We’re all pretty aware of how long URLs (uniform resource locators) can be, and we surely know that typing ridiculously long URLs into the address bar of our browser is always a pain. That’s why there are URL shorteners such as bit.ly, goo.gl, and tinyURL.com. These URL shorteners make life much easier by converting a long URL into a small, condensed one with less than half the characters and are ideal for pasting into websites that have character limits, such as Twitter.
What most people are probably not aware of is the actual context of these links, where the link takes you. For example, take a look at the following link: http://bit.ly/1JZyeKI — you may not know what that link is just by looking at or hovering over it, and you should definitely be cautious when wanting to click it (don’t worry, it directs to my blog’s homepage). But many people aren’t aware of the dangers of short links and that they may be redirected to malicious websites, and once you’ve click it it’s all downhill from there.
Many of these websites that offer link shortening services provide details on where the link actually redirects you, but there are also many that don’t. This is just another reason why it’s always good to know what you’re clicking on before you potentially do harm to your computer or personal information and to always verify the link’s target. If it seems like a suspicious URL, it most likely is.
Safe clicking, everyone.