If you have a Facebook or Twitter account or even an email address, then you have probably received a shortened link at some point in your life. However, these shortened links are rarely as innocent as they seem. Hackers often shorten links in order to mask the fact that they take users to malicious websites.
After clicking on a shortened link, users might automatically be redirected to a website that installs a virus or some other security threat onto the system. In other cases, your friend might simply want to send you an entertaining video, in which case the link is harmless.
So how can you tell the difference between good links and bad links? Today, we’re going to show you how to preview shortened URLs.
Not many people know this trick, but it’s very useful for determining the identity of a shortened link. If somebody sends you a shortened link through popular services like bit.ly or goo.gl, then you can simply add a ‘+’ symbol to the end of the link to determine some important information about that link.
For example, if somebody sends you a shortened link to our Speed Up My PC Free website, you would see:
-But if you wanted to make sure that link was safe, you could type in
To learn all sorts of new information about it. Bit.ly includes information like the number of clicks a link receives as well as the locations from where those clicks claim. And most importantly, you can see the URL that the link will send you to.
Popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox have a number of add-ons that can do all of the hard work for you. For example, Firefox has a plugin called Long URL please that will automatically convert shortened URLs into long URLs. So, instead of seeing a shortened link when somebody sends you a message over Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see exactly where that link leads. Long URL works with 82 link shortening services, so it should keep you covered.
Bit.ly also offers Chrome and Firefox extensions that can check shortened links. The best one is called LinkPeelr, which allows users to hover over a link in order to see exactly where it’s going.
Certain types of antivirus software will automatically check the destination of all shortened links. In fact, major brands like Kaspersky and Norton proactively scan just about every link you’re about to click on online. So, instead of walking through a virtual minefield, you can relax knowing that the links you’re about to click on are safe.
Ultimately, checking shortened links can save your computer’s life. If you’re serious about PC security and want to protect your identity from theft, then these link shortening preview tips will help.