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There are so many different URL shorteners that making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want a tool to make sharing links easier, especially in character-limited environments like social media and text messages, but also enhance link readability. I've got you covered! In this post, I share from my personal experience using many different URL shortening tools, and share my picks of the best URL shorteners overall.

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The Best URL Shorteners Summary

Tools Price
Sniply From $9/month
Short.io From $20/month
Rebrandly No price details
T2M From $9.99/month
T.ly From $5/month
Owly From $99/month
URL Shortener by Zapier From $29.99/750 tasks/month
Cuttly From $25/month
BL.INK From $48/month
Bitly From $35/month
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

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How to Choose a URL Shortener

With so many different URL shorteners available, it can be challenging to make decisions on what URL shortener is going to be the best fit for your needs.

As you're shortlisting, trialing, and selecting URL shorteners, consider the following:

  • What problem are you trying to solve - Start by identifying the URL shortener feature gap you're trying to fill to clarify the features and functionality the URL shortener needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who'll be using the software and how many licenses you'll need. You'll need to evaluate if it'll just be the marketing team, or the whole organization that will require access. When that's clear, it's worth considering if you're prioritizing ease of use for all, or speed for your marketing software power users.
  • What other tools it needs to work with - Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as accounting, CRM or HR software. You'll need to decide if the tools will need to integrate together, or alternatively, if you can replace multiple tools with one consolidated URL shortener.
  • What outcomes are important - Consider the result that the software needs to deliver to be considered a success. Consider what capability you want to gain, or what you want to improve, and how you will be measuring success. For example, an outcome could be the ability to get greater visibility into performance. You could compare URL shortener features until you’re blue in the face but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to drive, you could be wasting a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization - Consider the software selection alongside your workflows and delivery methodology. Evaluate what's working well, and the areas that are causing issues that need to be addressed. Remember every business is different — don’t assume that because a tool is popular that it'll work in your organization.

Best URL Shorteners Reviews

The following brief descriptions of each URL shortener highlight their optimal use cases, best features, and pros and cons. Also, screenshots are provided to offer a glimpse of their user interfaces.

Best for creating call-to-actions

  • Free trial available
  • From $9/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.1/5

Links disguised as calls-to-action can lead to a boost in click-through rates. Sniply is a platform that can turn a plain short link into an attractive ad.

Why I picked Sniply: Attracting clicks to your links is what it's all about, that's why I love Sniply's focus on creating custom call-to-actions. Its built-in editor will have you create custom buttons to house your branded short link.

Sniply Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The customizable call-to-action editor means everything remains on brand. A/B testing to track and optimize results which I think is a great feature for sales and marketing teams.

Integrations include ActiveCampaign, Facebook, Mailchimp, LinkedIn, Hubspot, Hootsuite, Buffer, Twitter, Sprout Social, and Salesforce. Developers can also access Sniply's API for custom integrations.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Native integrations with popular social media tools
  • Tracking features for clicks and conversions
  • Easily customizable call-to-action buttons

Cons:

  • Customization options could be more expansive

Best for sending people different links

  • Free plan available
  • From $20/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Targeting users in different countries often means sending them to other pages for pricing information or the same page in a foreign language.

Why I picked Short.io: Short.io has geo-targeting options which is one of my favorite features for short linking. Depending on who clicks the link, they will be sent to a different page. This helps businesses avoid a high bounce rate and ensure the user is delivered to the most relevant pages.

Short.io Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include its link cloaker, which hides the original long URL in the address bar. Access to special pages can be restricted with password protection. I like that it can natively use Google Sheets to create short links in bulk.

Integrations include Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Slack, AdRoll, Facebook Pixel, Android, Segment, and Google Tag Manager. API access is available on all tier levels to create custom integrations.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Tidy user interface
  • Packed with statistics to learn more about your clicks
  • Links can be customized to suit your needs

Cons:

  • Guidance and tutorials could be clearer

Best for creating custom names

Creating custom domains is an important aspect of creating a unified brand identity. Rebrandly helps teams to keep their short links on brand.

