10 Short URL Services Face Off!

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Does this bug you as much as it bugs me?


If you’re blogging or uploading files frequently, passing out lengthy links to your posts can get pretty tedious. That’s where URL truncator services come in, stepping up to provide a shorter link that’s easier to remember and share. There are a ton of options out there, and most have something unique to offer.


Probably the best known truncator around, TinyURL offers the features most people are looking for: an easy to remember domain name, fairly short (though at 6 characters it’s double what some create) identifier, and a preview page for your shortened link by using “preview.tinyurl.com/[link]”. Their page also automatically copies the new URL to your clipboard, and they offer a bookmarklet.

You can’t really fault TinyURL for not being able to pull off three-character identifiers like some of the other services I listed – they claim they have more than 74 million in their database and receive 2 billion hits a month. With numbers like that, it makes sense that they need a couple more letters.



A single blank box for your address on the main page (which is totally uncluttered) and you’re sent to the finished product. If you’ve got Flash enabled, the new URL is automatically copied, which is pretty slick. You’re also given the option of sending your visitors to a preview page first by simply adding a hyphen to the end of your new URL. I really like this idea, especially if you’re linking directly to a file and not a web page – just in case your visitors need to be able to right-click and save as to get it.

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This is about as short as you can get, my URL weighing in at just 9 characters including punctuation. Not bad.



Again, very simple interface; fill in one blank with your URL and receive a three-character, truncated version. There’s not really much else that URL.ie does, but they do offer a bookmarklet for you to drag onto your Firefox bar – something is.gd doesn’t offer.


Something is a little amiss with their CSS code, and it didn’t present well in Firefox. Specifically, the button I needed to click to create my URL was mostly covered by the tools and contacts links.


Still, hitting enter still submits the form, and my shortened URL comes with a stats view – nice! All it gives you is creation time and total number of hits, but it’s still a nice addon to throw in. Better yet, they allow 2MB file uploads with automatic URL creation. No, it’s not a ton of space, but it’s a nice offering from a truncator. It’s a nice way to quickly share a .zip with a bunch of documents or photos. They also provide a bookmarklet, Firefox extension, and API access!


The only service I’ve used so far that offers URL masking, which doesn’t really provide much anonymity anyways, but it is a feature some may look for. Again, creation was simple, and they offer a Firefox addon for URL creation.


Offers a “tag” feature, which can be very useful. Using my test link I added the tag “demo” to it and was given “http://w3t.org/c/demo.” The untagged version came across as “/u/7wal” so there’s definitely some value to tagging with this service. Their creation page is more cluttered than the other sites reviewed, with links to several other sites in their “network.”


If w3t cleaned up their page and Ajaxed it, it would be this. Xil.in is a single page with tag support. Once you’ve filled in your URL and tag, the resulting truncated URL appears beneath the form in red text. Short, sweet, and a welcome change from being redirected to a second page. They offer Firefox integration in the form of a search bar, which works nicely to create new URLs.


The only site to offer a Windows client, a somewhat unique method of creating URLs. Download and install the client, and it sits in the system tray. Copy the url you want shortened from your browser, click the icon in the tray, and a pop up balloon notifies you of the new URL. It’s also automatically pasted to the clipboard. I can see this being useful if you’re someone who needs to create a lot of short URLs and blog them.


They also offer a bookmarklet for both Firefox and IE. Unlike a lot of the other services, xaddr checked to make sure my URL was valid – it didn’t create a link to a non-existent file like the others did.


Doiop is a little different in that they don’t offer alphanumeric URLs like the other services. Instead, you pick a word: http://www.doiop.com/snickerdoodle. The downside is, obviously, that someone else may have taken your word – which can make the process a little frustrating. There’s no bookmarklet, toolbar, or anything else to ease the process either.


Snurl / Snipr / SnipURL

The best for last? Snurl offers the usual single-blank url truncation, but they go way beyond that. Register on the site, and your “snips” will be stored and you can manage them whenever you want – and clickthroughs get automatically tracked. Awesome! What’s more, the management page offers emailing of any or all of your snips and instant sharing with the usual suspects (Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc.).

Snurl / Snipr / SnipURL

Snurl is so smart, it even creates RSS feeds for your snips. How cool is that? Sharing a pile of links is as easy as letting people subscribe to your feeds. You can also change the default domain name amongst snurl.com, snipr.com, and sninpurl.com at your leisure. Worried people might randomly leech your links? You can set a private key up and it will be automatically added to your new snips.

