long URL problem

The Solution to URLs so Long They Reach the Sky

Emails can have tons of problems. They can get caught in spam filters. Or get misformatted. Or possibly implode. (OK, maybe not.) But here’s something you may or may not think of as a problem with email–really, really, really long URLs. Why is this a problem and what’s your long URL solution? Well, read on.

The Long URL Problem

They Can Sometimes Break

If you paste a long URL into your email, and then it gets reformatted and squished, it may break in half, meaning it won’t get translated into a clickable link.

So what should be this: https://www.mail-list.com/listserv-management-software/

Becomes this: https://www.mail-list.com/

listserv-management-software/

And people get confused!

They Take Up a Lot of Space

Even if they don’t break, long URLs are just that–long. Which means they look like this in your email client:

a-very-long-url-mdash-inbox

Mac Mail

The Long URL Solution

URL Shorteners

The usual solution for a long URL is to use an URL shortener like Bitly or TinyURL. With these sites, you paste your URL in and it comes out with a short version. So you could paste in: https://www.mail-list.com/listserv-management-software/

And get:

http://bit.ly/2he9k4q

Which is great! And very handy for sites like Twitter. The only problem with this method is that your reader can’t tell where the URL is going. It might lead to evil viruses. So you have to hope they trust you.

Brackets

So how do you keep your URLs whole without using an URL shortener? Well, if don’t care about the looks of your URLs and just want to make sure that your URL doesn’t break, you can just put brackets around your URL instead.

Like this: <https://www.mail-list.com/listserv-management-software/>.

This should signal to any email readers that they should break the URL.

Still having problems with your long URLs? Have another solution? Tell us in the comments below.

Miranda Regan

Miranda Regan

Freelance Writer & Editor at mirandaregan.com
A freelance editor who also writes about people, tech, English grammar, and anything else she can cram into a paragraph, Miranda's been hopping around online communities since she was 11 and wasn't allowed to play Neopets.

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Miranda Regan

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