A URL shortener is a tool which can create links that are shorter than the original ones. It may be used to make sure you do not exceed the maximum number of characters allowed by certain applications or forums.
There are various types of URL shorteners: some increase privacy and security, while others allow advanced tracking and analyzing options. Some shorten links, but also delete them; others provide permanent links that need to be renewed after a few months. They might also offer password-protected links – the link owner does not have to share his private details every time he wants to send someone a shortened link to a certain website.
When it comes to their functions, there are two main types of URL shorteners: those which take long URLs, make them shorter, and turn them into regular URLs with an extension, such as ".ly" or ".su"; and those that offer a different service.
URL shorteners do not necessarily shorten the link for you; instead of typing out long links, you can just copy it and paste it into your new shortened link. This reduces the risk of errors when copying the URL by hand. A good example of this type is Google’s "goo.gl".
Many URL shorteners will track how many times your short link has been clicked on, so you can see how successful it was at getting people to visit your website. Some may also allow you to directly place some code on your site which will automatically redirect visitors to your link.
You can use URL shorteners to make sure that your long link will not exceed the maximum number of characters which are allowed in some applications or forums (such as Twitter). The shortener may be used, for instance, to send someone a shortened version of your email address or website address.
The first generation of web-based tools were mainly text-based; today’s URL shorteners are far more advanced and include various settings and options. They may offer password protection, data encryption (for greater security), caching for faster page loading time, custom domain support (the ability to have a custom URL ending in your own domain name rather than the current service’s) and automatic expiration date removal(so that your link doesn't expire after a certain period of time).
The most important thing to remember about using a URL shortener is that whoever sees the shortened link will not be able to tell where it goes. If you are using, for example, "goo.gl", you can always check its settings and make sure it does not hide who created the link.
URL shorteners might also be used as part of an advertising campaign to track how many times people have clicked on links or visited websites by clicking on the links. Different types of URL tracking may include click-through rate monitoring, conversion tracking, geographic location tracking and page tagging. When making an ad campaign using this type of tool, all you need to do is place the URL shortener link in the ad campaign, which will load with each click.
URL shorteners might also be used to make sure that your long link will not exceed the maximum number of characters allowed in some applications or forums. The shortener may be used, for instance, to send someone a shortened version of your email address or website address.
Here are links to other websites that you can use Google to search for more information about URL shorteners:
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