TinyURL is perhaps the ubiquitous solution for shortenting a URL. Odds are that most active internet users are aware of one or more URL shortening services. Proof of this is the incredible stats at TinyURL and other services (74 million URLs and 2 billion hits per month, according to TinyURL website).
Though TinyURL has been tidy and useful, it is time to look for alternatives. As I mentioned in a tweet (follow me on Twitter ?), when everyone uses TinyURL, it won’t be tiny anymore, sooner or later. The obvious choice for TinyURL would be to use various subdomains (say 1.tinyurl.com etc.), which isn’t happening. Also, TinyURL is being used regularly by spammers, which means that Google may not take your website/profile kindly for leaving such URLs.
TinyURL, much like Twitter, is a classic example of people not moving to better services because “everyone uses it”. If you were to explore other URL shortening services, you would find that there are many services with features like shortened URL string of your choice (TinyURL assigns it randomly and not by choice), subdomains instead of subdirectories for redirection and search engine friendly 301 redirects.
So, without further ado, here are some of the best URL shortening services. Unlike other list post, this one is short (only 6 websites), and includes each one because of particular features or uses. Such special features have been presented in bold, and you should choose a website depending on features that you need. I also refrained from mentioning how many websites are present here, because I want to break away from the typical “list of resources post”. I hope that you like it. The header title of each service is linked to the website, so that you can click through.ADVERTISEMENT
SnipURL URL shortening
The most beautifully designed website among those listed here, SnipURL has a soothing logo and design, with the choice of logging in and a few other smaller options. There is a “Browse Snips” page which might cause privacy concerns for some, as it lists popular snips in reverse-chronological order. There is also an RSS feed for the browse snips page.
Bookmarklet is provided for easy shortening. Simply drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks, and click on it when you want to shorten the URL of the page that you are currently on. The URL created by SnipURL is similar to that of TinyURL.
Unlike most other services which use subfolders or subdomains for shortening, BrokenScript uses a query structure. I don’t know how it could be advantageous as compared to other methods, but perhaps there is a reason.
It also allows you to choose the alias that should be used to shorten the URL. For example, I picked the word incredulous in the example link I provided above.
Example link (that I created): brokenscript.com/?incredulous
NotLong is remarkable in that it allows you to choose the alias used to shorten the URL. For a change, subdomains are used for shortening, rather than the usual subfolder. There are also stats and editing feature for the created URLs. Bookmarklet is provided for easy shortening.
Example link (that I created): incredulous.notlong.com
MemURL is yet another URL shortening service. Unlike those mentioned before, this does not have features like selecting the alias or using subdomains. The notable feature is that it provides an option to public, or “private: only for me”. The option can be changed for 60 seconds after shortening the URL.
Example link: memurl.com/fosota
One of the more beautifully designed sites among this list (along with Snip URL), Ruby URL is visually pleasing to use, and provides bookmarklet for effortless bookmarking. API documentation is also coming in future, which could open up the service to developers.
Example link: rubyurl.com/3vH3
Is.gd is popular for being the default shortening service on Twhirl, a Twitter client. Is.gd gets a place in this post for one reason: shortest URLs. Currently, a shortened URL on Is.gd is just 16 characters long – perhaps the shortest of all. This can be a real benefit when you are restrained in terms of characters used: for example, in a Twitter message. TinyURL perhaps needs to learn a lesson or two from Is.gd
Example link: is.gd/uTW