Internet Shortens URLs & Offers a Wide Variety of Free Tools

Bakari Chavanu 15-07-2011

Many of us do a lot of communication via the Internet these days— for example, regularly emailing and posting URL links for various purposes. The process of copying and pasting a URL is almost a no-brainer, but often we come across those long URLs that look absolutely atrocious when pasting them in an email or on in a forum thread.


Most Twitter clients like YoruFukurou will shorten long URLs for you, but for other occasions when you need to shorten URLs, there’s If you‘re never visited, you might be surprised about what you can do in addition to shortening URLs.

URL Shortener

If you’ve never used an URL shortener, Bitly makes it easy, even without you having to register on its site. You can copy a long URL and paste it in the URL text box of

shorten url

Click the Shorten button, and voila your long URL is shortened and ready for you to use. You can cut and paste your shorter version and use it anywhere you like. As far as I know, that shorter version will link to your original URL for as long as it exists on the net. But wait, there’s more.

bit url shorten


Bitly Tools

If you think you will be needing an email shortener on a regular basis, you might as well go ahead and register on Bitly‘s site.  They offer some convenient tools to make shortening URLs a faster process. Head over to the Tools page and you will see instructions for adding a Bitly bookmarklet and/or browser extension to your favorite web browser. This way you don’t have to do all the copying and pasting in to get your shorter version.

bit url shorten

You can also add a “bitly sidebar” to your browser. It’s pretty cool because you don’t have to add it as a browser extension, but as a link to your Bitly account that shows up in the the sidebar. In addition to creating short URL versions in the sidebar, you can get personalized stats about your Bitly links, create Tweets right from within the sidebar, and see who is linking to your URL on Twitter, FriendFeed and blog comments.

Bundled & Custom URLs

Sometimes even shortened URLs don’t quite look attractive enough especially for non-tech savvy Internet users. In this case you definitely want to use Bitly‘s customize feature, in which you can add a name or tag to a shortened URL to make it more recognizable.


bit url shorten

So for instance when you go through the process of shortening a URL, you should click on the Customize button and then add a descriptive tag or title, and Bitly will do the rest.

url shorten

If you have a collection of URLs that you would like to share, you can create what’s called a “bundled short URL”. Bitly will assign a shortened/customized URL for all the links you add to the bundle. When someone clicks on the link, they will be taken to your Bitly page where all the links can be accessed.


url shorten

But it won’t be just a list of links. Bitly will download and add a thumbnail photo and the title for each link in the bundle. If the title is not available you can manually add it.

Here’s an example I quickly put together for a bundle of Automator articles I‘ve written- You can later go back and add additional links to any of your saved bundles.

Power User Features

If you‘re becoming a power user of URLs for say marketing purposes or you just want to monitor the traffic your URLs are getting, Bitly probably offers everything you need.


url shorten

As all your Bitly created URLs are saved to your account, you can actually monitor the traffic those URLs are getting. Bitly offers all sorts of tracking stats about your URLs, including the number of clicks, the origins of those clicks, and the referring sites.

Other Features

If you hang out in long enough, you’ll discover several other features for further customizing your links and stats page. In your Bitly account settings, you can, among other things, create a custom short domain name for your Bitly links. For example The New York Times uses “” for their short domain.

shorten url

The process takes a little work, but it’s worth it if you want have a more professional edge with your URLs. You can also create a tracking domain to “gather metrics for all users that are shortening links to your site”.

It took me a while to realize all the features Bitly has to offer, and now it’s my favorite go-to page for when I need to share links with a little style.

Let us know what you think of and other similar sites. Also check out our other articles about URL shorteners – 6 Cool URL Shorteners With A Twist Which You Should Try Out 6 Cool URL Shorteners With A Twist Which You Should Try Out URL shorteners are a dime a dozen and don't seem to survive long. While regular URL shortening is nothing new or exciting anymore, there are still several pretty cool services out there that offer a... Read More 6 Interesting Flavors of Short URL Generation & Manipulation 6 Interesting Flavors of Short URL Generation & Manipulation Read More .
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  1. Anonymous
    July 18, 2011 at 7:07 am

    I thought it was Not -_-

    • Tina
      July 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      It was. Bitly moved the main page over to and is actually re-routed to The shortened links, however, are

  2. jasray
    July 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I may have misread, but is routing through Libya, so . . . users are depending on Internet connection stability in Libya?  Anything with .ly--not so good? 

  3. Admin
    July 16, 2011 at 1:41 am

    great friends, you give a very clear explanation. very nice post, really

    • Bakari
      July 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks for the feedback.

  4. Anonymous
    July 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Use the Chrome extension, Tab Bundles, to copy your tabs to bitly.

    • Bakari
      July 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks, brihar73, for that tip.