URL shorteners have had a bad rap for years now. The primary reason is that scammers tend to use it to hide the original destination links. Besides the short links, some of the URL shorteners are unsafe because they either inject malicious scripts or take the application’s security lightly.
Selecting a safe URL shortener
If you are looking to shorten your long links, I recommend using a service that has a good reputation online. You can go to app review sites like G2 and Capterra and select the ones which are trustworthy and have a high review score. Googling “free URL shortener” will display hundreds of websites that do the job but, most either shut down after a few years thereby breaking your link – or have a poor user experience.
We at Blanq, take application security and reliability very seriously. Blanq is HTTPS secure and your data in the database is encrypted. If you are a brand or an influencer, I recommend using a custom domain so that your short branded links are memorable and trustworthy.
You can create a free account and try it out.
Clicking on short links
You might have received short links in SMS or in email. People often share such generic short links on social media as well. So, should you click them on not? Well, it depends. If you trust the sender, it is generally safe to click on them otherwise, it is better to avoid it.
At Blanq, we have noticed that scammers often create short links for phishing sites and share them in email. A phishing website is a domain similar in name and appearance to an official website. Even the best of us can get fooled by such legitimately looking phishing sites.
Even on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, look out for such generic short links. Don’t click unless you really need to.
How to safeguard yourself
There are several redirect checkers like Wheregoes that display the destination link when you enter the short link in the input box. This is probably the best way to protect yourself from malicious short links.
That said if you plan to shorten a link, think if you really need to. Most sites truncate ling links so there is no need to shorten them manually.