This URL shortener situation is officially out of control
I saw a URL today on Twitter to an article on Slate.com. It was a custom short URL - http://slate.me/1h0svt8 but since I was visiting it via Twitter, it was wrapped with Twitter's t.co URL, so I really started at http://t.co/sxSvcJnT2L.
When I visited it for the FIRST time, I got this lovely HTTP interaction. That's SEVEN HTTP 301s, count them, 7, before I get to the destination page.
It would have been 8 redirects if I'd counted t.co as well. Note also that after it bounced around three of Slate's URL shorteners, it also goes through goog.gl as well.
- t.co is twitter's URL shortener that acts as a "safety gate" that allows Twitter to shut down a bad URL at the Twitter level. This means Twitter can stop malware faster, they say.
- trib.al is a URL shortener that provides marketing analytics. They are bouncing me around in order to set marketing cookies because it's the first time they've seen me.
- goo.gl is what you'd think it is, it's Google's URL shortener.
That's a lot of back and forth just to get me a a web page. And getting me a web page is kind of the most important thing the web does. Redirects are being abused and I don't see any work happening in HTTP 2.0 to change it.
The second request to the same URL is better, but still frustratingly indirect.
Every redirect is a one more point of failure, one more domain that can rot, one more server that can go down, one more layer between me and the content.
Oh, and just to be obnoxious, I've created http://hnsl.mn/thisurlisverysmall to make the point. Tweet it!
If you prefer long URLs, you can also get to this post from
What do you think?
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