Long URLs, while perfectly fine, can have several drawbacks to them. They can be difficult to remember and might not be search engine-friendly. This can be a disadvantage, especially if you’re running a business or a digital marketing campaign.
Shortened URLs aren’t just for convenience. Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, or someone who’s into digital marketing, you’ll find that URL shortening services bring with them a number of practical benefits.
What Makes a Great URL Shortener and Why Use It?
One of the features of a great URL shortener is its ease of use. It should be able to generate shorter and easier-to-share links with just a few clicks. Moreover, the best URL shortener service can help you grow your business.
It should aid you in email marketing, such as when you’re sending out newsletters. Aside from getting the best email marketing service, you’ll need URL shorteners with features that let you track clicks and build branded links that won’t distract your visitors.
Shortened URLs can also help you if you’re planning to launch a webinar. Paired with the best webinar platform, you can use a URL shortening service to create links that you can share through your preferred online channels to track where the traffic is coming from.
If you’re an influencer or a digital marketing specialist, you need not only the best affiliate programs but also URL shorteners that suit your needs and goals. Some URL shortening services let you double-check click tracking and easily replace affiliate links in case a link from an advertiser has changed. Instead of going through several pages to replace links, you can simply update the new link using the URL shortener service.
A great URL shortener should also give you the freedom to customize the shortened URLs you’ve generated.
The Best URL Shorteners
We’ve curated a list of some of the best services that shorten URL links. Some services might require you to sign up for a paid subscription to unlock all of their features. If you’re worried about costs, you can always opt to use a free URL shortener, which we’ve also included in this list.
Bitly is a URL shortener that’s a great option for both occasional users and business owners. To access its customization services, you need to create an account.
An invaluable tool for marketers and customer support specialists, Bitly is a feature-rich option that doubles as a link management platform. Moreover, it enables you to create branded links and gain access to campaign management and analytics features, so you can track and optimize all your digital initiatives.
It currently offers four plans: Free, Basic ($35 per month when billed monthly), Premium ($300 per month), and Enterprise (price available on request).
- Straightforward interface
- Supports integrations
- Pricey plans
- Very limited features included in the free plan
BL.INK is a great tool for enterprise link management. It’s a URL shortener that lets you enjoy improved engagement and secured data while providing you with multiple ways to manage, monitor, and measure your brand’s performance.
It’s a service that lets small business owners enjoy a number of features, such as link management, analytics, native integrations, data privacy, and more. BL.INK offers four paid plans, with each plan having a 21-day free trial. Choose from Expert+ ($48 per month), SMB ($99 per month), Team ($299 per month), and Business ($599 per month). If you want a customized plan, BL.INK also has an Enterprise option available.
- Comprehensive dashboard
- Well-organized analytics page
- Limited functionality even with the most affordable paid plan
Rebrandly helps you build your business by letting you use unique links to grow your brand. An ideal tool for boosting your brand, it enhances your brand visibility by adding your brand name on every link that you share.
It makes collaboration among different teams a breeze and lets you incorporate branded links into existing processes and workflows. Other features include tracking your social media and SEO performance through detailed click stats, optimizing your growth by enabling you to target your audience, and scaling that provides you with an infrastructure that grows along with your business.
Rebrandly currently has three paid plans, starting at $24 per month when billed annually.
- Offers custom domain names even with a free account
- Easy to use
- Needs more filtering features
- Limited browser extensions
T2M makes shortening URLs easier. It’s an all-in-one platform that also lets you craft branded URLs and track their performance.
It’s packed with advanced features, such as detailed analytics (timeline chart, advanced graphs, and filtering options), branding and APIs, campaign management, and even on-demand add-ons, so you’ll get a fully customized experience.
This URL shortening service is hosted on Amazon Web Services and currently offers four paid plans. Its most affordable offer, the Basic plan, entails a one-time payment of $5.
- Lets you check location-specific data
- Conforms with the GDPR privacy law
- No ads
- No 404 redirect for the Basic plan
With TinyURL, you can shorten links even without signing up for an account. Its URL shortener feature can immediately be found on the left side of the screen. When you opt to sign up for a free account, it gives you access to practical features, such as full link history and customized shortened URLs.
