URL shorteners to try besides the Google link shortener

URL shorteners to try besides the Google link shortener


When Google announced that its custom URL shortener would be discontinued in April 2019, plenty of people were unhappy with the decision. The product had become well-established by that point and seemed to be thriving.

Google's tool was not only useful for creating simple URLs for sharing on social media or inserting into emails, but also displayed some statistics about link 




A lot of apps and websites need a link. They always have, ever since the first page was linked to another one back in 1994. It's easier to share these links than it is to copy and paste them all day long. There are even services that allow you to use custom short URLs so you can advertise your Twitter account on the big screen or share a YouTube video without being forced to post the link to your profile.

One of the biggest players in this game is Google, whose goo.gl shortened URLs are very popular. At least until they went offline back in April 2019 .

Luckily for you, there are alternatives out there that can keep up with them when it comes to shortening links. Of course, they have their own pros and cons, but as long as you don't mind a little extra work, there's a solution that will suit your needs just fine.

Google goo.gl is the best-known URL shortener on the internet. It was launched all the way back in 2009 and became incredibly popular over the years. It was a reliable and useful service that shortened links quickly and easily while offering a lot of flexibility in terms of custom URLs , which could be used to reach other websites using your own shortlinks .

In the end, though, Google decided to pull the plug on goo.gl , making all existing links reachable until April 2019 , but no new ones could be created. That wasn't a big surprise to many, as the company is constantly developing and killing off services they don't think will bring in enough money.

But there are alternatives out there, if you're willing to put in a bit of effort. First of all, goo.gl was open source from the start, which means that it's free for anyone to run their own service on their own servers . In fact, two developers named Cris Dias and Raphael Rigo did just that – they took Google's code and published it online under an MIT license , allowing everyone with some tech knowledge to set up their own URL shortener .

Their project can be found at Gitlab , where you can also find many other similar projects that aim to replace Google goo.gl . The most popular ones do almost exactly what goo.gl used to, only without the ability to create custom URLs, so if this was one of your favorite features, it might be hard to switch. Still, they are very good at their job and you shouldn't have trouble finding an alternative for anything else .

Snipurl provides a decent alternative to Google goo.gl , even though it didn't actually use the same service under the hood. It allows users to shorten links using custom shortlink names (like Twitter usernames or blog article titles) and change their expiration date whenever they need them . Snipurl is free until you hit 25,000 links per month, after that you'll have to pay $39/month for the service.

The link-shortening service adf.ly is probably not what you're looking for, but it should be mentioned nonetheless. Its main focus isn't actually on shortened links, but rather on adverts , which are displayed at the end of its short URLs . They make money by sharing part of their ads revenue with people who allow them to use their free services (such as adf.ly shortlinks or pro accounts). Of course, you could also use this kind of URL shortener without displaying any ads if you don't mind spending a bit of cash upfront – one dollar will get you 500,000 shortened links.

Linkshrink is a more than decent alternative to Google goo.gl , and it's also open source, so you can even add custom features if you're willing to put in some time and effort . It has an option that allows you to create custom URLs, which means it'll work just fine for things like YouTube videos or Twitter usernames . You can shorten links for free or upgrade to a paid account (starting at $4.08/month) for additional features such as ad removal and link customization .

Another project built on top of the goo.gl code is called Ow.ly , but this one doesn't aim to replace any of its functionalities – instead, it uses them as a base while adding its own features on top of them, making it the perfect replacement for Twitter's t.co URL shortener , which should be retired any day now . It offers custom shortened links that expire after seven days or after being loaded 750 times, just like goo.gl used to . You can also use your Ow.ly links as regular HTTP URLs by simply adding http:// before them .

If you tried using Google's link-shortening service but ended up disappointed because it didn't allow you to use custom shortlinks, Linkr could be a decent alternative. This is actually an extension for Chrome and Firefox, one that adds shortcut buttons to webpages so you can easily generate shortened URLs for everything you might need one for . However, unlike other similar projects, it doesn't let you create custom URLs – instead, it uses a combination of letters and numbers to make its links universal .

After the shutdown of Google's goo.gl link shortener , many users were left without a way to shorten their links before sharing them on social media or forums. Some tried using alternatives such as bit.ly , but they soon realized that these don't offer nearly as many features as Google's service. If you're looking for something that works just like goo.gl did and provides all the same features (custom URLs, expiration date customization, etc.), TinyURL is probably your best bet . It works just fine and there are no ads here either – what more can we ask for?

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