Have you ever tried to share a link to your latest blog post and realized it was long, and ugly, and exceeded the Twitter character count?
Me too. And I’ll tell you, nobody wants to click on a link like that even if it does fit the character count.
The truth is, shorter URLs are always better. They’re nicer to look at, provide a better user experience for customers and social media followers, and are super simple to get. You just have to know how.
That’s why today we’re going to share with you the top URL shorteners around, so you can pick the one that best suits your link sharing needs.
But first let’s take a look at the benefits of using a URL shortener in the first place.
Benefits of URL shorteners
There are many reasons why everyone should use a URL shortener when sharing a link back to their website:
- A good URL shortener will turn your excessively long and confusing looking URL (full of jumbled letters and numbers) into a nice and tidy link that’s easy to click on.
- You can create custom branded URLs with the right link shortener.
- Shorter URLs are easier to read, type, and memorize.
- Branded short links receive up to 39% more clicks than generic links.
- Users typically trust branded URLs over the long and possibly spam-filled URLs.
- You can track engagement with your links using a URL shortener and make improvements to your marketing campaigns.
As you can see, there’s more to shortening a long link using a URL shortener.
So, let’s take a look at the top 9 best URL shorteners and what they can do for you.
The best URL shorteners to consider for your next marketing campaign
While Shorby is best known as an Instagram Bio Link tool, it’s one of the best URL shorteners on the market.
Using its URL shortener, you can convert long links into short links within a few clicks. You can embed tracking pixels (e.g. create custom Facebook Audiences) and view analytics for all of your links.
You can also create messenger short links. These allow you to connect your short link with a variety of different messenger services.
This includes Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, Phone, and more. Yes, that’s right – you can create click-to-call links with Shorby!
And there’s more – you can also create mobile optimized landing pages for use on your social profiles in minutes. With these pages, you can make it easy for your social media followers to contact you and find your most important content.
While they’re most effective on Instagram, they can be used on any other platform.
Price: Try Shorby for free to get a feel for the platform. Paid plans start at $9/month.
Bitly is one of the most popular URL shorteners around. And one of the reasons for this is because it doesn’t require an account to use. Plus, you can create as many short links as you want.
With Bitly, you can monitor link clicks, click locations, and even top referrers. This is great for fine-tuning your campaign efforts and sharing your content where it’s most likely to be seen and interacted with. And if you want to streamline your marketing efforts further, you can integrate Bitly with Zapier and automate other tools that support Zapier.
Each link you create with Bitly is encrypted with HTTPS to safeguard against third-party tampering. In other words, your target audience will never have to worry that your short links have been hijacked and will lead them elsewhere.
And if you want to, you can create QR codes, utilize mobile deep links to drive the right people to the right content at the right time, and replace the ‘bit.ly’ portion with your very own brand.
Price: Free to use without an account. To make creating and managing links easier, create a free account. If you need a custom domain and more branded links, the premium plans start at $29/month.
TinyURL is one of the most outdated URL shorteners on this list, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack the punch some website owners need.
To start, this online tool is super simple to use. Just enter the URL you want to shorten and voila, it’s now tiny for you. And to make things even easier (though I’m not sure that’s even possible!), you can add TinyURL to any browser for easy access and faster link shortening.
Your shortened links never expire, so you never have to worry about broken links in the future. In other words, your content will be available to users forever. And if you’re worried about branding, don’t be. There’s a self-branding feature that lets you change the end portion of your shortened URLs before your post them anywhere.
Price: FREE for all!
Rebrandly is the type of URL shortener that’s perfect for customizing and branding URLs to establish a recognizable business in the digital sea of competition.
It starts by helping you set up your site’s domain name so you can use it with every shortened link you create. But more than that, it comes with features such as:
- Link Management – Create fast redirects, QR codes, link expirations, and custom URL slugs for the ultimate user experience. Plus, you can bulk create links to save time.
- Traffic Routing – Enjoy link retargeting, links with emojis, 301 SEO redirects, and mobile deep linking so the right people access your links.
- Analytics – Utilize the UTM builder, enjoy GDPR privacy, create custom reports for improving campaigns, and even add your business logo to reports to show clients the power you have to help them build their business and expand their audience reach.
- Domain Name Management – Add multiple domain names, encrypt links with HTTPS, and define a main domain redirect.
- Collaboration – Include your team in the link shortening fun, enable two-factor authentication, track activity logs, and define user access.
Price: There’s a limited free plan and premium plans start at $29/month if you want access to advanced features such as bulk link creation, link retargeting, and team collaboration.
