Best Short URL Services. Free, Paid and Make Money

If you’ve ever shared an affiliate link, or created, or clicked on a hyperlink you may have noticed that most of the times, the link is quite long and cumbersome. This is where link cloaking comes in. Link cloaking is the process of disguising the original URL of a website with a different one. Essentially, it’s a way to make your links look cleaner and more professional. In this post we will discuss about the best URL shortening service providers.

A graphic image of a ship on a sea to which many air balloons are attached depicting short url
Best short url services. Free, paid and make money 11

What is a URL

A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator that is used to identify and locate resources on the internet. URLs are links that are used to access web pages, images, videos, downloads, and other types of content on the internet. They are usually long and complex and can be difficult to remember.

Shortening and beautifying the URL is also known as Link Cloaking. Since the new short link does not look anything like the original, and can be disguised as a new link and also embedded, hence the word ‘cloaking’.

How Does it Work

There are a few different ways you can cloak your links. One common method is to use a plugin or service that will automatically generate a cloaked link for you. Another option is to manually create a redirect on your website that will take visitors to the original URL.

Technically, URL shortening services work by using a redirect. When you enter a long URL into a URL shortening service, the service creates a shorter URL that redirects to the original long URL. This redirect is done using HTTP status codes such as 301 or 302.

Why Do You Need a URL Shortening Service

URL shortening services are online tools that allow you to convert a long and complex URL into a shorter and more manageable one. These tools have become increasingly popular as social media platforms and messaging apps limit the number of characters used in a post. Short URL’s are also necessary for SEO and looks.

Many platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, have character limits on the links that you can post. By using a link shortener or cloaking service, you can get around these limits and share your links more easily. Besides shorter URLs are easier to read and remember, which can make them more appealing to users.

URL shortening services also help with SEO because they make it easier for search engines to crawl your website. Everyone wants to rank in Google, and Google loves short URL’s.

When you use a URL shortening service, the service creates a redirect from the short URL to the long URL. This redirect helps search engines understand that the content on the short URL is related to the content on the long URL.

Let’s say you’re promoting a product on your website and you want to include an affiliate link. Or you want your readers to download something from your website.

The original link might look something like this:

Wow! Isn’t that quite long and mouthful?

With link cloaking, you could change that URL to something like:

This not only looks more professional, but it’s also easier for your visitors to remember.

Type of Services Available

There are three types of URL shortening services: free, premium and where you get paid.

Free URL shorteners may have limitations such as fewer features or slower speeds. Premium URL shorteners are paid services that offer more features and faster speeds. Most of the free service providers have a premium plan.

Free and Premium URL Shortening Service Providers

Here’s a list of some of the best free URL shortening service providers who also provide tracking:

  • Bitly is a popular and versatile URL shortening service that offers customizable back-half links, as well as link history and reporting features for individuals.
  • TinyURL was the first free link shortening service for individuals and has since expanded to offer a comprehensive link management platform for businesses.
  • is the premium business version of the original URL shortener.
  • Sniply is a unique URL shortener that enables users to add a call-to-action to each link they share.
  • Cuttly is a very generous free link management platform on this list.
  • BL.INK is an excellent option for small business owners.
  • Rebrandly is an ideal choice for creating branded links.
  • Clkim is perfect for automatically generating short links.

Sometimes URL shortening service providers not only offer a convenient way to shorten long URLs, but some also pay users in return for using their services. They pay users when a created short URL is clicked. The pay is usually calculated on 1000 clicks.The rates vary on the geographical location from where the click has come. These services actually share a percent of the revenue generated from ads shown to the visitor who clicks the generated short link.

URL Shortening Service Providers Who Pay You Money

I am getting  together a list of 45 URL shorteners who pay you money for using their services. Just register with a provider that suits your needs, shorten your links and share it. Every time a visitor clicks on that link, they will see an ad before being redirected to the intended link, and you will earn some money.

Here is a list of some of those service providers:

WordPress, the most popular CMS (Content Management System) allows you to integrate plugins which can generate short links within the CMS.

WordPress Plugins to Generate Short URL

And here is a list of well known WordPress plugins to generate cloaked links:

Chrome thezderuffPretty LinksThis is a WordPress plugin that helps in link cloaking and shortening. It allows users to create customized links, track clicks, and perform A/B testing.
Chrome bwe4bkkq0wThirstyAffiliates – This is another WordPress plugin that provides link cloaking and management services. It offers advanced features such as automatic keyword linking, geo-targeting, and link categorization.
Chrome rlkoi2ssejWooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links – This is a WordPress plugin that is specifically designed for e-commerce websites. It helps in cloaking affiliate links and managing them in an organized manner.
Lasso – This is a URL management plugin for WordPress that also provides link cloaking services. It allows users to create custom URL slugs, track clicks, and manage their links in a simple dashboard.


