There are many services that shorten URLs for links but why do you need them anyway? For instance you may have a very very long URL that you want to remember. You may bookmark these long and complicated URLs but you can’t bring your bookmarks anywhere unless you use del.icio.us or similar online bookmarking service. What if you want to include a URL to your emails? Chances are it will break easily if it’s too long. There are times you also want to hide a link if you want to be sneaky. :)

There are many applications of short URLs and there are many short URL services to choose from. Don’t ask me which is the best… just try them all and find out which one fits your needs. It really depends on how you use the short URLs. Some of them provide user-defined short URL, delayed redirection and URL masking which is very useful for some people. I currently have 34 short URL services in my list so far. I also provided a test link to MapQuest.com (Manila map) so that you can test how they work. The original URL was 233 characters which is really long. Now here they are, arranged alphabetically:

Digbig
Test:
http://digbig.com/4ftpq
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, bookmarklet available, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

Doiop
Test:
http://doiop.com/cl8mg3 (random)
http://doiop.com/urltest (user-defined)
features: never expires, random or user-defined short URL

elfURL
features: expiry unknown, random short URL

Goonlink
features: never expires, URL masking, preview long URL through Goonlink website

Hurl.to
feature:never expires, you can choose the number of random ID length from 3 to 16, you can also refer to sites using http://hurl.to/[domain] and it will redirect with 302 Moved Temporarily without passing the HTTP_REFERRER value (this does not make the URL shorter).

iURL
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, supposedly can delete/retire a short url, but it seems to be not working yet, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

Ki7.us
Test:

http://ki7.us/nhoaf

features: expiry unknown, random short URL, delayed redirection

Goonlin
features: expiry unknown, random short URL with domain name, bulk (shorten several links at once)

Linktrim
features: never expires, random or user-defined short URL, optional password protected short URL, optional email confirmation for short link, path forwarding, check long links in Linktrim website, bookmarklet available

Lyxus
Test:
http://lyxus.net/brr
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, bookmarklet available

MakeAShorterLink
Test:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?T30C1276C
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, by default shows a transition page for 5 seconds before redirecting, you can skip the transition page by saving preference in makeashorterlink website, bookmarklet available

NotLong
Test:
http://urltest.notlong.com
features: never expires, random or user-defined subdomain, private URL, each short URL generates password for editing and statistics viewing, bookmarklet available

Paulding.net
features: expiry unknown, random short URL

Qurl.com
Test:
http://qurl.com/9t1cp
standard features: six months default expiry, random short URL (?), private URL (not listed), bookmarklet available
advance features: registration needed to activate advance features — edit URL, extend URL expiry up to year 2010, sends email each time someone uses the short URL, integrates with del.icio.us.

Qurl.net
features: expiry unkown, random short URL, can change redirect mode from Qurl.net website — delayed, instant and manual, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

Shorterlink
Test:
http://shorterlink.com/?WLWFBU
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, preview long URL within 3 seconds before forwarding, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

SHurl.net
features: never expires, random short URL, monitor any known Shurl.net short URL

Shurl.org
features: never expires, URL masking, random and user-defined short url, monitor statistics of any known Shurl short URL.

smcURL (smcURL.com and URLShrinker.com is the same)
features: never expires, random short URL, bookmarklet available

SnipURL (snipurl.com and snurl.com is the same)
Test:
http://snipurl.com/urltest (user-defined)
http://snipurl.com/l8iu-code (random private short URL with keycode)
standard features: never expires, random and user-defined short URL, private short URL using keycode, six languages: English, Español, Français, Deutsch, Japanese and Chinese, bookmarklet available
advanced features: registration is needed to activate advance features — edit long URL and other settings, tract visits, send to email, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

TightURL
Test:
http://tighturl.com/81
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, bookmarklet available, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

Tiny2Go
Test:
http://tiny2go.com/1n/
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, generates password for every short URL for future editing and statistics viewing

TinyClick
Test:
http://tinyclick.com/?1s2p2p (random)
http://tinyclick.com/?URLTEST (user-defined)
features:

Tinylink (French version: Minilien)
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, bookmarklet available

TinyURL
Test:
http://tinyurl.com/9n4m9
features: never expires, random short URL, preview requires cookie and activation from TinyURL website, bookmarklet available, Firefox extension available, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

URL123
features: never expires, random short URL, bookmarklet available, deterministic if anonymous user
advance features: can create subdomain, user-defined short URL, password protected URL, organize and edit links, view link hits

URLcut
Test:
http://urlcut.com/urltest
features: expiry unknown, random and user-defined short URL, bookmarklet available, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

urlSNIP
Test:
http://urlsnip.com/077009
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, bookmarklet available, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

url(x)
features: never expires, random short URL, uses AJAX, can include domain name for preview, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

w3t.org
Test:
http://w3t.org/?u=h85 (random)
http://w3t.org/?c=urltest (user-defined)
features: expiry unknown, random or user-defined short URL, bookmarklet available, extension for Firefox available

xrl.us (metamark.net and xrl.us is the same)
features: expires after five years or two years after the last usage – whichever comes later. If a link is never used, it will expire after two years (never expires if used ocassionally), random short URL, bookmarklet available, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

Yep.it
Test:
http://yep.it/?aqhfps
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

1Tiny
features: expiry unknown, random short URL, there\’s a 1 second ad before the link redirects, you can also buy this script

6URL
Test:
http://6URL.com/0B90 (random)
http://ww3.6url.com/0B90 (random and masked)
features: never expires, random or user-defined short URL, subdomain, URL masking, path forwarding, deterministic (long URLs should be unique)*

* NOTE: it means that when you have generated a short URL from a long URL and generate another short URL using the same original long URL, the short URL that was previously created will be given. So, if somebody else created a short URL for your long URL then you have to use his random or user-defined short URL.
Wow… that\’s a long list. If I missed something please drop comment. If there\’s an error I welcome any correction. :)

NOTE:
This is outdated already. I will write a new post for new URL shortening services.

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