Showing posts with label URL shorteners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label URL shorteners. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

How to See What's Hidden Behind a TinyURL

Last week I wrote a blog post about how to see what's hidden behind a Bitly shortened URL without actually clicking on the link. The trick is to add "+" to the end of the Bitly URL to see what's behind it without clicking on it. A few people emailed me to ask if the that worked with other URL shortening services. The answer is it works with TinyURLs

I've tried the "+" trick with a bunch of other URL shortening tools and TinyURL is the only one besides Bitly that I've found it to work with. 

What's the trick?
The trick is to add a "+" to the end of any TinyURL address in order to land on a safe TinyURL page that reveals what the original link was that got shortened. You can then decide if you want to click through to the destination or not.

If you want to try this with a TinyURL, tinyurl.com/emkns9a8 will lead you to the page for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp, but adding a “+” at the end of that TinyURL will take you to the page where you can see the original link without clicking on it.

Here's a video overview of how to see what's behind a TinyURL without actually clicking on the link.


Applications for Education
As I wrote last week, building good digital citizenship and cyber safety skills is something that all of us should be helping our students do. Showing them little tips like this one to avoid clicking on suspicious links is one of the ways that we can help our students build their digital citizenship and cyber safety skills.


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

What's Hidden Behind a Bitly Link?

Bitly is a handy URL shortener that I've used for many years. As a registered user I can create custom, shortened URLs that people can actually spell. I use these whenever I need to share a link to a Canva or Google Slides presentation because the default URLs provided by those services are always long and incoherent. 

Unfortunately, not all Bitly users are using them for good reasons. Some people use them to hide nefarious links. Fortunately, there is an easy way to quickly determine what's behind a Bitly URL without actually clicking on the link. The trick is to simply add a "+" to the end of any Bitly URL. When you add the "+" the URL will redirect to Bitly instead of to whatever the original URL was. That will then show you the Bitly page on which the shortened URL is hosted and will show you what the original link was. 

You can try this trick with a URL that I recently shortened. Bit.ly/THWTAPRIL will lead you directly to a copy of the slides that I used in my recent Intro to Teaching History With Technology webinar. Bit.ly/THWTAPRIL+ will lead you to the Bitly page where you can see my original presentation URL and see when I created the shortened URL. 

Watch this short video to see how you can use the "+" trick to find out what's hidden behind a Bitly link. 



Applications for Education
Building good digital citizenship and cyber safety skills is something that all of us should be helping our students do. Showing them little tips like this one to avoid clicking on suspicious links is one of the ways that we can help our students build their digital citizenship and cyber safety skills.


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Three Ways to Create Shortened URLs People Can Actually Spell

Whenever I have a webpage that I want a group of students or colleagues to go to at the same time, I use a URL shortener to turn long URLs into things that are easy to copy and spell. Sure, I could email the link in advance or post it on Google Classroom, but when I do that I've introduced an intermediate step that is full of distractions (colleagues start reading email, students start looking at grades).

Bitly has been my URL shortener of choice for many years because it lets me customize the shortened URL and track click-throughs. That said, lately I find that I also like Yellkey a lot. Finally, I can't write about URL shorteners without mentioning TinyURL which has been around forever, it seems. All three of these tools can be used to create custom shortened URLs. Demonstrations of how to use all three tools are included in the video below.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How to Force Copy of Drive File and Shorten URL for Easy Sharing

 Did you know there is a quick and easy way to force someone to make a copy of a Google Drive including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings? When you are editing one of these types of documents, you will notice the word "edit" appears at or near the end of the URL. If you delete the word "edit" (and any text following it) and replace it with the word "copy", then share the new URL with someone, it will force them to create their own copy.

The new hyperlink is still too long to type out so unless you have a place to post the link, you will need to use a URL shortener to create a link that you can share either verbally or writing on a board.

Applications for Education
There are times when we need to share documents with colleagues or students and we don't have time to share it in and email or push it out through a service like Google Classroom. If someone is new to Google, they might not know how to create a copy of a doc and this trick saves them from having to complete that step.

Here is an example of what this process looks like:

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to Password-protect Shortened URLs

Earlier this week I posted a tutorial on how to use Goo.gl to create, distribute, and track use of shortened URLs. After posting that tutorial on Facebook someone asked if it was possible to make the shortened URL private. Unfortunately, Goo.gl doesn't let you do that, but there are services that will let you do that. Thinfi is one of those services that lets you create shortened, password-protected URLs. In the video embedded below I provide a short demonstration of how to use Thinfi.


Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video, Thinfi could be a good tool to use when you want to share a preview of a project before it is ready for public consumption. For example, if my students are working on developing websites and they want to gather feedback before showing the site to the whole world, sharing a password-protected URL could be a good way to do that.