Universal Bypass is an open source browser extension for the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers that bypasses intermediary pages created by link shorteners so that you don't have to interact with these pages and get to the actual target of the link right away.
Two types of URL shortening services exist on the Internet: services that provide a short version of any URL and redirect users directly to the link target on load, and services that display intermediary pages, usually filled with advertisement or requests to sign-up.
The first type may provide analytics data to companies, the second type can do that and be annoying at the same time as you are not taken directly to the link target but need to wait or interact with the intermediary page before you are taken there.
Universal Bypass works automatically after installation. Target URLs are opened directly when you open a link of any URL shortening service that it supports. While you may see the intermediary page for a brief moment, you will be redirected to the target URL automatically by the extension.
In other words: you don't need to interact with the page in any way, e.g. press a button, or wait a certain time limit before you may open the link target.
The browser extension supports more than two dozen URL shorteners that it can bypass. The list includes popular services such as adf.ly, adfoc.us, linkbucks, linkshrink, or GemPixel URL Shortener templates.
The full list of supported services is listed on the developer website linked below in the summary box and on the extension's profile page on Mozilla's or Google's store.
Universal Bypass supports custom bypasses that you may add to the extension. A click on the extension's icon and the selection of options opens the page where you can configure custom bypasses for services.
New services get added to the extension regularly, however, and you may forward services to the developer of the extension as it may be included in future updates if there is enough interest for a particular service.
Universal Bypass is a useful extension for Firefox and Chrome -- it may work in other browsers based on Firefox or Chrome code -- that bypasses intermediary pages of URL shortener services automatically. It is only useful to users who are exposed to these kind of links regularly.
Now You: How do you handle short URLs created by link services?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.