How to know which URL a shortened link points to - The Happy Android

Shortened links are like Russian roulette: you never know what is behind them. They can redirect you to a legitimate and safe page in the same way that they send you to a site infected with malware. The easiest way to avoid this type of unpleasant surprises would be to never open a shortened URL, but in today's post we will see a couple of methods that will help us preview the actual content of any link of this type without having to load it in our browser.

How to expand a shortened link and know its content without opening it

Shortened links are all over the internet: social networks, emails, affiliate links, web pages, etc. Some sites like Twitter, for example, automatically shorten all the links that are posted in their tweets. In addition, services like Bitly or Tinyurl have become very popular in recent times and many people use them to share content.

With such a salad of short links that do not allow us to know anything about them outside the context in which they have been shared, it is essential to have a link checker do the dirty work for us. If we have any doubts, it is best to pass the URL through one of these two tools:


Fantastic web application in which we only have to enter the short address in the search box and click on the "Expand”. The tool will perform an analysis and will show us both the complete URL to which the link redirects us, as well as a small preview of the web.

CheckshortURL also allows you to search the page on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Twitter, as well as see the opinion of sites such as Web of Trust or Site Advisor to know if we are facing a potentially dangerous page. It is most useful for detecting suspicious pages and supports short links from a large number of services such as,,,,, or Youtube.

Enter CheckShortURL


UnShorten.It! is another service whose main objective is to check any shortened link to see its real content. It works exactly the same as the previous tool: we enter the shortened URL in the search box and the system shows us after a few seconds the long address to which it will redirect us if we click on the link.

It doesn't offer as detailed an analysis as CheckshortURL, but it does show the site's score on Web of Trust so we can clear up any questions about its security. In any case, it supports almost any type of short links for what we are before a virtually universal link extender.

Enter Unshorten.It

In addition to these 2 web applications to expand shortened links, we can also use the preview tools offered by some services such as Bitly or Tinyurl.

Tinyurl: To access the preview function in Tinyurl, just add the word "preview." within the shortened link, between "//" and "tinyurl", like this:

  • // / ry6k63f

Bitly: If we have a shortened link from Bitly we can also preview it by writing the "+" symbol at the end of the link:

  • //

Of course, these types of previews are only used for links generated from their own service, that is, for Bitly and Tinyurl, although the good thing about them is that they offer a practically immediate response.

Related post: How to navigate faster using Google's ".new" domains

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