What Is TinyURL™?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
TinyURLs are used by message posting services.
TinyURLs are used by message posting services.

A TinyURL™ is a link to a website that utilizes a universal resource locator (URL) shortening service to make the URL shorter while still connecting to the intended website. These types of URLs are often used for message posting services such as various forms of social networking that may only allow a few characters per post. They are also common on forums and similar Internet websites where people want to easily link to various other web pages. By using a TinyURL™ service, a lengthy URL can be significantly shortened, making it easier to remember, write down, post on another website and otherwise utilize.

URL shortening services are often used in social networking.
URL shortening services are often used in social networking.

The original TinyURL™ website was established in 2002 as a way for people to link to websites, such as news networks and forums, without having to type lengthy URLs. A URL is the web address used by most users to navigate the Internet and find the website they are looking for. URLs typically take the form of a web address, such as http://www.wisegeek.com, which establishes a textual address people can remember that is converted to an Internet protocol (IP) address by computer networks to actually direct a user to the proper website. One major problem with the use of URLs, however, is that they can become quite lengthy and difficult to remember, write down, or post to other pages.

A TinyURL™ is a web address that has been significantly shortened to allow someone to access the website without having to type the entire address. It basically functions by creating a secondary link, usually using something like http://www.tinyurl.com followed by a specific identifier for the intended web page. When someone types in the TinyURL™ link, it will quickly redirect the user’s web browser to the page with the full URL. This type of service is especially useful for some news groups and similar types of websites that can have extremely long URLs when referring to a specific article or page on the site.

One of the major potential downsides of using TinyURLs™ is that it does require an additional process to get a user to the desired website. There is already some potential for failure in the basic use of URLs since a network system has to process that URL and change it to the desired IP address that the network can actually recognize. By adding an additional step, the change from a TinyURL™ to the real URL, there is another opportunity for the system to not work properly. If the TinyURL™ service goes down, then none of the links will work. There is also a potential security issue of someone accessing the TinyURL™ system and rerouting addresses improperly.

How To Make a TinyURL?

You can make a TinyURL by using a TinyURL service. While the original website bearing the trademarked name was launched in 2002, other tiny URL providers are available. Any provider services will take your longer IP address and shorten it to a more accessible link to display and remember.

How Does TinyURL Work?

Whether you work with the trademarked TinyURL servicer or work with another independent tiny URL servicer, the process is typically similar or the same to create a tiny URL.

About URLs

  1. Each website has a web address called a universal resource locator or URL. This textual address that people use to type in or communicate is then
  2. Converted by computers into an internet protocol or IP address
  3. Once it is converted, computer networks direct users to the correct website

The problem with URLs is that they are long, like, really long. Not only are URLs long, but they often involve many strange combinations of characters and numbers that have nothing to do with the website or the content. These combinations are in no recognizable order to the humans that are using the computer system. When humans cannot detect a pattern, it is difficult for them to remember a sequence, like a long website, for example, or a phone number or an address. Being unable to remember a website seems unimportant, but it affects profits for businesses. To combat this problem, the original TinyURL was created in 2002.

Tiny URLs

In 2002, TinyURL created a service that shortened the long website address to a link that was significantly more accessible. This process and the resulting link are called a tiny URL.

  1. Your long URL for your website address, for example: https://https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TasXFB7cdp6HzvlLIttbpplsaaa1DXwmK6Q4zmjleQB3XMWr6_sQ/edit
  2. Take to a tiny URL servicer, such as tinyurl.com
  3. Type in your long URL
  4. Choose an alias, which will replace the name of your very long URL
  5. Make your TinyURL
  6. Your long URL should be reduced to a shorter, tiny URL, for example: https://tinyurl.com/course-tracks
There’s a considerable difference between the two URLs:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/4432344700988/pplsaaa1DXwmK6Q4zmjle/QB3XMWr6_sQ/edit
vs.
https://tinyurl.com/course-tracks

That process is how you make your own. The way that the process actually works is a little more involved. It is important to note that the tiny URL does not replace your long URL. The longer URL is still in operation and existence. Here’s what happens instead:

  1. Long URL is converted to tiny URL
  2. A tiny URL is given to a potential customer
  3. Customer types in tiny URL
  4. Tiny URL uses servicer to redirect traffic to more extended link
  5. The tiny URL servicer is a third party here, which some people aren’t aware of
  6. Then, traffic reaches your website, still located at the longer URL

Is TinyURL Safe

TinyURL is mostly safe. It is a trademarked entity that has been in working order for nearly twenty years. However, other tiny URL service providers may run into the same security issues that TinyURL did at the beginning of its operation. The central premise of creating a tiny URL is that your longer web address doesn’t transform into a new, shorter link. Instead, the tiny URL is there to redirect traffic to your longer link. The tiny URL serves as a hot button, of sorts, to get to your site. However, there is a space for error between the two points of contact.

If there is a problem with the servicer, or the services have been hacked, there could be potential security issues. If traffic is redirected to another website other than yours from your tiny URL, that is an obvious security issue. If your tiny URL servicer is down or there are security issues within the service itself, that is also a safety issue to be concerned about. Obviously, no working business wants these issues to arise. Measures are taken to prevent security issues with any servicers as a matter of general business practice.

The primary complaint with fake tiny URL services is that they are created with malice in mind. While the internet safety commissions shut down as many scams as possible, more pop up just as frequently as they are shuttered. There are entire tiny URL scam businesses created with the intention of fraudulent activities.

For the most part, this is not dangerous territory, and dishonest fraud is readily identified. However, some accounts pose as financial services or require personal information. Many people say that they prefer to search for the longer URL for fear of being scammed through a tiny URL despite the convenience of the shorter address.

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    • TinyURLs are used by message posting services.
      By: jamdesign
      TinyURLs are used by message posting services.
    • URL shortening services are often used in social networking.
      By: anyaberkut
      URL shortening services are often used in social networking.