Similar to other URL shorteners on our list, TinyURL has features that allow for link management, the creation of branded and customized links, and access to campaign monitoring data and analytics. It offers two paid plans, with the Pro plan starting at $9.99 per month when billed annually.
- Affordable monthly plans
- Unlimited shortened URLs even with a free account
- Links don’t expire
- Free version is ad-supported
Short.io is a white label URL shortener that also lets you create and share personalized, fully branded links. It’s designed to simplify business workflow and lets you track clicks in real-time.
It also offers link cloaking capability that lets you hide the original URL. Moreover, Short.io has a QR code generation feature that enables you to promote your URLs even in an offline setting.
- Mobile links
- Customizable link expiration
- Free account is limited to only one user
Ow.ly has integrated with Hootsuite. Now, you can do everything, from shortening links to gauging social return on investment, using the Hootsuite dashboard.
To access Ow.ly’s services, you need to have a Hootsuite account. Before, Ow.ly was readily available to everyone. It has since been integrated into the Hootsuite dashboard to provide added security for its users.
- Doubles as a social media management platform
- Feature-rich free plan
- User-friendly interface
- Requires a Hootsuite account for access
One of the more unique URL shorteners, Sniply lets you add a call-to-action to every shortened link. This creates more engaging links and drives traffic and conversions to your site.
It’s a powerful tool for anyone who wants to maintain customer engagement while being able to monitor results and analytics. It’s an ideal option for affiliate marketers, large brands, and small businesses.
- Customizable CTAs
- Multiple CTA types (buttons, forms, text, and images)
- No free option
ClickMeter is a URL shortener that lets you get the most out of your shortened links. By using its services, you can conveniently monitor, compare, and optimize your links.
It also enables you to create tracking links, which can be used in your ads. You’ll be provided with real-time reports, so you’ll be able to better track your links’ performance in terms of views, clicks, and conversions. Additionally, you’ll be able to monitor any broken links, click fraud, and instances of latency.
- Web-based service
- No signup and cancellation fee
- Lacks free option
- Limited to one branded domain for the Medium plan
Cutt.ly is a 3-in-1 solution for shortening links. More than being a URL shortener, it’s also a link analytics platform and a link management platform. Even without an account, you’ll still be able to shorten links on the Cutt.ly website.
With Cutt.ly, you’ll gain access to detailed analytics, giving you a deeper insight into a link’s performance in terms of clicks, devices, systems, geolocations, and more. It also has a QR code generation capability that lets you execute your campaigns offline.
- Advanced link editing features
- Customizable link expiration date parameters
- Enables users to embed pixels to short links
- Low API limit for the free version
Condensing URLs is a good way to optimize your brand’s online performance. Many URL shortening services offer more than just generating shorter and more memorable links.
When utilized to their full potential, these services allow you to create more compelling digital campaigns that can make your brand more visible, which, in turn, can help your business grow.
Best URL Shortener —FAQs
What is the best free URL shortener?
This depends on your needs. Each URL shortening service has its own set of unique attributes. If you’re looking for an all-purpose URL shortener, then you can go with Bitly.
If you’re a small business owner, then you might prefer using BL.INK, which lets you manage, monitor, and measure link performance. Short.io is a great choice if you’re looking for a service that can generate QR codes for your offline campaigns. The best URL shortening service will ultimately depend on what you need.
How do I shorten a URL for free?
Condensing your URL for free is as easy as checking out the URL shortening services on our list. While some require you to sign up to use their services, they do offer free plans that are equipped with nifty basic features.
Which is better: Bitly or TinyURL?
Again, this depends on who you’re asking and what your needs are. If you’re looking for a general URL shortener, then Bitly fits the bill. However, if you’re looking for a URL shortening service that lets you customize your shortened URLs at a lower cost, then go with TinyURL.
How do you shorten URLs?
URL shortening can be done in a few simple steps:
- Copy the URL you want to condense.
- Select your preferred URL shortener from our list.
- Paste the URL into a specified field, and click the “Shorten” button. Note that the button name can vary depending on your selected URL shortener.
- Copy the shortened URL by clicking the “Copy” or “Copy to Clipboard” button.