Why I picked Rebrandly: Keeping the brand uniform across social media and the web relies on software like Rebrandly. I’m a big fan of the short links they provide under your own name. One of my other favorite features is that you can create multiple custom names—making it a good choice for agencies working with multiple clients.

Rebrandly Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include up to 10 custom domains for creating short links. I also like that you’re able to expire links when they are no longer necessary. And with plenty of plan options to choose from I’m sure you’ll never overpay for features you don't need.

Integrations include Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Slack, WordPress, Name.com, Dropshare, Wufoo, MeetEdgar, and SocialBee. Custom integrations are possible using the Rebrandly API.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Create instant short links using browser extensions
  • Able to modify or delete links
  • Guarantees a 99.9% uptime

Cons:

  • No native integration for many of the most popular social media apps
  • Many useful features are locked behind higher tiers

Best for teams who need bulk actions

  • Free trial available
  • From $9.99/month

For teams that deal with a large number of short links, they need a service capable of handling bulk links like T2M.

Why I picked T2M: I chose T2M for its dedicated instances that are fully scalable with your business, built on its own dedicated IP address using Amazon EC2 technology. I think these instances will be particularly useful for busy agencies who have a genuine need for millions or even billions of branded URLs and clicks.

T2M Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the ability to delete links you no longer use which I find to be useful for keeping a clean dashboard. You can create dynamic QR codes on paid tiers. Custom domains are included in the price of paid tiers and come with a free SSL certificate.

Integrations can be accessed by using a paid tool like Zapier. The platform also has API access.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Able to expire URLs that aren't needed anymore
  • Plenty of detailed analytics like browsers, platforms, and devices.

Cons:

  • Support can be slow to respond
  • Dashboards take some time to get used to

Best for users looking for a browser extension

  • Free link shortening is available
  • From $5/month

Using a browser extension like T.ly makes creating short links an almost instant process and makes it easy to pull up your link history.

Why I picked T.ly: T.ly may not be as feature-rich as some of the other options on this list, but I like it for its cost-effective offer that speeds up the creation of short links. For those who need to create links on an ad hoc basis and want to see all the pertinent information directly from their browser, T.ly stands out as a good choice.

T.ly Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include link retargeting using Facebook and Adwords pixels which I know will be important to marketers. T.ly's smart URLs can redirect users to different pages based on factors like geographic location.

Integrations can be created using a third-party paid service like Zapier.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • A simple tool that doesn't take long to use
  • API access is available on all tier levels

Cons:

  • The feature set is not as comprehensive as other services
  • Ads on the website

Best for Hootsuite users

  • Free trial available
  • From $99/month

If you're a Hootsuite user, their built-in Owly service is the quickest way to create short links for social media posts.

Why I picked Owly: Hootsuite is a commonly used social media scheduler that includes its own URL shortener. I chose Owly because it is perfect for those already using Hootsuite as it can save time and money by choosing to use this service instead of using a third-party service.

Owly Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include easy access from within the Hootsuite Composer. View the number of clicks that have come through your links and create branded links directly from within Hootsuite.

Integrations include Bit.ly for those using the higher-paid tiers.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Plugged into 10 or more social media profiles
  • Usable directly from Hootsuite

Cons:

  • Only available for Hootsuite users

Best for automation

  • Free plan available
  • From $29.99/750 tasks/month

Creating short links without manually plugging in every long URL saves much time. URL Shortener by Zapier is a free service to automate link creation.

Why I picked URL Shortener by Zapier: Any business that has growing link needs will want solutions to make this process simpler and quicker. I know that automation is a big feature companies want with new software and since Zapier can be integrated with over 5,000 apps, it's the obvious choice. It has a free service for basic automation. More complex automation can be unlocked with a paid tier.

URL Shortener by Zapier Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include using automation to create new short links whenever you create or upload a new document to Google Drive and other tools. Once automation is set up, it'll keep running until turned off. I picked URL Shortener by Zapier because it can free up your team to work on non-routine tasks.

