URL.ie Blog

July 27, 2012
Moving to Dublin!

Category: News      

URL.ie is in the process of being moved to Dublin. During this time, all shortened URLs should still resolve as normal. Unless your network/ISP is caching DNS, you should be able to create short URLs as normal, as well.

If your ISP is caching DNS (longer than it should be), then you will be forwarded to new.url.ie for a short period (the duration of which is determined by your ISP). This is a temporary measure to offer a workaround for users on ISPs that have abnormal DNS policies, and will be retired in a few days.

This post will be updated as the various stages of the move are completed.

Update 1 [31st Jul, 3.36PM BST]: We’re switching to read-only mode, while data is being copied to new server.

Update 1 [31st Jul, 4.09PM BST]: We’ve made the move (to Dublin, Ireland). If your ISP is ignoring DNS settings and is caching the old IP address for URL.ie, you’ll be redirected to new.url.ie (for a day or two only). You should now be able to use URL.ie normally again (even if your ISP is not being nice with DNS). If not, please let us know.

May 12, 2011
“Why was my [Facebook/CraigsList/Yahoo/etc.] access blocked?”

Category: Tips      

A common question we get asked is why one’s access to a web service was blocked. The short answer is that we blocked the short web address (URL) on our service because it linked to a phishing, or fake, site. The longer explanation is as follows!

Some not-so-nice person, some where, created a phishing site designed to trick innocent users in to providing their login details to a popular web site, or web service, such as Facebook.

That person then used our free URL shortening service to create a short URL pointing to their new fake site, and include it in an email worded to trick you in to visiting that address to rectify some problem, or validate your account. Often it’s worded as an urgent security notice, or an important upgrade. To make it harder to detect, they use a forged “from”address to make it look as if the email came from Facebook (or whatever site is being attacked).

Now, replace that person with a botnet to do the dirty work en masse, and it becomes easy to send millions of mails in the hope that just a handful of recipients will fall for the trick.

We work very hard on preventing the creation of such short URLs. We can quickly identify most botnet patterns and block them before they ever get a short URL, which they can send in an email. We prevent tens of thousands such requests every day. However, there are some clever tricks used that we can’t spot straight away, which means we only get to block the URL a couple of minutes, or hours, later. That’s too late to prevent the the short URLs being sent in an email, which means that by the time you get the email, the URL will likely have been blocked, leading to the blocked message on our website that you see.

So, it’s not that your Facebook/other site’s account is compromised, or blocked in any way. It’s just that someone tricked you in to thinking it was a legitimate email about your account, that led you to a URL created on our free service. However, that URL has since been blocked because it was identified as pointing to a fake/phishing website, which is why you see the message.

On one side, you can consider yourself lucky that we blocked the URL, so you didn’t hand over any personal details to the fake site. On the other hand we’re sorry it got to the stage that our service could be used in such a way in the first place. Most of our development effort is identifying patterns of such abuse to prevent it (rather than just relying on blocking it later). We think we fair well compared to our bigger competitors in this regard, if it’s of any consolation.

Always check what address you click, in an email; even if it appears to be from a friend/colleague.


May 25, 2010
Status update on URL.ie accounts

Category: News      

We’ve been getting quite a few queries about our beta program for URL.ie accounts. As URL.ie is a free web service, paid-work takes precedence. Don’t take that to mean we don’t care, or don’t commit to providing a reliable shortening service 24/7; but it does mean new feature roll-outs can be held up by “real world” work!

We’ve done our testing, and are happy with the whole process. Our stats are using too much resources, however, so we’re battling with what to do here. While we chew on that, we’ll roll out simple stats and accounts for all, with detailed stats disabled for now. Reduced being the just the number of clicks / last click.

As of now, the beta program is closed. We’ll start to roll out “accounts for all” in the next few weeks. We have a bit of work to do on caching before we can flip the switch, but we’re nearly through all that!

Shorten a URL with just a quick prepend to any URL

Category: Tips      

We’ve had this service for a while, but only announcing it now (because j.mp stole some of our thunder!). Given any URL (in your address bar), just type “00.ie/” before it, hit enter, and URL.ie will give you your shortened URL.

You’ll need JavaScript enabled for full compatibility. It’ll still work without JavaScript, but anchors won’t work and some query strings might break.

So, type 00.ie/ before your URL, to get your shortened one (automatically linked to your URL.ie account, if you’re logged in at the time). That’s two zeroes, not two of the letter ‘o’! For example, to shorten the URL of this post, use 00.ie/http://blog.url.ie/2010/05/shorten-a-url-with-just-a-quick-prepend-to-any-url/#comments.

May 24, 2010
Using URL.ie in TweetDeck (for Desktops)

Category: API,Tips      

Since version 0.34.1, TweetDeck for desktops, an Adobe Air application, has included support for custom URL shortening services. We’ve made a few tweaks to our API (to include a TinyURL.com-compatible API), so that URL.ie can now be used with TweetDeck! Good news, eh? Read on to find out how to set it all up! (more…)

Hello URLs!

Category: News      


I’m Cathal, and I’ll be introducing you to news and tips from the crew behind URL.ie over the next while. We’ve implemented some exciting features, and have more to come. Our biggest challenge is bringing new features but to a free service, so we can’t get to everything we’d like to.

Subscribe to the RSS feed for news on latest features, and some usage tips. We’ll also be adding help content for the existing features of URL.ie over the next few weeks, so check back when you can!