In conclusion, URL shortening services are an essential tool for anyone who wants to share links on social media platforms or messaging apps. They make it easier for users to read and remember links while also helping with SEO by making it easier for search engines to crawl your website. But let me elaborate more here.

Advantages of Using Short URL

Using short URLs offers a range of advantages for online communication, marketing, and user engagement. Some of them are:

  1. Ease of Sharing: Shortened URLs make sharing links more convenient, being much shorter and easier to share.
  2. Improved Readability: Short URLs are easier to read and remember compared to long and complex original URLs.
  3. SEO Benefits: Shortened URLs contribute to improved SEO by facilitating easier crawling of websites.
  4. Click-Tracking Capabilities: URL shortening services often provide click-tracking features for monitoring link performance.
  5. Enhanced User Experience: Short URLs contribute to a streamlined and efficient user experience, especially in contexts with character limits.
  6. Analytics and Research: Some URL shortening services offer analytical data for insights into link success and audience engagement.
  7. Optimization for Limited Characters: Short URLs are essential for fitting within character limits on platforms like Twitter.
  8. Brand Recognition: Branded short URLs convey a cleaner and more professional appearance, contributing to brand recognition.
  9. Versatility Across Platforms: Short URLs are versatile and easily shared across various online platforms, messaging apps, and email.
  10. Reduced Clutter: Short URLs help reduce visual clutter in communications, maintaining a focused and aesthetically pleasing presentation.

Disadvantages of Using Short URL

While link cloaking can be useful, it’s important to note that there are also some potential drawbacks:

  1. Suspicion and Hesitation: Some users may be suspicious of cloaked links and may hesitate to click on them. This skepticism is understandable, considering the prevalence of phishing and malicious activities on the internet.
  2. Affiliate Program Rules: Certain affiliate programs may have specific rules regarding link cloaking. It’s crucial to be aware of and adhere to these rules to avoid potential issues or violations of terms and conditions.
  3. Scam Risks: Online scammers often disguise malicious codes under cloaked links to trick people into revealing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. This poses a significant risk, especially in financial transactions or sensitive online activities.
  4. Phishing Concerns: Cloaked links can be used in phishing attempts where attackers attempt to deceive individuals into providing confidential information. Users should exercise caution and verify the authenticity of links before clicking.
  5. Limited Transparency: Short URLs often lack transparency, making it challenging for users to determine the destination without clicking. This lack of transparency can lead to unintended visits to potentially harmful websites.
  6. Potential for Misuse: Since cloaked links can redirect users to different destinations, there’s a potential for misuse by cybercriminals to redirect users to malicious websites without their knowledge.
  7. Link Trust Issues: Overuse of URL shortening services, especially by spammers and malicious actors, can lead to general distrust of short URLs. Users may become hesitant to click on any shortened link due to concerns about security.
  8. Link Lifetime: Shortened URLs may have a limited lifespan, and if the service providing the short URL goes down or changes its policies, the links may become invalid, leading to a loss of access to the intended content.
  9. Reduced Accessibility: In some cases, short URLs may not be accessible in certain regions or by users with specific security settings, limiting the reach of the shared content.
  10. Loss of Branding Opportunity: While short URLs can be convenient, they may not convey branding or promotional information that a full URL might. This could result in a missed opportunity to establish brand presence.

It’s essential that with this knowledge of shortened URLs you weigh the benefits and disadvantages carefully and consider the context in which the short link you are about to use or click is being used and make informed decisions.


Most of the time online scammers trick people into revealing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers by disguising malicious codes under cloaked links. This can be a particular concern when it comes to financial matters, such as online banking or shopping.

As a rule of thumb always be cautious when clicking on links in emails or on websites. Look for signs that the link may be fake, such as mis-spellings in the URL or a website that doesn’t look quite right. Additionally, make sure you’re only entering sensitive information on websites that you trust and that have a secure connection (look for the “https” in the URL). In general your bank or financial institution will not send you cloaked links.

If you found this post useful, bookmark it for future references and share with your friends.

Affiliate Disclosure This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service through such a link I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you. The commission helps support my blog and allows me to continue providing free content. Rest assured that only those products or services that I believe in and think will help my readers are recommended here. For more details you may read the Terms & Conditions.
Share if You Found some Value
Koushik Chakroborty
Koushik Chakroborty

I love to skim the internet for solutions and information on productivity, AI, cybersecurity and blogging that can add some value to my life and in turn help me make informed decisions. Through my posts I like to share the same with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *