Know thy shortened URL

decrypt shortened URLs using

The web is full of shortened URLs.

Services like,, tinyurl make it simple and easy to shorten URLs. While they are incredibly useful to copy and paste, and to comply with that XXX character limit, they can be terrifying too. Not knowing what’s on the other side sometimes frightens suspicious people.

You can do what I do – just click on the URL to find out.

But then, you also have to suffer the consequences of mindlessly doing something – download an excellent virus (or a cryptographic algorithm), getting led to a nsfw site at work, or simply waste time in the wrong site far too much when affiliate links have been there like sand on a beach.

Or then, you may have a more blackhat mindset. You may be scraping the content from your favourite affiliate site, and want to decode links and plug your own (after spinning the content, of course).

The solution to both these puzzles is simple – “decrypt the damn thing”.



Find out real targets behind shortened URLs

Yeah, you guessed it.

Just to the website, put your URL in, and see the magic. in action to unshorten URLs

You can also install’s Chrome browser extension.

If you are like me, you may have hundreds of potential links that you want to decrypt. This bulk expansion of links is possible – thanks to’s APIs. But, horror – the API page just shows up a 404.

With or without APIs, you need to have your own tool to invoke them and get the end result.

I have created a Google Spreadsheet that can take any number of URLs in bulk, and use service to expand them. You can copy the spreadsheet for your own use from here..

If you have never used Google Spreadsheets before, you should try it. All you need to do is open the link above, choose File > Copy option from the menu, and use your Gmail id to copy the sheet for your own use.

bulk expand shortened URLs