Integrations include Google, Twitter, ClickFunnels, Twilio, Facebook, Pipedrive, Slack, Jotform, Zoom, and over 5,000 more. However, many will be behind a paywall. Zapier is an integration tool, and the URL shortener is built on top of this.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automation possibilities are thorough and wide-ranging
  • Works with almost any tool you can think of

Cons:

  • Hard to learn how to get the most out of the platform
  • The number of automations is limited per tier and can be expensive as the tiers progress

Best for small businesses

  • Free plan available
  • From $25/month

Cuttly is an excellent alternative to BL.INK for small businesses that have fewer links to create compared to large enterprises.

Why I picked Cuttly: Cuttly generous free plan makes it one of my picks for this list. The free plan allows for up to 1,000 links a month, which is more than enough for many who need short links. If businesses need more links or access to advanced features, Cuttly's paid tiers offer things like analytics, report generation, and link history.

Cuttly Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include up to 1,000 branded or Cuttly links and limited API access for free. I also really like the editable QR, multiple branded domains, and extended link history features which are offered on paid tiers.

Integrations are available using a paid service like Zapier or Integromat.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Advanced analytics for deeper insights
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • API access is limited on lower tiers
  • Unable to delete past links

Best for large businesses

  • Free trial available
  • From $48/month

BL.INK has been built with large enterprises in mind, capable of carrying bulk actions and keeping branding consistent.

Why I picked BL.INK: I like BL.INK for large businesses that are dealing with a significant number of links. It’s a great solution that can keep up with the growing demand of enterprises. Bl.INK's been built to tackle linking problems at scale. Creating millions of links daily is possible, so even the most extensive demands can be met.

BL.INK Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include branded links, QR codes, and detailed analytics. I’m also a big fan of BL.INK’s link routing based on time, geography, and device.

Integrations are available through paid services like Zapier and Integrated. BL.INK does have API access, so it's possible to create custom integrations.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • QR codes and links are generated quickly
  • Bulk link shortening
  • Customize short links to your own brand

Cons:

  • Too expensive for small businesses

Best for link management

  • Free plan available
  • From $35/month

Bitly is a recognizable brand that's been used for link shortening for years. Its brand recognition and link management features make it a solid choice for businesses.

Why I picked Bitly: I think name recognition is a big deal for URL shorteners, and Bitly is one of the most recognizable on the market. It also has all the features I want to see in a shortener; short links, redirects, and bulk links. Bitly also has offline features where businesses can create unique QR codes linked to their Bitly links.

Bitly Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include a link-in-bio feature for influencers and brands using social media. I love data and Bitly offers deep analytics which can report location and device information, allowing teams to use this information in their reporting. At the enterprise level, a dedicated account manager will be on hand to help with any issues.

Integrations include Google Chrome, Firefox, IFTTT, Twilio, WordPress, Salesforce, Hubspot, Sprout Social, Buffer, and Sprinklr. Developers are also able to access Bitly’s API to create custom integrations.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • QR codes for offline use
  • Personalization to each business
  • URL tracking features

Cons:

  • No ability to archive old links
  • Redirects can take some time to complete

Other URL Shorteners

Here are a few more worthwhile options that didn’t make the best lead capture software list:

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these tools closely related to digital marketing strategy that we've tested and evaluated.

Selection Criteria for URL Shorteners

Here's how I break down my criteria for evaluation, incorporating essential aspects that address both basic and advanced requirements:

Core URL Shortener Functionality - 25% of total weighting score

To be considered for inclusion on my list of the best URL shorteners, a solution had to support the ability to fulfill common use cases. These include:

  • Simplification of lengthy URLs for easier sharing
  • Integration with social media platforms for direct sharing
  • Real-time analytics to track user engagement and link performance
  • Customizable shortened URL creation for brand consistency
  • QR code generation for each shortened URL for offline to online connection

