How to view short URLs without opening them?

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    If you’ve ever come across a link in an email or on a website, all you need to do is hover over your mouse to see the address of the landing page at the bottom of your browser. This allows you to verify the safety of this link. However, this technique does not work with short URLs, which are common on social networks today.

    However, this does not mean that you need to personally check every link and put your system at risk. There are many ways to check what is behind a short URL without opening the page. In this article, I will show you how to use these tricks on your computer or smartphone.

    Use built-in preview

    Most of the popular link shortening services give you a preview of the link by adjusting the parameters of the short URL. Remember these simple steps and in the future you will not have to depend on an additional service to view the site. Below is a list of preview settings:

    TinyURL Service


    Add the word preview before the part of the link. For example, convert to service

    Add a plus sign at the end of the original URL. For example, convert to service

    As in the previous case, add a plus sign at the end of the URL.


    Add a dash at the end of the URL. For example, convert to


    Add a tilde (~) to the end of the URL.

    Service BudURL

    Add a question mark at the end of the URL.

    Use online services


    If you don’t often encounter short URLs, then using an online decoder may be a better solution. To do this, you can use the GetLinkInfo platform with its extensive support for sites with short URLs and providing detailed information about the link. Just paste the link on the site and press Enter.

    The GetLinkInfo service will tell you the page’s main title, initial description, exact and complete URL, and any external links on the page. It also uses Google to check the security of the content.

    Use a browser extension


    If you often deal with short URLs, then using a browser extension is your preferred option.

    A feature of this extension is that Unshorten.It! can work with almost all types of short links. Once the extension is installed, right-click on any short link and select the Unshorten feature from the menu. The program will decrypt the link in a new tab and also display security information based on the Web Of Trust score.

    With unobtrusive functionality, Unshorten.It! allows you to choose which links to follow and which not.

    Decrypting Short URLs on Android

    URL Manager

    For Android, you can use the free URL Manager app. In fact, this program includes a large number of functions for working with links. We will only consider the decryption function.

    Below is the algorithm of actions:

    1. Copy the short URL you want to decrypt.
    2. Click the plus icon on the main interface and select the Decrypt function.
    3. Paste the URL into the text box and click Decrypt. The original link will be shown below.
    4. It is also possible to share the link directly from your browser to decode it in the URL Manager.

    Decrypting Short URLs on iOS

    URL X-ray

    On iOS, you can use the free URL X-ray app. While this app is better known for its web service, the iOS app does a great job of deciphering addresses as well. After installing the application, you just need to copy the short address into the interface string to complete the operation. The app also adds a button to the shared menu, allowing you to directly share the address with other apps.


    You should be careful when opening a link with a short address, and always check the source information. This is especially true if you received a link by mail or SMS. Of course, remembering the algorithm of actions for decoding short addresses may take some time, but practice shows that the more often you encounter them, the faster you deal with the problem.

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