There are many URL Shortening services on the web like tinyURL.com, bit.ly etc and all of them are for converting the lengthy URL’s into the shorter ones. Shortened URLs not just make the sharing of links easy in fact they come in very handy when it comes to sharing links on sites which are message length limited like Twitter.
The only problem with shortened URLs is that before visiting the link you can’t predict at all what the shortened link is all about because shortened URL simply looks like this: http://bit.ly/dgAayN.
These links may contain viruses, malwares or they may even lead you to spam or phishing sites. So its always better to examine or preview such kind of links if they are not from genuine source.
How to Preview/Examine Short URL’s to avoid Phishing, Malwares and viruses:
There are many online services that allows you to preview a shortened link. Among all of them the one we liked the most is longURL.org as it provides provides the screenshot of the webpage too along with the Webpage title, Meta description and Meta keyword information of the webpage. Depending on how frequently you encounter the shortened links there are two methods to choose from:
If you rarely find shortened URLs and don’t want to install any script or add-on to preview them then this method is for you. To preview any shortened URL, go to longURL.org , enter the shortened URL in the given space and then hit the expand button.
It will show you the expanded URL (the actual URL), the thumbnail of the webpage that you’re about to visit, Meta description, meta keywords information and the title of the webpage.
This method will suit you if you are a heavy internet user (especially for bloggers) and you come across the shortened links quite frequently. In this case we recommend you to install a longURL tool as either a Firefox extension or Greasemonkey script. Doing this will allow you to preview or examine a short URL without visiting the longURL website.
Once you’re done with the installation you can examine or preview any shortened link by simply hovering the mouse over it.
You can see in the screenshot above that by simply hovering the mouse on the shortened link the title of the webpage and its actual URL can be previewed.