URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) may be made substantially shorter and still direct to the required page. This is achieved by using a redirect which links to the web page that has a long URL.

If you glance at the address bar of your browser right now, you will see that the URL of this web-page is:

Here is the same URL that has been shortened using Bitly (a URL shortening service):

There are a number of reasons why a URL might be shortened in this manner:

  • The shorter URL is easier to type should this be required
  • It is often difficult to type long, complex URL’s
  • It simplifies complex links that are customised to carry extra information/data
  • It is possible to customise, or  “beautify”, links (for marketing purposes and so on)
  • A URL encoded in a barcode or QR code is often shortened in order to reduce the printed area of the code, or allow printing at lower density in order to improve scanning reliability.
  • URL shortening services also often offer additional services such as tracking details of clicks for the URL.

Investigate the following two links for further practical experience of this concept:


By MisterFoxOnline

CAT Educator

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