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.
The best URL shorteners compared
If you need a URL shortener that puts a focus on your branding first then check out Short.io. With Short.io you can create, personalize and shorten links using your own domain.
Creating and tracking branded URLs has never been easier, and Short.io has a great library of tutorials to walk you through each part of the platform.
Analyzing and tracking your links is an important feature which Short.io does incredibly well. Their clickstream feature works in realtime tracking data from each click, which includes: country, date, time, social network, browser and more. By clicking on the ‘statistics’ tab you can also view your data with easy to digest graphs, tables and charts.
Small to large businesses are not forgotten, with their team feature you can add Short.io users as team members within your plan (Team/Enterprise plan only). You can assign your team members a role such as owner, admin, user and read-only. Depending on the role you assign, each team member will be allowed to see and do a specific selection of tasks.
One particularly useful feature is the ability to route traffic to different pages on your site based on their geographical location. This is how Panasonic are using Short.io.
Price: Free plan with limited features. Paid plans from $20/month, 17% annual discount is available.
JotURL is much more than a URL shortening tool, it’s a cost effective, featured packed marketing tool for businesses who want to optimize their marketing campaign links to drive leads and increase revenue.
JotURL boasts over 100 features which aims to help you optimize every interaction with your audience by monitoring and tracking your links to make sure they’re performing at their best.
By using branded links you’re providing a consistent and trustworthy experience for your audience. With their Social Opt-in CTA feature you can enhance these branded links with a branded call-to-action message which you can then share on social media.
Every link has 24/7 monitoring to ensure they’re safe and available, so you never have to worry about a broken link. In addition, they also have 24/7 click-fraud monitoring to filter out bot clicks so you can blacklist these sources or IP addresses.
View all your analytics in one simple dashboard. Sort and filter through your data via keywords, channels, sources etc to help you understand how your links are performing.
And, you can use their InstaURL feature to create mobile optimized social media landing pages. These work great, especially on Instagram.
Price: Plans start from €9/month and there’s a discount available for yearly plans.
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 $48/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.
Why shorten URL’s?
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.
- 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.
Choosing the best URL shortener for you
It’s important to remember that not all URL shorteners are the same.
If you just want a straight up free URL shortener, Short.io is your best option. Their free offering is great but its also ideal for enterprise customers.
For casual users who need a quick and easy link shortener solution, consider TinyURL.
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.