Sep 03, 2022

Best URL Shortener – Top 3 Picks of 2022, Buyers’ Guide, FAQs & More   

best url shortener

It’s important to conduct thorough research to find the best URL shortener for your particular needs.

As a brand, you want a URL shortener that can not only shorten URLs but also track them and provide you with insightful visitor data.

In this post, we will discuss the factors you must look for in a URL shortener and analyze our top 3 picks that you can choose from.

Recommended URL Shortener


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Pixelfy is an all-rounder when it comes to features that a URL shortener service should have. It’s quick and simple, but at the same time, it has tracking, deep linking, and other features that make it a great choice for digital marketers. Beginners and veterans can both get a lot of use out of it.

What Makes a Great URL Shortener? 

In this section, we will discuss how you can assess what your needs are and then analyze URL shortener tools to identify the best one for yourself. 

Most importantly: 

We will compare the top three URL shorteners to help you make an informed choice: 

You need to conduct thorough research to determine which tool would be best for your particular needs. You don’t want to spend money on a URL shortener tool that does not have all the features that you need for a successful marketing campaign. 

Hence, make sure to consider all the factors provided below before you opt for a certain URL shortener. 


First things first, you must determine the budget of your brand and how much you can realistically allocate per month for a URL shortener plan. 

As we discussed above, you have several options to choose from in terms of URL shortener services and the plans that they have to offer. Hence, you must first assess your budget and then look for a URL shortener plan that fits well within that budget. 

Quick tip: When you’re first starting out as a small brand, you can get away with using a free plan for a URL shortener service. 

They don’t have a lot of features to offer, but they are often enough for you to get your feet off the ground. 

Then, once you start to generate some revenue, you can set some funds aside every month for a paid URL shortener plan.

This is exactly how you will slowly scale your business up to include a larger audience and hopefully, you’ll see a steady increase in sales.

The Community’s Thoughts on URL Shortener Pricing

When it comes to the community and what it thinks of the pricing of URL shorteners, many of them feel that the basic service should be free. Indeed, most generic URL shorteners out there are free. 

However, if a URL shortener offers a paid service, most consumers expect it to have well-defined features and tools that do a lot more than just URL shortening. 

This would include features such as: 

  • Analytics 
  • Tracking 
  • Reporting 
  • Retargeting 

And much more. 

The Community’s Thoughts on URL Shortener Pricing

Only then do consumers feel that the paid plans and pricing structures of URL shorteners are warranted. 

Our Thoughts on URL Shortener Pricing

Our Thoughts on URL Shortener Pricing

We definitely concur with the feelings of the community when it says that a simple generic URL shortener is not worth paying for. 

If you intend to charge people monthly for your URL shortener service, you better have some more in-depth features to justify it. 

Ultimately, a paid URL shortener service should have all the features needed to compose and successfully run digital marketing campaigns. 

Hence, features such as link tracking and analytics are an absolute must for paid URL shorteners. Additionally, of course, custom domains are something that all paid URL shorteners should have as well. 

If you’re paying for a URL shortener service and you’re having trouble managing your marketing campaigns due to its limited features, you need to change services. 

The Best URL Shortener in Terms of Pricing 

Naturally, all major URL shortener services out there have a variety of paid plans for you to choose from. 

  • Pixelfy’s price plans range from $19.99 per month to $99.99 per month.
  • Bitly’s price plans go up to $199 per month.
  • Rebrandly’s price plans go up to $499 per month.

It’s important to note while the latter two have free plans, those free plans are typically not enough for brands. This is because they do not come with the analytics and tracking features that we discussed above. 

You can’t get away with free plans if you intend to use URL shorteners for your brand. 

Hence, you have to opt for at least the standard or basic plan that is offered by a URL shortener service. 

When it comes to the standard plans: 

  • Pixelfy’s costs $19.99 per month 
  • Bitly’s costs $29 per month 
  • Rebrandly’s costs $89 per month 

When we look at this list, we can clearly tell that Pixelfy is the cheapest. 

Not only is it the cheapest but it has the best value too since you get the highest number of features compared to the other two services. 

This is something we will explore further as we look at other features offered (and not offered) by these URL shorteners. 


As a brand or a person that wants to promote a service or product, it’s highly important that the URL shortener service you go for can create custom shortened URLs. 

Custom shortened URLs are also sometimes known as branded URLs. These are shortened URLs that you can customize and are linked with custom domains. These custom domains often denote the name of your brand or some type of abbreviation of it. 

