Shortening URLs is a great way to handle long URLs which sometimes break in email, are harder to verbalize in a conversation, and they are difficult, or in some cases near impossible to remember. While shortening a URL is useful, short URL services like TinyURL have long been used for cloaking links to spam and malware that could harm your system. Here are 4 easy ways to decode that short URL and make sense of it.
1. How to automatically redirect a TinyURL to a preview page
TinyURL perhaps the most famous of all URL shorters, has an inbuilt feature you can turn on which puts a cookie on your browser telling it to automatically redirect you to a preview page which reveals the true source of any TinyURL link you click on. Note that while this is useful, if you use multiple browsers, or for some reason remove your cookies, there’s still a chance you may accidentally click on something bad.
2. How to magically turn TinyURL links to original links on any webpage
Embiggen is a cool bookmarklet which you can drag and drop on your browser toolbar. Anytime you see a page with a TinyURL link, all you need to do is click the bookmarklet and it will transform the TinyURL link to the real link right there and then on the page.
3. How to check short URLs from TinyURL as well as other URL Shorteners
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! If you like it, it’s also available as a Firefox extension, and a Greasmonkey script.
4. How to get a visual check on a TinyURL
While the other services above simply provides you the source URL to a TinyURL, PrevURL takes it one step further by actually combining the functionality of LongURL, and adding a thumbnail of the source page as well. Not only do you get to see the link, you now know what the page looks like before you click on the link.