Your entire browsing experience revolves around manipulating links. So when you browse so much every day, it’s only logical to use a set of helper tools to deal with links.
Today, we’ll show you which link-related tasks you can make easier with Chrome extensions. It’s sure to speed up your browsing.
1. Shorten Links With Bit.ly [No Longer Available]
For several years now, Bitly has been everybody’s go-to service for shortening URLs. Bitly does have an official Chrome extension to go with the service, but that’s not the one that we’re recommending today. Our pick is an unofficial Bitly extension called Bit.ly. Notice the period in the extension name; it’s missing from the name of the official extension.
There’s not much work required to use the Bit.ly extension. Click on its toolbar icon when you’re on any webpage to reveal a tiny pop-up box. This is where the extension shortens the URL of the current page for you and copies it to the clipboard. A couple of seconds is all it takes and then you’re free to hit Ctrl + V (or Cmd + V if you’re on macOS) to paste the link elsewhere.
If you’d like to keep shortened links backed up to your Google account, go with goo.gl URL Shortener. Of course, you could also set up your own URL shortener instead of using one provided by a third party.
2. Expand Shortened Links With LongURL [No Longer Available]
It’s important to expand URLs before you click on them, because you never know what could be lurking behind them. This goes for all links that you have received or those that you have stumbled upon online. It’s one way to dodge viruses, scams, and malicious websites and scripts when you’re browsing.
Your top two choices for expanding shortened URLs are LongURL and Unshorten.link.
LongURL doesn’t look great, but it does the job. For most people anyway — it didn’t work for me. Unshorten.link did work, but it opened a new tab to display the expanded URL, which I would consider a negative. On the plus side, it removes tracking cookies from the link.
3. Scan Links for Viruses With ipty.de/av
Scanning links for viruses is a step that you can’t afford to skip, especially if you’re opening a link from a source you don’t know or trust.
ipty.de/av is far from a great name for a Chrome extension. At least the extension itself does a decent job. To use it, click on its toolbar icon, paste in the link that you want to scan before browsing, and click on the Check button. The extension will tell you if the link is clean (i.e. okay to visit) or not. If you need to check links (or files) only once in a while, you can do that from ipty.de/av’s website instead of installing the extension.
VTchromizer from Virus Total is another good link scanner. Its developer hasn’t updated it in quite a while though, so that’s a strike against the extension. You might have also heard of Dr. Web Anti-virus Link Checker — after all, it is pretty popular in this category. But Dr. Web does not seem to be reliable all the time.
Are these browser extensions foolproof? It’s best to think otherwise. Keep your computer’s primary antivirus software up to date and primed to fight back when required. Also, check out Mark’s article on free antivirus tools for your browser to get more details on the above scanner extensions and a few others.
4. Preview Links With HoverCards
Install HoverCards now if your browser is reeling under too many open tabs. It’s a great way to cut down on tab clutter, and it’s one of those extensions that you probably don’t know you need.
The extension also shows you where else on the web a link is making an impact. Let’s say that Redditors have been discussing the Instagram image you’re previewing. You’ll then find a mention of the relevant Reddit updates under a separate tab in the preview.
Don’t want to see hover cards for certain types of content, say, YouTube user profiles or SoundCloud tracks? Disable them from the extension’s Options dialog. You can bring up the dialog via the context (right-click) menu of the extension’s toolbar icon.
5. Share Links With Point
Shareaholic is the first name that comes to mind when you’re speaking of an all-in-one sharing extension. It allows you to share links with anyone, on any platform or social networking site. The bad news is that it hasn’t worked all that great in quite some time. You’re welcome to give it a shot, but we can’t guarantee positive results, like we can do with Point.
After you install Point, you’ll get a quick intro about the extension via its toolbar icon. You’ll need to sign up with your Gmail or Facebook account to start using the extension. Any links that you share or receive appear in your Point inbox.
If you end up loving this extension and happen to be an iPhone user, head to Point’s official website to get Point for your iPhone.
6. Organize Links With Papaly
There’s nothing as boring or as satisfying as saving and organizing bookmarks. It doesn’t feel like so much of a chore though if you use an extension like Papaly.
The makers of Papaly seem to have thought of everything, right from speed dials to private boards to sharing and syncing options. To be honest, the first time you fire up Papaly, it comes across as “just too much”. It’s a vision board, and a discovery engine, and a personalized start page, and a…
I prefer minimal apps and extensions. If an app or extension is bursting with features, I’m quick to assume that it’s trying to please everybody and things are bound to go wrong. But everything seems to have gone right for Papaly, if the stream of mostly five-star ratings it gets everywhere online is anything to go by.
Papaly is not the only excellent extension in this category. Besides, you might want to explore more bookmarking options. That’s why we’re suggesting a few alternatives to Papaly. Try Raindrop.io next. It not only takes your bookmarks to the cloud, but keeps them beautiful as well as easy to search.
Next on our recommendation list is Refind. It doubles up as a content discovery service as well.
If you’re looking for something simpler than Papaly, Raindrop.io, and Refind, check out View Later. It’s the option I would go with if I had more than a handful of bookmarks to manage, which I don’t.
To bookmark the current URL, click on the green plus (“+”) button in the pop-up panel hidden behind View Later’s toolbar icon.
Bookmarking a link places it in a stack in the panel and closes the corresponding tab. Don’t want the bookmarked tab to disappear? Go to the Options page from View Later’s bookmark stack panel and uncheck the close tab automatically option.
7. Batch Process Links With Linkclump
Linkclump is so good it made it to our list of the most popular Chrome extensions of 2015. It saves you time and effort by allowing you to open, copy, and save multiple links at once. After you install the extension, a pop-up window gives you instructions for opening multiple links and a test area to try doing that. Look for the Options button in this window to set up custom batch actions and to read the FAQ section.
8. Extract and Export Links With Link Klipper
If you want to grab a bunch of links from a webpage and store them in an organized format, Link Klipper is the right extension for the job. It adds a context menu option that you can use to extract all links from a webpage and have them saved to a CSV file (the default option) or to a text file. All it takes is a couple of clicks.
Here’s a snapshot of the CSV file I ended up with when I grabbed links from our homepage:
If you want to extract the link addresses of all the tabs that are currently open, go with Copy All URLs. It saves those addresses to your clipboard. You can then paste them into a text file or elsewhere. If you use the Paste option hidden behind the extension’s toolbar icon, all the copied links open up in individual tabs at once.
9. Fix Search Result URLs With Google Link Fixer
Google Link Fixer gives you the actual URL when you copy a link address and not the unintelligible one that Google displays to track your clicks. Okay, this is one of those extensions that you’ll find at the bottom of the pile in the Chrome Web Store because it doesn’t have many users yet. We had to include it because there don’t seem to be any good extensions that do what this one does.
Install Google Link Fixer, hover over any link in Google search results, and take a look at the status bar. There’s your pure URL.
When you spend so much time within your browser, it’s practical to ensure that your browser is a comfortable and enjoyable place to be. Begin that mission by making link management effortless!
Which Chrome extensions would you recommend for dealing with link-related tasks? Share your favorites with us in the comments.