Your shortened links must reflect your brand’s identity. 

Thus, any URL shortener tool that you opt for should have extensive customizability options when it comes to shortened links. 

You should be able to link it with your custom domain, and then you should be able to customize the latter section of the shortened link as well. This allows you to create links that are memorable and invoke consumer trust. 

The truth is:

Such links tend to have higher click-through rates and are also good for SEO. Thus, they are extremely desirable for brands, digital marketers, and influencers.

The Community’s Thoughts on URL Shortener Customizability

Naturally, the ability to customize your shortened links so they can represent your branding is highly desirable. It’s something that every brand needs so that they’re not advertising the URL shortener service rather than their own brand with their shortened links. 

Not only does the community want easy access to custom domains but they also want it at a reasonable price. 

Our Thoughts on URL Shortener Customizability

Most URL shorteners out there do not allow you to connect custom domains for free. For that, you’ll most likely have to opt for a paid plan. However, customers expect that paid plan to not be too expensive. 

Most URL shorteners are favored where one or more custom domains are allowed to be connected with the basic or standard plan. 

Our Thoughts on URL Shortener Customizability

The ability to customize your shortened links and connect custom domains is absolutely essential for brands utilizing URL shorteners. 

The point of connecting a custom domain is so that that particular domain can be used for your shortened links rather than the URL shortener tool’s domain. The custom domain you connect usually represents your brand in some way. 

Not only is it important that you are able to connect a custom domain but a URL shortener tool should also give you the freedom to customize it completely. This means that the latter part of the link should also be customizable and subject to change. 

The ideal URL shortener tool gives the user complete control over a branded link. 

This allows brands to easily tailor their branded links to build trust among consumers and enhance their brand image.

The Best URL Shortener in Terms of Customizability

The best URL shortener in terms of customizability is Pixelfy since it allows you to change your custom URLs in many different ways. 

You can: 

  • Connect a custom domain or subdomain for a customized shortened URL. 
  • Customize your Social Sharing Thumbnail. 
  • Add a Tracking Code to your shortened link.
  • Add and/or adjust settings for Link Expiration.
  • Add UTM tags or parameters to your shortened link where required.
  • Activate or Deactivate the Deep Linking option.
  • Activate the Geolocational Targeting setting.
  • Activate the Link Cloaking setting.
  • Activate the Android and iOS Targeting setting.
  • Make the shortened link part of one of your Campaigns. You can add it to an existing campaign or create a whole new campaign that the shortened link can be a part of. 

And a whole lot more. 

Furthermore, all this customization is available in the cheapest Professional plan. 

Tracking and Reporting Features

When you’re a brand looking to promote a service or product, it’s important that you’re able to track the performance of your links through software. 

Traditionally, this can be done by adding UTM parameters to your long URL and then studying analytics through Google Analytics. 

However, URL shortener services these days come with built-in analytics that can be studied without adding UTM parameters. 

It’s essential to track performance to ensure the growth of your brand. 

Not only do such URL shortener services provide you with basic metrics such as the number of clicks but they also offer other metadata related to the visitors. This includes their geographic location and other metrics such as age, gender, etc. 

Such data can be crucial when it comes to identifying target audiences and determining what type of content resonates most with what type of person. This helps to drive sales and increase brand awareness.

The Community’s Thoughts on URL Shortener Tracking and Analytics

Tracking and analytics still remain features of URL shorteners that only veterans know the true potential of. The brands that have analytics and tracking features figured out take full advantage of them.

Experienced brands ensure that the URL shortener services they use have adequate tracking features. This allows them to adjust their campaigns according to analytics and even plan better campaigns in the future. 

Furthermore, such analytics also allow you to identify broken links or when your shortened links are blocked on certain websites. This can help you adjust your approach so it doesn’t happen again in the future. It’s something that the community values highly. 

Our Thoughts on URL Shortener Tracking and Analytics

Our Thoughts on URL Shortener Tracking and Analytics

In our opinion, tracking and analytics are arguably the most important asset that URL shorteners have to offer to their users. These are extremely powerful tools that can allow you to conduct thorough audience research. 

You can find out a wide variety of things about your audience if you study your analytics properly such as: 

  • The number of clicks 
  • The number of impressions
  • The number of shares 
  • The locations of visitors 
  • Age demographics 
  • Gender demographics 

And a whole lot more. 

All this data that URL shorteners are able to accumulate can be smartly used by brands to refine their marketing approach. Thus, securing a much more substantial section of their target market. 

