10 Best URL shorteners

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eduardo SEO Specialist and content production, I have worked in several renowned companies in Brazil and abroad. I write about money, technology and more!
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A few years ago, everyone used to resort to Google URL shortener while preparing a marketing campaign, a social media post, or simply wanting to shorten a link. However, the service shut down, leaving us with many options available. The problem is that whenever we have so many possibilities to choose from, it is difficult to know which is the best to follow. Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You are not alone.

There is no perfect solution. The best link shortener depends on your needs — simple to use, with marketing and analytics features, and free or paid options. Some even allow you to add a call to action to your links. In the middle of all this, there is one thing we can do to lend a hand. We prepared this article with a selection of the 10 best URL shorteners around. So let the research to us and focus on picking the one that best suits your sharing needs. Let’s go!

Why do people use URL shorteners?

A URL shortener is an online tool that turns any long link into a short URL. It is simply a shortened version that guides all users to the same spot. Of course, some services provide extra touches, such as the possibility of tracking clicks for analytic purposes. So why do people use URL shorteners? Many reasons can be behind this decision. Take a look at a few of them:

  • More aesthetic URLs to share content;
  • Less confusing looking (or spam-looking) that comes with a long, complex, and distracting link — a short URL can be nice, tidy, and easy to click;
  • Easy to type, read, and memorize;
  • Short for social media posts (saving a few more characters for your content);
  • Possibility to create custom branded URLs;
  • Opportunity to track clicks, assess engagement and drive improvements to your marketing campaigns.

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How can I shorten a URL for free?

Since a URL shortener is a service, you can find both paid and free options. We considered this while preparing the list with the best URL shorteners. Polr, TinyURL, and Yourls are the free choices available in our selection. Let’s move to the next topic to learn more about them and see how they fit your needs.

What are the best URL shorteners?

Some social platforms (e.g. Twitter, Buffer, Hootsuite) have their shortener. However, if you are looking for custom options with extra features, it might be worth looking at the following list. We have checked the most common URL shorteners available, and we prepared a selection based on free and paid basic and more robust options. Check them out!

1. Bitly

If you searched online for a link shortener, you probably bumped into Bitly. You can use it for free to shorten links with the Bit.ly domain, plus a few custom options, clickable links for social media bio, and QR codes. You can create a free account or use it without one for basic or occasional necessities (no more than 50 links per month).

However, you need a paid plan to add your custom domain name, gain access to an advanced performance dashboard, and track marketing campaigns. From starter to enterprise, there are options for all budgets. Are Bitly safe? According to the service website, all shortened links are encrypted with HTTPS as an extra layer of protection. 

2. BL.INK

While Bitly is a good option for occasional users and large companies, BL.INK serves as a midterm for small business owners and teams. There are five paid plans with a 21-day free trial to explore the features available. In the end, you may upgrade or remain free with limited resources. Any paid plan allows you to track the traffic coming from your shortened links and see trends based on engagement. 

3. Ow.ly

As a feature from Hootsuite — a popular online social media management tool — Ow.ly lets you shorten your links while preparing a post. So if you have an account there, you might give it a try before looking for other options. It is available for free and premium plans and offers features like performance metrics, retargeting, rank monitoring, and trackable short links. New users have a 30-day free trial. After this period, they can remain free or upgrade.

4. Polr

Here is the first 100% free URL shortener service with a modern interface. Polr is an open-source project where you can host your URL shortener, brand your links, and take control of your data. You can check the tool on a demo page before getting it live. However, it is not an option for everyone since you need some technical knowledge (e.g. PHP and MySQL) to deal with it.

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5. Rebrandly

With an orientated appeal, Rebrandly carries the purpose of a management platform to brand, track, and share customized and short links across the web. According to the service website, it offers more than 100 integrations with other platforms. You can choose from a limited free plan or paid options — for individual or team collaboration. If you are starting, a free account can be enough while your business grows.

6. Short.io

Each tool has its appeal. When it comes to Short.io, it enables targeting visitors from different locations — by country or region. It is a handy feature for segmentation when using marketing campaigns. However, this option is not available for free users. You gain access to detailed statistics, multiple custom domains, campaign tracking, and more through paid plans. It best fits content producers, affiliate marketers, agencies, startups, and developers. 

7. Sniply

As a link shortener, Sniply stands out for the possibility of adding a call to action to the customizable URLs you share. It can be a big feature — to grab the attention of leads (potential customers) and create opportunities for conversions — if you share content through a newsletter or any social media account. Affiliate marketers, e-commerce, and agencies are the best matches for this tool. You can get a 14-day free trial and then upgrade or stay free.

8. TinyURL

Similar to Bitly, TinyURL offers a free account without registering, but you can sign up for free to access some resources. You can also find two paid plans for unlimited tracked links and a massive volume of shortened URLs. If you are looking for a solution to customize URLs as an anonymous user, here is your chance. However, it means no analytics or any other advanced feature. 

9. T2M

With an eye for branded links management, T2M turns lengthy links into short URLs and tracks every click. The service also generates a QR code to tag along with the new link. Unlike the other options, there is no free plan (at least not like the others). Why? Because you can activate it through the basic plan by paying a 5 USD one-time fee. You can also choose one from the paid plans available based on the features you need.

10. Yourls

Your URL shortener, aka Yourls, is another 100% free open-source and self-hosted service. It works similarly to Polr and might require a little knowledge of PHP. However, the tool describes itself as a friendly installer. You can install it and run Yourls on your server to get started. Among the features, you can create private and public links, follow statistics and get additional resources via plugins.

A URL shortener service is a must for any online business to create a more user-friendly link to share content. Besides, depending on the tool or plan you choose, it is possible to track clicks, add a CTA, customize the URL, and evaluate performance metrics. All this can help you boost your marketing strategy to grow your company.
You can also consider a multi-currency account if you deal with money from other countries while doing business. Open your free account at Husky to simplify the process.

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eduardo SEO Specialist and content production, I have worked in several renowned companies in Brazil and abroad. I write about money, technology and more!

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