URL shorteners work by creating a redirect from a shorter, unique URL to a longer one. When a user clicks on the shortened URL, they are automatically redirected to the original, longer URL. The URL shortener service maintains a database that maps the short URL to the longer one, and uses this database to perform the redirect.
Here's a basic overview of the process:
- A user submits a long URL to the URL shortener service.
- The service generates a unique, shortened URL and adds it to its database along with the corresponding long URL.
- The user is given the shortened URL, which they can share or use in place of the longer URL.
- When a user clicks on the shortened URL, the URL shortener service uses its database to look up the corresponding long URL and performs a redirect to that URL.
URL shorteners can be useful for a variety of purposes, such as shortening long, unwieldy URLs for sharing on social media or in messaging apps, or for tracking clicks on specific links.