Get original URL from Bitly link

Josh Sherman
1 min read
Productivity

It’s been a while since I’ve actively engaged with a URL shortener, but recently I started to receive some text messages that contained Bitly links. The messages were phishing scams related to Coinbase, with a Bitly URL attached. Presumably, the link would take you to their site so you can mindless enter your information for their pleasure.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to click those links, but I was curious where the URLs would have taken me. Luckily, Bitly offers an extremely quick hack to see where the shortened URL’s destination.

All you have to do is take the original URL, like this one (it’s safe, I swear):

https://bit.ly/3guRFTD

Append a + to the end of it, like so:

https://bit.ly/3guRFTD+

Not much to it! Punch that URL into your browser and you’ll be greeted with a [safe] page hosted by Bitly that has the destination URL and the title of the page.

Now what would be really nice would be if Bitly had a way to quickly report sketchy links right from that page.

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Born again Linux user. Founder of Holiday API, Backend Engineering Manager and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake (WE'RE HIRING!), and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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