Now that so many people are using URL shorteners like,, tiny url, and even custom urls, it’s easier to get tricked into clicking over to a phishing site or intalling malware that suddenly DMs your whole Twitter list to tell them “look at this funny picture of you!” (We know. We’ve all been there.)

unfurlr shortened url decoder | cool mom tech

There are a few different solutions, number one in my book being never click a URL from an untrusted source! 

But there’s another option for internet safety that’s new to me, which is the website Unfurlr. Here’s how it works.

Now let’s say you’re see a link somewhere like this:

You want to know what’s behind it. So you go to the Unfurlr page, type it in (or easier, cut/paste) and click “check it.” It will seem like nothing happened. But if you scroll down, you’ll find this:

unfurlr on cool mom tech

Oh! It’s just our Facebook page. So let’s go!

You can also download Unfurlr as a mobile app for iOS or Android if you want to use it on the go, and the apps give you the ability to check out QR codes too. In fact, you can use it as your default QR scanner with this extra security step built in, though I don’t come across too many QR codes that I’m scanning from sketchy sources. (If at all.)

unfurlr app for android | cool mom tech

If you’re interested, beyond the actual full URL you’ll also find info and ratings about trustworthiness, privacy, and more–but honestly, I’m finding the ratings to be a little sketchy themselves, which isn’t too surprising considering the Unfurlr algorithm is still being tinkered with. They even mention it in their own disclaimer.

Still, it can at least show you that you’re not ending up at a page that’s asking you to type in your bank account number for “verification” or will surprise you with gifs of women doing things their parents would not want to know about.  That’s usually enough for me to go on before I click over. –Liz

Unfurlr is a free service online from Mailchimp Labs, or download the free Unfurlr app for iOS or Unfurlr for Android at Google Play.