TinyURL is a free
service that turns any Web address, no matter how complicated, into a
short URL that links to the original one.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
Shorten complicated Web addresses with TinyURL
April 19, 2009
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, The Post-Standard
Web addresses used to be simple, and a few of them still are. I check the "Boston Legal" TV schedule by
going to www.abc.com, for example. It could hardly be any easier.
But when the Web page you want to reach is buried deep within a site, the address can end up looking like
alphabet soup. Here's an example from a Web page I looked at recently:
"http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20090224084121758." It's impossible to remember. Worse yet, if you try to paste the
address into an e-mail message, it won't fit on one line and might get broken into two pieces.
Fortunately, you don't have to struggle with impossibly long Web addresses. You can make them short and
sweet using TinyURL, a free service that turns any Web address, no matter how complicated, into a short URL that links to the
You simply go to http://tinyurl.com and paste or type the
long address into the form. Once you click the "Make TinyURL" button, the behind-the-scenes magic at the TinyURL Web site turns
that address into one that's easy to deal with. There's no charge for this service.
How's it work? The TinyURL site creates a redirection pointer. The TinyURL link is like a traffic cop that
reroutes Web browsers to another address.
After you paste the long address, the TinyURL site will show you the short alias it just created. Select it
and copy it to the clipboard (by pressing Ctrl-C in Windows or Cmd-C on a Mac) and then paste it where you need it (using Ctrl-V
on Windows or Cmd-V on a Mac).
The complicated address I just showed you, from the Macoshints Web site, got a TinyURL address of "http://tinyurl.com/d27wpd."
The folks at TinyURL invented this kind of redirection, but dozens of other services will now do it for
you, too. You'll find a list at http://tinyurl.com/yp8cba.