can use a browser extension. Just right-click the link and click ‘Unshorten this link.’
2. Unfurlr: Web Page
Simply paste the link into Unfurlr and find out what’s behind a shortened URL. The website will present you with the original URL accompanied by Google’s Safe Browsing Advisory if the link is legit.
3. CheckShortURL: Web Page
CheckShortURL is another web page that allows you to retrieve the original URL from a shortened link before clicking on it and visiting the destination. It provides furthermore information about unshortened URL such as title, description, keywords and author of the page. It also checks if the original URL is on search engines, Twitter, and lets you know if the hidden link is safe or not.
CheckShortURL also suggests several safe browsing tools that verify the integrity of your shortened links: thanks to WOT (Web Of Trust), SiteAdvisor, Google, Sucuri, Norton or Browser Defender, you will have a clue on how safe your short URLs are.
4. LinkPeelr: Web Page & Browser Extension
LinkPeelr is another popular online tool to help you get the original URL and also check if the URL is safe or not. Just paste the small URL and click on the peel button to get the original one. And after this, you can decide whether to proceed or not. Just click on the ‘Follow’ button to go to the original location. You can also get an add-on for Google Chrome.
5. URL Manager: Android App
Android users can give URL Manager a try. The free app squeezes your long links into neat, short links. You can also expand and scan the links with this app and click on links with confidence. To check a link on your phone, copy the link and fire up URL manager. Tap the plus button and select Expand.
6. URL X-ray: iOS App
URL X-ray is available as a bookmarklet, in your browser, and you can also use a free iOS app that adds a button to your phone making it easy to check links on the go on your phone.
Doing this is as easy, just paste the long URL into the text box and just click on the X-ray button and get to know about those links.