URL shortening is the solution to the internet’s biggest problem – Remembering URLs. URL shortening means creating a very short and easy to remember URL which acts as a pointer to another URL which might be a little longer in length.
This all can be explained in a simple way, here is a link to an article about bitcoins.
Remembering and using this URL over the web may not be very convenient, so we can shorten this URL by using a URL shortening service like goo.gl or bit.ly. Once we have done that we get a URL which is this.
Both the mentioned URLs will take you to the same webpage. The second one as you can see is shorter and more convenient to use. The ultimate URL in your address bar is going to be the original one, but for convenience, you could use the shorter one.
Is this the only benefit? What are some other reasons that URL shortening is used?
Other Uses of URL shortening
Well, URL shortening can also be used for statistical analysis. Since URL shortening is a fully fledged service, the websites providing URL shortening provide you with a lot of data like how many people clicked on the link, where did they belong to, their gender, their locations etc.
How does it work
When you create a shortened URL, you need to supply an original URL to it. The URL shortening service has a database that stores both, the original and the shortened URL matched against each other. When you visit the short URL, the database fetches the long URL and redirects you to over there. Some of them even allow you to specifically define the expiry date and time of that URL.
This was a little explanation what URL shorteners are and how they work. You can try some famous URL shorteners such as goo.gl, bit.ly, tinyURL and ow.ly.