A URL shortener is a service that takes a long URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and converts it into a shorter, more compact version. The shortened URL redirects users to the original long URL when clicked.
Here’s a general overview of how a URL shortener typically works:
User submits a long URL: The user provides the long URL that they want to shorten to the URL shortening service.
Generating a shortened URL: The URL shortener service takes the provided long URL and generates a unique, shortened URL. This shortened URL is usually much shorter than the original URL, making it easier to share and remember.
Storing the mapping: The URL shortener service maintains a mapping between the shortened URL and the original long URL. This mapping is stored in a database or some other data storage system. The shortened URL is associated with the original URL so that when the shortened URL is accessed, it can be redirected to the correct long URL.
Redirecting to the original URL: When someone clicks on the shortened URL, their web browser sends a request to the URL shortener service. The URL shortener service looks up the corresponding long URL based on the shortened URL in its database. It then sends a redirect response (typically HTTP 301 or 302 status code) to the user’s browser, instructing it to navigate to the original long URL.
Tracking and analytics (optional): Some URL shorteners offer additional features, such as tracking the number of clicks on a shortened URL or providing analytics about the users who clicked on the link. These features can provide insights into the popularity and effectiveness of the shared links.
Overall, a URL shortener simplifies long URLs, making them more manageable and shareable. It achieves this by generating a unique shortened URL and maintaining a mapping between the shortened URL and the original long URL to redirect users to the desired destination.