8 Ways to Identify Real Web Address Before Clicking any Short or Tiny URL

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Short URL services are often used in microblogging like twitter, friendfeed etc. These url’s are just aliases to real web pages. The short URLs are easy to remember and share. But on the other way there are some pros and cons associated with the url shortening services. Let’s first discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of short URLs.


Advantages of using short URLs.

  1. Short URLs are easier to remember, and easier to type
  2. Easier to distribute because short URLs do not get broken into pieces in mail messages
  3. Sometimes a webmaster wants to distribute a URL that includes their affiliate id, but he wants to mask the fact that the link has an affiliate id, and short URLs allow them to do it.


Disadvantages of using short URLs.

  1. You cannot identify content inside the webpage by looking the URL. Clicking on a short URL may not always be safe and you may be redirected to a site with objectionable or adult content, or to a virus site.
  2. With a short URL, there is no way to identify where you will be redirected. It may be spamming URL.
  3. Short URL may be a personal tracking URL also.


Top 8 ways to decode the TinyURL into Real Web address


1) Preview a TinyURL

TinyURL has got inbuilt preview feature. If you do not want to be redirected to a TinyURL and instead want to see where it’s going before going to the site then you can use this feature. All you need is to enable the cookies in your web browser to use preview feature.


2) PrevURL

PrevURL is used for previewing URLs along with a thumbnail of a webpage. You may preview normal URLs and determine its original URL just by adding the short URL. The thumbnail will help you in identifying the content of the webpage.


3) Embiggen Bookmarklet

To install Embiggen on your browser, just drag this link onto your browser’s links bar. (Alternatively, right click and bookmark the link.). Suppose you are tweeting on twitter, just click on the bookmarklet and it will decode all the TinyURL’s or short URL’s into the original URL’s. You can also put embiggen button in sidebar of your blog so that your readers can know what they will be going to get before they click.


4) LongURL

LongURL is a free service which decodes URLs shortened by tinyurl.com, is.gd, ping.fm, ur1.ca, bit.ly, snipurl.com, tweetburner.com, metamark.net, url.ie, x.se, 6url.com, yep.it, piurl.com, and more. You can install it as either a Firefox extension or Greasemonkey script


5) TinyURL Decoder

This Greasemonkey script will actually decode just about any URL shortening service. It will turn your Twitter stream into full original URLs and you can easily identify the content of the destined URL. To install TinyURL Decoder script make sure you use firefox browser. If you are already using firefox browser then Install Greasemonkey script and then finally TinyURL Decoder userscript.


6) Psychic TinyURL

It shows the URL you are going to in the title attribute of the link. If the link already has a title, the script appends the URL at the end inside parentheses. Examples: “Some title text (URL)”, “URL”. Install Psychic TinyURL from here.


7) LongURL Mobile Expander 1.0.1

LongURL Mobile Expander is yet another firefox extension that uses the LongURL.org web services to let you identify where shortened links *really* go.


8) Long URL Please 0.3.1

This firefox addon replaces short urls with the originals so you can see where links actually link to. It works with almost all the url shortening services. It uses the API provided by longurlplease to determine where short url’s actually link to. Find the firefox extension here.


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