What is Twitter’s link service (http://t.co)? Below are some frequently asked questions about t.co, Twitter’s link-shortening service.
Twitter wraps all links posted to Twitter with their own http://t.co shortener. This results in all clicks jumping through one additional hop (t.co) before ending up at their final destination. However, all clicks will continue to pass through any third party link shortener you are using (dlvr.it or bit.ly, for example) and you will continue to enjoy click stats from these providers.
Clicks on links posted to Twitter will follow this path: 1) first users will go through t.co, then 2) redirect to your shortened link (dlvr.it, bit.ly, etc.), then 3) pass through to your full / expanded URL.
This means your link shortening service (dlvr.it or bit.ly) will continue track and record clicks on your items posted to Twitter.
Keep in mind, when viewing your tweets at twitter.com website, your readers will continue to see links with any vanity / custom domain you are using. However, when viewing your tweets away from twitter’s website — in say their mobile reader — readers may see a t.co link. Again, no matter what is displayed, clicks will first pass to t.co, then to your short url, then to your long / expanded URL.
How does link shortening work?
Links shared on Twitter, including links shared in Direct Messages, will automatically be processed and shortened to an http://t.co link. Learn how to shorten links. Please note: anyone with a t.co shortened link will be able to navigate to the destination URL.
Why does Twitter have its own link shortener?
- Shortened links allow you to share long URLs in a Tweet while maintaining the maximum number of characters for your message.
- Our link service measures information such as how many times a link has been clicked, which is an important quality signal in determining how relevant and interesting each Tweet is when compared to similar Tweets.
- Having a link shortener protects users from malicious sites that engage in spreading malware, phishing attacks, and other harmful activity. A link converted by Twitter’s link service is checked against a list of potentially dangerous sites. Users are warned with the error message below when clicking on potentially harmful URLs.
If the URL of a site you manage has been flagged, please see this help page about flagged URLs for more information.
Can I opt out of link shortening when I post links on Twitter?
Because of the reasons listed above, Twitter will shorten URLs you post on Twitter. You cannot opt out of link shortening.
Can I still use a URL shortener (like bit.ly) to shorten links?
If you want to shorten links to share with others, please see this help page on how to post links on Twitter. You can continue to use a URL shortener to shorten links, and tracking metrics (like those from bit.ly) will continue to work as they did previously. The link service at http://t.co is only used on links posted on Twitter and is not available as a general shortening service on other apps or sites.