Expand shortened URLs

expandurl() { wget -S $1 2>&1 | grep ^Location; }
This shell function uses wget(1) to show what site a shortened URL is pointing to, even if there are many nested shortened URLs. This is a great way to test whether or not the shortened URL is sending you to a malicious site, or somewhere nasty that you don't want to visit. The sample output is from: expandurl http://t.co/LDWqmtDM
Sample Output
Location: http://is.gd/jAdSZ3 [following]
Location: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuOpenWeek [following]

0
By: atoponce
2011-10-18 18:50:54

3 Alternatives + Submit Alt

  • curl(1) is more portable than wget(1) across Unices, so here is an alternative doing the same thing with greater portability. This shell function uses curl(1) to show what site a shortened URL is pointing to, even if there are many nested shortened URLs. This is a great way to test whether or not the shortened URL is sending you to a malicious site, or somewhere nasty that you don't want to visit. The sample output is from: expandurl http://t.co/LDWqmtDM Show Sample Output


    5
    expandurl() { curl -sIL $1 | grep ^Location; }
    atoponce · 2011-10-19 00:56:53 10
  • This relies on a public API from http://longurl.org. So, this has the weakness that if the service disappears, the function will break. However, it has the advantage that the shortened URL service will not be tracking your IP address and other metrics, but instead will track longurl.org. Thus, you can remain anonymous from the shortened URL services (although not anonymous from longurl.org). It does no sanity checking that you have provided an argument. If you do not provide one, "message" is displayed to STDOUT. Show Sample Output


    2
    expandurl() { curl -s "http://api.longurl.org/v2/expand?url=${1}&format=php" | awk -F '"' '{print $4}' }
    atoponce · 2013-01-19 10:40:46 8
  • This shell function uses curl(1) as it is more portable than wget(1) across Unices, to show what site a shortened URL is pointing to, even if there are many nested shortened URLs. It is a refinement to www.commandlinefu.com/commands/view/9515/expand-shortened-urls to make it better for use in scripts. Only displays final result. expandurl http://t.co/LDWqmtDM Show Sample Output


    0
    expandurl() { curl -sIL $1 2>&1 | awk '/^Location/ {print $2}' | tail -n1; }
    defiantredpill · 2011-10-19 01:35:33 3

What Others Think

sweet!
linuxrawkstar · 589 weeks and 1 day ago
Nice, however with bash, you'll need a ; at the end of the grep part.
flatcap · 589 weeks and 1 day ago
Nice, But would like to see a version of this that only prints the last line and/or drops the "Location: " and " [following]" bits.
defiantredpill · 589 weeks and 1 day ago
@flatcap updated. thx. simple missing typo. glad someone is paying attention @defiantredpill seems simple enough to use by replacing grep(1) with awk(1). submit an alternative!
atoponce · 589 weeks and 1 day ago
@atoponce I forked your curl version instead, just waiting for a mod to look at it as it was my first command.
defiantredpill · 589 weeks and 1 day ago
The wget version not only prints locations, it also downloads.
wipu · 589 weeks ago
expandurl() { curl -sIL $1 2>&1 | awk '/^Location/ {print $2}' | tail -n1; }
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What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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