Type of site
|URL shortening, bookmarks|
|Key people||Mark Josephson (CEO)|
|Launched||February 12, 2008|
Bitly is a URL shortening service and a link management platform, and the company Bitly, Inc., was established in 2008. It is privately held and based in New York City. Bitly shortens 600 million links per month, for use in social networking, SMS, and email. Bitly makes money by charging for access to aggregate data created as a result of many people using the shortened URLs.
As of August 2018, Bitly had shortened over 37.5 billion URLs.
The Bitly URL shortening service became popular on Twitter after it became the default URL shortening service on the website on May 6, 2009. It was subsequently replaced by Twitter's own t.co service.
The company offers a paid solution called Bitly Enterprise that provides advanced branding features, audience intel, omnichannel campaign tracking and more. Companies can use their own custom domains to generate shortened links; for example, The New York Times uses
nyti.ms, and Pepsi uses
pep.si, Google uses
goo.gle. This allows the company to push brand awareness on services such as Twitter but use the Bitly engine to generate the shortened URLs and track marketing metrics. Bitly Enterprise also has advanced analytics features and uses Bitly data to provide advanced social insight tools for companies and brands.
The company uses HTTP 301 redirects for its links. The shortcuts are intended to be permanent and cannot be changed once they are created. URLs that are shortened with the bitly service use the
bit.ly domain or any other generic domain that the service offers.
On May 29, 2012, Bitly announced "Bitmarks", a new search feature, with enhanced public profiles and an iPhone app.
Preview short URLs
To see a short URL's information, that is to reveal or preview any Bitly URL
https://bit.ly/x just append a plus sign "
+", as in
https://bit.ly/x+, for example
https://bit.ly/1sNZMwL should be copy and pasted into the browser address bar as
This allows users to see and check the long URL before visiting it.
The .ly TLD is controlled by the Libyan government, which has previously removed one domain deemed incompatible with Muslim law.
Any shortened URL generated with Bitly can also be accessed by replacing that domain with any one of the following:
- j.mp (registered to Bitly, and using the top-level domain of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States).
- A custom domain, registered separately by the user and redirected to Bitly's servers via the DNS record.
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