My favorite shortened URL expander, UnMaskURL.com, stopped working recently. I’m not sure if it has been abandoned or if some maintenance just needs to be done. @evilfingers created this site years ago and I am thankful for the time and energy he has put into developing and maintaining a resource like this. So with UnMaskURL.com down, what are some other shortened URL expanders out there?
As discussed in our post “Determining Safe Websites in 3 Easy Steps,” using sites like UnMaskURL.com is critical to helping limit your exposure to undesirable or malicious sites. Additionally, corporate proxies often block nested shortened URLs for obvious reasons but this tends to lead to a lot of false-positives. In these cases using a site like UnMaskURL.com allows access to legitimate sites that have been accidentally blocked.
Regardless if UnMaskURL.com is down for good or just temporarily, this outage gave me a chance to investigate any new expanders that may have came about the past few years. My initial Googling turned up LongURL.org. Operational since 2008, the service currently supports over 300 shortener services and maintains a API for those that want to integrate it into their applications. After a few days of use LongURL.org did not falter once however it would be nice if the service supported https as well.
After a call out to Twitter for other suggestions, @n1tr0_Sec suggested URLXray.com and @coint3lpro mentioned CheckShortURL.com. I tested these services with several shortened URLs and both functioned as expected. URLXray.com was more clean and barebones with just a simple text field and button on a black background, focusing solely on its purpose — expanding URLs. The site also provided a bookmarklet for quick access. CheckShortURL.com was a bit more full featured with a screenshot of the page and easy access to check the site against several safe browsing services. Unfortunately, neither supported https.
Today’s post pic is from Wikipedia.org. See ya!