Additional Standout Features - 25% of total weighting score

  • Advanced analytics offering insights beyond basic click counts, such as visitor demographics and behavior
  • Branded URL customization that goes beyond the standard offering, allowing for complete control over the link's appearance
  • Integration capabilities with marketing and analytics platforms to streamline workflows
  • Enhanced security features like password protection and link expiration to manage access and content relevancy
  • Innovative features such as bulk link shortening for efficiency in managing multiple links

Usability - 10% of total weighting score

  • A clean, intuitive interface that simplifies the process of creating and managing shortened URLs
  • Drag-and-drop functionality for adding links to be shortened, enhancing user experience
  • A dashboard that presents analytics in an easy-to-understand format, suitable for users of all technical levels

Onboarding - 10% of total weighting score

  • Quick setup processes that allow users to start creating shortened links immediately
  • Comprehensive guides and tutorials that cover both basic and advanced features
  • Interactive product tours and responsive chatbots that provide immediate assistance during the initial usage phase

Customer Support - 10% of total weighting score

  • Responsive and knowledgeable customer service teams available through multiple channels (email, chat, phone)
  • A community forum or knowledge base where users can share tips and solutions
  • Regularly updated FAQs and troubleshooting guides

Value For Money - 10% of total weighting score

  • Transparent pricing models that cater to a range of user needs, from individual use to enterprise solutions
  • A free tier or trial period that allows users to test functionality before committing to a purchase
  • Competitive features offered at each pricing level, ensuring users receive value regardless of their investment size

Customer Reviews - 10% of total weighting score

  • High ratings across various user review platforms, indicating overall satisfaction with the product
  • Positive feedback on specific features such as ease of use, customer support, and analytics accuracy
  • Case studies or testimonials that highlight successful use cases and the impact on businesses or individual projects

In my analysis, these criteria not only highlight a URL shortener's ability to meet the basic requirement of making URLs manageable and easy to share but also emphasize additional features, usability, support, and value that differentiate superior solutions in the market. This comprehensive approach ensures that recommendations cater to a wide range of needs, from individual bloggers to large enterprises.

Here's a closer look at the current trends and how they're shaping the future of URL shorteners:

  • Increased Emphasis on Branding and Customization: Tools like Bitly and Rebrandly continue to enhance their customization features, allowing businesses to create branded short links that increase brand visibility and trust. This trend reflects the growing importance of brand consistency across digital platforms.
  • Advanced Analytics and Data Insights: The integration of detailed analytics features is becoming more common, with platforms like ClickMeter providing users with deep insights into link performance, including real-time click data, geographical information, and device usage. This trend underscores the critical role of data in optimizing marketing strategies.
  • QR Code Generation and Usage: The ability to generate QR codes for short links, as seen in platforms like TinyURL, is evolving rapidly. This feature caters to the growing trend of bridging online and offline marketing efforts, allowing for a smoother transition between physical and digital engagement.

The evolution of URL shorteners in 2024 is marked by a shift towards more integrated, secure, and brand-focused features.

What is a URL Shortener?

URL shorteners are online tools that transform long, cumbersome web addresses into concise, easily shareable links. The purpose is to simplify URLs for better usability and aesthetics, particularly in platforms with character limits like Twitter.

Marketers may use URL shorteners to streamline and enhance their digital campaigns. By converting long URLs into short, manageable links, they make them more user-friendly for sharing on social media, emails, and other marketing materials.

Features of URL Shorteners

URL shorteners offer a range of key features that make them valuable tools for both personal and professional use. These features include:

  1. Link Shortening: The primary function, converting long URLs into more manageable, shorter versions that are easier to share.
  2. Link Tracking and Analytics: Many URL shorteners provide detailed analytics about the links, such as the number of clicks, geographic location of the users, the devices used to access the link, and referral sources. This data is crucial for analyzing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns or understanding audience behavior.
  3. Customizable Short Links: Some services allow users to customize the slug (the part of the URL that comes after the domain name), which can make the link more recognizable and branded for a particular use or campaign.
  4. QR Code Generation: A feature that automatically generates a QR code for the shortened URL, facilitating easy access from mobile devices.
  5. Link Expiry and Deactivation: The ability to set expiration dates for links or deactivate them manually, which is useful for time-sensitive promotions or content.
  6. Password Protection: Some shorteners offer an option to protect links with a password, adding an extra layer of security and control over who can access the content.
  7. Link Redirection Management: The capability to change the destination URL of the shortened link without changing the link itself, allowing for updates or corrections after the link has been distributed.
  8. Integration with Other Tools: Many URL shorteners can integrate with other platforms and services, such as social media management tools, to streamline workflows.
  9. Social Media Sharing: Direct options or buttons to share the shortened link on various social media platforms, enhancing ease of dissemination.
  10. Bulk Shortening: The ability to shorten multiple URLs at once, saving time and effort for users who need to process large numbers of links.

These features, especially when combined, offer a powerful suite of tools for managing, sharing, and analyzing web links.

Benefits of URL Shorteners

Here are five primary benefits that URL shorteners offer to users and organizations:

  • Enhanced Brand Presence and Trust: By customizing short links to include brand names, organizations can significantly boost their brand visibility and trust among their target audience. This customization makes links more recognizable and credible, leading to higher click-through rates.
  • Improved Link Management and Sharing: URL shorteners simplify the management and sharing of links, particularly on platforms with character limits or where aesthetic and usability are priorities. This streamlined process makes it easier for businesses to distribute content and for users to engage with it.
  • Detailed Analytics on Link Performance: Access to real-time analytics allows users to track the performance of their links, including clicks, geographic data, and device usage. This data is invaluable for optimizing marketing strategies and understanding audience behaviors.
  • Increased Engagement Through QR Codes: The ability to generate QR codes for any shortened link bridges the gap between online and offline marketing, facilitating increased engagement by making it easier for people to access digital content from physical marketing materials.
  • Security and Control Over Content: Features such as link expiration, password protection, and the ability to change the destination URL offer users and organizations increased security and control over their content. This ensures that links remain relevant and secure, enhancing the overall user experience.

URL shorteners are more than just tools for condensing URLs; they are powerful platforms that offer strategic advantages in brand marketing, analytics, and content management. Whether for individual use or across an organization, the utility of URL shorteners in today’s digital landscape is undeniable, making them a must-have in any marketing toolkit.

Cost & Pricing for URL Shorteners

URL shorteners offer various plans and pricing options designed to cater to different needs, from personal use to large-scale enterprise solutions. Understanding the available plans and what each offers is essential for software buyers new to this type of software, ensuring they choose the best option for their specific requirements.

Plan Comparison Table for URL Shortener

Plan TypeAverage PriceCommon Features
PersonalFree - $10/month- Basic link shortening
- Limited link tracking
- Some customization options
- QR code generation
Professional$10 - $50/month- Advanced link tracking and analytics
- Custom branding for URLs
- Increased link customization options
- Higher limits on link creation
Business$50 - $100/month- Comprehensive analytics dashboard
- Team collaboration features
- Integration with marketing platforms
- Customizable domain names
Enterprise$100+/month- Full API access for custom development
- Dedicated support and account management
- Customized pricing based on usage
- Enhanced security features
Free OptionFree- Basic link shortening
- Limited analytics
- QR code generation
- No custom branding

When choosing a URL shortener plan, consider both your immediate needs and potential future requirements. Opting for a plan that offers room for growth can be more cost-effective in the long run, ensuring you have access to more advanced features and capabilities as your needs evolve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more questions you may have about url shorteners that I have the answers to:

Additional Marketing Tool Reviews

URL shorteners are often used for the sake of displaying links conveniently on social media. Here are a few tools you might find to complement your URL shortener of choice.

Conclusion

As a digital marketer, I find URL shorteners to be an indispensable tool. They're a straightforward way to streamline my link management, tidying up long, cluttered URLs into concise, shareable links that work wonders for tracking and attribution.

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Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.