While doing my own investigation into the suspicious messages that spread via Facebook chat, I stumbled upon a couple of tools that reveal the real URL encoded within the shortened links so common nowadays.
Curious for more, I did some more Googling and have come up with this list of websites or online services that do just that, reveal the long URL behind those fancy and shortened URLs.
Real-url.org doesn’t only reveal what’s behind shortened links, it also monitors such links on Twitter and reports on what’s trending. It also offers an API for developers to tap in to this service.
As the name says, RevealURL.com offers a simple and straightforward interface to let you reveal the long url behind the shortened one. An API is coming soon.
Untiny.com is also another service that offers a simple UI in expanding shortened links. However, they also offer a set of Add-ons that works on Macs, Linux, a host of popular instant messaging platforms like GTalk, Windows Live Messenger and most browsers like IE, Firefox, Chrome and Opera.
just follow their Quick use guide and you’d be able to reveal the long links without the need to visit untiny.com every time you need to expand a shortened link.
LongURL.org is also another service that decodes shortened links. It has a very simple interface and the major bonus it has going for it is its support for a wide range of URL shortening services it can work with. 333 URL shortening services in fact!
On top of that, it offers a Firefox extension or a Greasemonkey script to install on your browser for convenience.
URL sniffer takes a different approach to revealing long urls behind shortened ones. Instead of visiting their site and providing the shortened link, it offers a bookmarklet that once added to your bookmarks bar, all you have to do is click on it whenever you see shortened links on the page you are browsing and presto! The real links would be revealed right on the page itself.
It works well with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari, while its functionality is limited in Internet Explorer.
Shortened URLs are fancy and useful for sharing neat stuff we find on the web, but evildoers are now taking advantage of this to spam, scam and infect our PCs with malware.
It’s now wiser to check out those shortened URLs before actually clicking on them, even if it were shared by your friends or contacts.
This is not a definitive nor exhaustive list of online tools for revealing the long URLs hidden behind shortened links. If you have more tools that weren’t mentioned please share them in the comments below.