Are Shortened URLs Safe?

Shortening a URL allows you to condense a long, obnoxious looking web address down to just a few characters and also allows tracking of visitors to that URL depending on which URL shortening service you use. But on the user side of things, do you really know what’s behind a shortened URL? With a normal link, you’re able to see where your browser will be directed by hovering over the link and viewing the information bar at the bottom of the window, regardless of what the hyperlink text is. While you don’t have any guarantee that you’ll end up at your intended destination and that your destination is malware free, you’re taking even more of a risk every time you click a shortened URL. Like most things in this world, shortened URLs are a trade off between convenience and security. For those links you find extra suspicious, try “unshortening” them with before making that click. The site claims to be able to “unshorten” URLS shortened with the,,, services and others. Will you use this before following every shortened link you want to click? I doubt it. But it can be handy for those links that you don’t quite fully trust. All it takes is one bad link and a browser exploit to compromise your security. Here’s to safe surfing!