The Best URL Shortener in Terms of Tracking and Analytics

Pixelfy has the best tracking and analytics reporting tools out there. 

Not only can you track shortened link performance with ease but you can generate reports with all sorts of key data to help you make smart decisions. 

These can be decisions related to whether or not you want to continue a certain marketing campaign as is or if you want to make changes to it. 

That’s not all. 

You also get access to user data and the visitors you get on your website through your shortened links. This data can then be used to create more personalized ads and campaigns that have a much higher chance of resonating with your target audience.

Link Rotation and Swapping Capabilities

These features are not essential, but they can be extremely useful and are definitely desirable in any URL shortener service you choose. 

Link rotation allows you to have a shortened link that can lead to two or more different web pages (or different versions of the same web page). This feature can be useful for performing A/B testing as well as for running giveaways or competitions. 

Link swapping allows you to change the destination URL of a certain shortened link that you created in the past. This is extremely useful if a destination URL gets changed or no longer exists. 

You can change it to something else to prevent the shortened link from leading to a broken web page.

The Community’s Thoughts on Link Rotation and Swapping

When it comes to link swapping, that’s something that the community expects all URL shorteners to have. Not even just the paid URL shorteners but even the free ones as well. 

People expect that if they’d like to go and change the destination URL of a previously shortened link, they should be able to do so. If a URL shortener does not provide users with this feature, it’s definitely looked down upon. 

On the other hand, link rotation is not something that many common users expect and that’s why many mainstream URL shorteners don’t have it. At least not in their standard plans.

Our Thoughts on Link Rotation and Swapping

In our opinion, both link swapping as well as link rotation are features that should be present in the base version of your URL shortener tool. By this, we mean that both features should be available in the standard plan for a URL shortener. 

This is because link rotation is necessary to perform effective A/B testing. This is something that’s crucial for brands to run effective tests so that they can identify the content that best resonates with their target audience. 

It’s an essential marketing tool and we feel that URL shorteners should strive to be the ultimate marketing helper for brands. 

The Best URL Shortener in Terms of Link Rotation and Swapping

When it comes to link swapping, you can change the destination URL for your previously shortened links with all 3 of the URL shorteners mentioned. 

Hence, they’re pretty much equal when it comes to link swapping since you can do it with all three of them. 

However, when we look at link rotation, we’ll see that a very clear winner rises up. 

Pixelfy allows link rotation in its cheapest Professional ($19.99) plan. 

On the other hand, the other two URL shortener services do not have link rotation capabilities at all. 

If you really want to use them for link rotation, then you can look up their APIs and build a link rotator yourself. However, as you can probably tell, that’ll take a lot of time and effort. It’s most likely that you won’t have that if you’re busy trying to market your brand.

Deep Linking Capabilities

Deep linking greatly enhances the user’s experience and it’s something that you should always choose to have when it comes to shortened links. It’s something that’s important for influencer marketing, call-to-action marketing and similar forms of digital marketing.

Essentially, what deep linking means is that when a user clicks on your shortened link, it opens in-app rather than in a web browser. This leads to a much more streamlined and less frustrating user experience. 

The smoother the user’s experience, the higher the chances that they’ll interact with your content. 

Thus, this is something that is highly desirable in any URL shortener that you choose. 

The Community’s Thoughts on Mobile Deep Linking

Mobile deep linking is just one of those things that users never think about whereas it’s something that’s highly cherished by brands and developers. 

Users don’t think about it because that’s exactly the point of mobile deep linking: To streamline the user’s experience. When the experience is smooth and simple, the user does not even think about it and focuses on the brand. 

On the other hand, if mobile deep linking is not present, the user may be annoyed and may not even bother checking out your content. 

Our Thoughts on Mobile Deep Linking

Once again, many digital marketers, brand owners, influencers and entrepreneurs fail to understand the importance of mobile deep linking. 

It allows for a much smoother experience for the user and because of this, they are much more likely to interact with your brand. On the other hand, if they have an annoying browser window pop up when they click on your shortened link, there’s a high chance they’ll simply close it. 

Furthermore, since they’ll have that negative experience in their head, they might not interact with future ads they see for your brand online either. 

This can have great negative impacts for your brand growth. 

Thus, we feel that mobile deep linking is a very important feature that should be included in URL shorteners for everyone to use. 

The Best URL Shortener in Terms of Mobile Deep Linking

To start off, we must say that all 3 URL shorteners that we are looking at today have mobile deep linking capabilities. 

