Uniform Resource Locator (URL) shortening

Uniform Resources Locator (URL) shortening is a service provied by different online website which shortens the url link of any given website and provied the user with new short url.1

For Example, http://soctech2013.blogspot.co.uk/ after converting will give http://goo.gl/UPVjS


There are many reason for use of URL shortening service. URL shortening service can provide short link which has less characeter and very useful in website like Twitter / Messaging where character are limited.

Normal URL passed many data on it to server which are long and looks ugly. URL shortening service can be use such suitation to hiding the url queue.


Different URL shortening service provider use different algorithm to produce short link. These short link are the redirection of long link that was given by user. All these short link are directed to the service provider and are redirected to the original website.2

When Creating Short link

[ Original URL] -> {URL Shortening Service provider} -> [short links]

When Using short link

[short links] -> {URL Shortening Service provider} -> [ Original URL]



URL shorting provide open a way to exploit the data in URL. Hacker can use a long link with lot of data in it and convert it to short url which look harmless and use it againest normal users.

These short url are also used by URL shorterning service provider to track the activies of user. When can later might be used to profit by saleing it to different advertising company.

Privacy and Security

Short URL are a redirectional link to the orginal web page and if the URL shortening provider has any problem in their server the whole link will stop working. While this won't be that bad if orginal link is known but if its not then its lost forever in this vast cosmos of website.

Similary, Short URL are ambiguous. One can't easly inteprested where the link leads to without actually click on it. This can be used against user as link to any malicous activies. 3

Popular URL shortening Services


  1. Neumann, A., Barnickel, J., Meyer, U. (n.d.). Security and Privacy Implications of URL Shortening Services. Available: http://w2spconf.com/2011/papers/urlShortening.pdf. Last accessed 5th March 2013.
  2. Maggi, F. (n.d.). European System Security Researchers. Available: http://www.syssec-project.eu/media/page-media/10/maggi-rhul-april12.pdf. Last accessed 5th March 2013.
  3. Atwood, J. (2007). URL Shortening: Hashes In Practice. Available: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/08/url-shortening-hashes-in-practice.html. Last accessed 5th March 2013.
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