BL.INK is a full-featured URL shortener tool that comes with a beginner-friendly dashboard for tracking link activity.
For example, you can check traffic based on geographic location, device type, language, and even referrer to better pinpoint where your target audience is and how they’re accessing your content. Plus, you can find out the time of day your clicks see the most engagement.
With BL.INK you can also create custom short links for better branding and even test the beta version of Smart Link to create highly targeted word-based URLs that will drive traffic to your site and encourage people to convert. And to make sure the right team members access your link shortener tool, easily enable user permissions.
Price: BL.INK offers tiered plans, so you only pay for what you use. The free plan includes 1000 links and 1000 clicks per link. It also comes with one custom domain, Zapier integration, and branded links. If you want features like multiple users, more links and clicks, priority support, and tracking like device/language/location, premium plans start at $12/month.
T2M is another full-service link shortener that comes with a packed dashboard full of statistics and link activity for you to analyze. Plus, you can create custom branded links that never expire, bulk create links to save time and effort, and share links to social media with one single click.
Other great features of T2M include:
- Target geographic locations with your links
- Password protect URLs
- Unlimited link creation and tracking stats
- No advertisements or spam allowed
- Easy to use dashboard with search functionality for easy link management
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate
- 404 redirects
- Built-in GDPR privacy
- CVS import and export tool
Price: The basic plan requires a $5 startup fee and then will be free forever with monthly link creation and tracking limits. Premium plans start at $9.99/month for access to advanced features.
Tiny.cc is a very basic, though highly effective URL shortener that lets you create custom URL endings for branding purposes.
You don’t need an account to access the link tracking stats, which include metrics based on returning clicks, location or origin, browsers used, unique visitors, and much more. You can easily edit or delete any URL you want, view your entire link history, and use the manage, filter, tag, and search functions to find the URLs you need.
In addition, with Tiny.cc, you can:
- Bookmark the tool for easier access
- Create links for SMS messages, email campaigns, social media, advertisements, and more
- Use links in QR codes and track statistics
- Access any custom URL slug you want
Price: The free plan comes with 500 short URLs, the ability to edit links, and tags for organizing links. Premium plans start at $5/month and come with features like a custom domain, multiple users, more links and clicks, and geolocation reporting.
Polr is an open-source project for those that want to create and host their own URL shortener. Keep in mind, however, this will most likely only work for those that have technical knowledge about things like PHP, Lumen, and MySQL.
This link shortening tool comes with a slick and modern interface, limited incoming traffic tools for analyzing link activity, and custom domain name branding for establishing your business amongst your target audience.
Something that many URL shorteners don’t provide is a neat demo page, so you can check out the tool before committing to it. And if you want to make management of your short links a cinch, all you have to do is create an account.
Yourls, which stands for ‘your own URL shortener,’ is another open-source and self-hosted link shortener, much like Polr. That said, to use this tool, you’ll need to install and run it on your own server, making it much different than the other URL shorteners on this list.
Some of Yourls’ best features include:
- Create private and public links
- Statistics such as click reports, referrers, and geolocation
- Sequential or custom created links
- Sample files for creating your own public interface
- Additional features accessed via plugins
- Bookmarklets for shortening and sharing with ease
Though you install and run this URL shortener yourself, it was built to be lightweight and non-bloated so it’s never a strain on your server’s resources.
Which of the URL shorteners is best for your link sharing needs?
It’s important to remember that not all URL shorteners are the same. So, to help you make an informed decision, we’ve recapped each shortener for you:
- Shorby – Best all-round link shortener for bloggers and businesses. Includes analytics, retargeting, click to message/call, and Instagram/social media splash pages.
- Bitly – Best for enterprise level businesses that need to track links.
- TinyURL – Best for casual users in need of a quick and easy link shortener solution.
- Rebrandly – Best for small businesses looking to establish their brand.
- BL.INK – Best for small businesses that want to share content in the form of short URLs.
- T2M – Best for those that want to create short links and QR codes at the same time.
- Tinycc – Best for those on a tight budget that need to track basic click metrics.
- Polr – Best for those that want to create and host their own URL shortener.
- Yourls – Best for those that want to self-host their links and customize extensively.
And there you have it! The top URL shorteners available right now. And the best part is, no matter what your link shortening needs are, there’s a tool to satisfy it.
Whether you’re looking for a feature packed tool, a free URL shortener or an alternative to the Google URL shortener that’s no-longer available – you’ll find something here to fit your needs.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.