Reveal TinyURL Links

January 15, 2009 – 1:31 PM

TinyURL is a very handy service for shortening long URLs but it can also be used maliciously.  Anytime somebody wants to hide where they are sending you they can easily generate a TinyURL and you will not know where you will end up.  It could be a phishing site.  It could be a site that tries to install malware upon loading the page.  It could be an advertising site.  It could be an e-commerce site with a hidden affiliate ID so that the link sender will actually get paid if you stay and purchase something.  Etc. Etc.  There are countless ways that TinyURLs can trick you.

I’ve been looking for the best way to reveal these links before actually visiting the final page.  Here is a quick summary of the options that are available:

Firefox Plugins

Long URL Please – This is an experimental plugin that replaces short urls with the originals so you can see where links actually link to.




LongURL Mobile Expander – This is another experimental plugin that displays the true URL in a popup title box when you hover your mouse over the link.



Greasemonkey Scripts (Firefox still required)

TinyURL Popup Preview – This script displays a title popup whenever you are hovering your mouse over a TinyURL link.



Tin Foil Hat – Tin Foil Hat finds out what the real destination is and makes the link display that information in a tooltip.



Bookmarklets (works in all major browsers)

Embiggen – Embiggen uses a Dapper service to expand any mysterious TinyURLs into their full version.

Bookmark this link and run on demand:





Hmm, these are great for the browsers but what if I get a TinyURL link via email, or get sent a link in an IM window?  I won’t have a chance to “reveal” it before I get redirected.  Problem solved.  TinyURL itself offers a Preview option.  When enabled, TinyURL will place a cookie on your machine and it will stop the immediate redirect, take you to the TinyURL Preview page and show you the URL that you are being redirected to.  You then can choose to continue or not.

Enable TinyURL Preview:

Disable TinyURL Preview:

Remember this is controlled with a cookie.  You have to allow the cookie and set the preference for each browser/machine that you use as your default.

Preview Example:


You must be logged in to post a comment.