These features put Snurl in a class by itself, and I’d say it’s easily the most advanced truncator available – but what do you think? Have you found a service that you think is better? Go ahead, comment on it!

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31 Comments - Write a Comment


Jason Mayoff

Great article with some great ideas. I use another one called twurl/tweetburner that I believe is strictly for shortening urls that you’re going to post to Twitter. It also lets you keep track of your urls and how many times they were clicked. Very convenient.


Naveen Kumar

http://nsfw.in shouldve been mentioned as a special mention. My friends and I have used it, and it saved my ass quite a few times in a lab/workplace


I like this one as well, quite handy for emailing NSFW links

Marc M

Except that sysadmins might see the “nsfw” par of the URL over and over again and get suspicious.



you can use is.gd bookmarklet found in: http://is.gd/instructions.php

‘Magic’ bookmark


Lee Mathews

Oh wow…NSFW is an interesting one, though it’s for a er…totally different “target URL” than my demos.

Thanks for the tip, though – I’ve got a coworker that could get a lot of use out of that!



Snipurl or Snipr still stands a cut above, no several cuts above, all the wannabes that have sprung up since 2001. You can do titles, a descriptive short URL, see the stats, use the API to use snipr in your own app, snip/copy/paste on mobile phones at least windows mobile, and so on. And now that twitter allows me to use snipurl links I’m a happy camper.



Don’t forget tinypic.com. They’ll host your picture or video AND give you a short URL to it.



i like the url41.net, is simple and fast, and without advertisements



I really like http://moourl.com.


Jason B.

Came across http://elurl.com. Neat and clean with really short URL’s.



IEShortURL– Can’t believe I didn’t see this here, is there a reason? All I want is a browser add-on, like IESpell, accessable either by Tools or R-click, maybe a browser icon. T/Y’s I’ll be watchin’



@jason: Thanks, elURL.com is exactly what I needed!



I have been privileged in seeing one that will be coming online within the next few weeks and its a mind blower.

You will all hear about it with me having to even say who it is, but they have nailed it to a fine art.

Above and beyond what we could ask for as users of the web.

Will let you know when they go live.


Kevin Hauser

A new promising service out there is also: http://ux.lv
Supporting Trackings, Previews, Twitter and an api.



here comes another zxc9.com


Ya this was very nice It has API, Click count, Onclick sharing etc…..
Thanks to the team



here comes another http://zxc9.com




# URL shortening;
# Password-protected URLs;
# Temporary URLs;
# Custom number of visitors;
# Custom tags;


Yuan Novadhya Yudistira

This URL shortener is a little bit different, you can choose between redirect or masked. Add HTML POP up or not.
Check it out :




Or host your own with the just released urlShort 2.0.0, which offers many of the features of popular short URL services like bit.ly in a free, open source package.




he he…just came across another one(http://flib.in)

as if the above list wasnt enough…


Hey this seems to be a really nice url shortener.super fast ,and can track urls too


sleek and fast, what i like about flib.in is that its got no ads(none seen so far) and redirection is 301.


The new feature in flib.in seems to be”Launch your own url shortener”..This will really be useful for businesses and pple who want to have their brand name in the shortened url



Great set of URL shortening services, I personally like tinyurl especially. Just recently though I’ve found out about subdomaindirect.com.

What really attracted about subdomaindirect.com are perhaps their URL Masking, Path forwarding (I’m speechless really, just what i wanted for my megaupload urls), and real time traffic stats with graphs even.

I found it pretty amazing, they also allow you to create POP3 emails on your shortened subdomain but I haven’t tried it yet. The only trouble is you have to register each shortened domain, its quick and takes only a minute or so…but you have to confirm email. :s



Really useful article, ive just started using bit.ly instead of tinyurl because of the twitter integration and link analytics.

I can see the concern about malicious links becoming ever more an important issue as the twitter user base continues to grow at such a phenomenal speed and spammers start to cotton onto it’s potential.



The new feature in seems to be”Launch your own url shortener”..This will really be useful for pple who want to have their brand name in the shortened url



rvl.me uses an interstitial page (based on user preferences) to advise users of the destination. If a page does not meet the user’s criteria for showing the interstitial, it passes them with a 301 redirect without showing the interstitial.

rvl.me uses AdSense on the interstitial page, but it lets URL creators replace it with their own AdSense code.



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