However, the winner becomes clear when you look at what paid plans actually have mobile deep linking available to users. 

When it comes to Pixelfy, you get mobile deep linking in the cheapest plan that costs $19.99 per month. 

On the other hand, for Bitly, if you want mobile deep linking, you’ll need to cough up $199 every month. For Rebrandly, it’s even worse because to get mobile deep linking, you’ll need their Premium plan which costs $499 per month. 

Hence, if you want easy and cheap access to create deep links for your users, then Pixelfy is definitely the best choice. 

Link Retargeting 

This is another super important feature that’s, surprisingly, not present in many paid URL shortener services today. 

Link retargeting refers to having a retargeting pixel or a piece of code within your shortened link. When a user clicks on it, they are tagged with that retargeting pixel. 

You can then use this retargeting pixel to serve ads to them at a later time. That user has already interacted with your content in the past (they clicked on your shortened link). Thus, they’ll have a much higher chance of interacting with your retargeted ad when they see it. 

It’s been proven time and time again that consumers tend to interact with brands they have seen before or are familiar with. 

Thus, link retargeting is a powerful tool to convert potential customers and increase revenue. 

The Community’s Thoughts on Link Retargeting 

The potential and effectiveness of link retargeting are not things that are lost on the community.

The Community’s Thoughts on Link Retargeting 

They are fully aware of how they can help increase their growth, sales and thus, revenue. Hence, it’s definitely a feature that the community desires within their marketing tools. 

If it’s present in their URL shortener, it makes it a lot more convenient since the pixels can be embedded straight into their branded links. 

Our Thoughts on Link Retargeting 

Again, we feel that at this point in the digital age, link retargeting is a fairly convenient and effective method to secure customers. 

Furthermore, it’s something that makes sense for a URL shortener to have. 

After all, if you’re generating links, why not have the feature to add retargeting pixels to those links? It makes complete sense and they can be easy to track along with the URL shortener’s tracking features as well. 

Thus, we definitely feel that link retargeting is something that should be present in standard plans for URL shorteners. This is so that even smaller companies and startups can utilize them to grow and make a name for themselves in their particular niche. 

The Best URL Shortener According to Link Retargeting 

To start off, Bitly is immediately out of the race since it does not offer retargeting pixels for its shortened links in any of its plans. It’s a feature that’s not available at all with Bitly. 

On the other hand, both Pixelfy, as well as Rebrandly, offer retargeting features to their users. 

Again, the difference here that determines the winner is the price that you must pay to acquire link retargeting. 

With Pixelfy, it’s $19.99 per month whereas, with Rebrandly, it’s $89 per month. 

Hence, if you want link retargeting and also want to save your money, then Pixelfy is definitely the better option. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Best url shortener

How does a URL Shortener Work? 

When you enter a long URL into a URL shortener tool, it generates a shortened URL. 

This shortened URL is a redirect link to the web page that the original long URL points to. Since the shortened URL also leads to the same web page, you can use that instead of the long, ugly-looking URL.

How does URL Redirection Work?

Redirect links typically have a status code that starts with 3 and a location header that contains the URL they are supposed to redirect to. 

When a browser receives a redirect link, it immediately looks at the location header and takes the user to the URL provided in it.

Why Should I Use a URL Shortener? 

There are several reasons to use a URL shortener. For personal use, you can use it for ease and convenience. Shortened URLs are also much easier to remember than longer ones. 

When it comes to commercial or marketing use, they are borderline essential. This is because consumers are much less trustworthy of long, ugly URLs compared to neat, short ones.

How is a URL Different from an Email Address? 

A URL is the address of a resource on the internet, such as a website, blog, etc. You enter it into a browser in order to go to that resource. 

On the other hand, an email address refers to an account on a mail server. 

You can identify the difference because an email address has the “@” symbol in it whereas a URL does not.

What is a Vanity URL?

A vanity URL is just another name for a custom or branded shortened URL. They are utilized by brands to construct shortened links that carry their brand identity. 

Final Verdict

With our top 3 picks analyzed based on the most important factors they should have for a brand, we feel that Pixelfy definitely comes out on top. 

This is because it has a few features that none of its competitors have (e.g., link rotation). Furthermore, it has many features (mobile deep linking, link retargeting, etc.) that are available for much cheaper compared to many of its competitors.

Hence, if you want the best bang for your buck to get your brand off the ground with shortened URLs, do consider Pixelfy. 

Which URL shortener do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments section below.