Shortening and unshortening links

Most links that are shared on social media are shortened links rather than full URLs purly because they have a smaller presence with the same effect. Links you drop into the composer when scheduling posts through Buffer are automatically shortened using the link shortener, but this can be changed if desired.

In this article:

  1. Changing your link shortener
  2. Setting up your custom link shortener
  3. Unshortening links

🎥 Keen to learn more about link shortening and Google Analytics? View our tutorial videos here!

Changing your link shortener

Link shorteners are set individually for each social channel, meaning you might use for some channels, and for others (for example). To change your link shortener, select the channel on the left hand side of your dashboard that you'd like to change, and then select the Settings tab.

Under the General tab, you'll find a section at the top called Link Shortening. In the drop down menu, you can choose between and You can also select "No Shortening" if you want to disable link shortening completely.

Link Shortening Settings in Buffer Publishing dashboard

If you have a Bitly account, you can click Connect to connect your account to Buffer and any links you create in Buffer will appear in your Bitly dashboard.

Bitly also offers the option to use your own custom link shortener if it's registered with Bitly. Please see section below for more information.

Some social networks do not support or encourage the use of link shortening. For example:

Therefore, we do not support link shortening on Pinterest, Mastodon, or Instagram in Buffer.

Setting up your custom link shortener

You must be registered with Bitly to use the custom link shortener option.

⭐️ If you have multiple Bitly accounts, logout before walking through the steps below to ensure we retrieve the correct one.

  1. Register the domain you'd like to use

It’s important to note that this domain can only be used for shortened URLs. Your short domain name needs to be 15 characters or less (including the dot and extension), or your links won’t display your custom URL.

  1. Add your domain to Bitly

You'll need to sign in or register for a Bitly account. Once you’ve logged into Bitly, you’ll need to go to Settings in the top right hand corner, and then click on the Advanced button.

Under the Branded Short Domain header, select whether you’re using your short domain for personal or business use. Bitly should then ask you to verify your email address.

  1. Create a DNS record for your domain name

The next step involves changing your DNS information. A DNS is what makes a browser point to a website, so this is where you’re telling your custom short domain to point to Bitly. To update your DNS information, you’ll need to go to the website where you registered your domain name.

Updating your DNS is typically pretty simple and should be very similar to the instruction below, even if you don’t use For customers, you would log into your account, click on your short URL, and then click on Update DNS records.

You would then need to edit the A record for your site. You can do this by changing the IP address to If there isn’t an existing A record, add a new one. Where you see host, you can either leave it blank or add an @ sign. Either option works because they do the same thing. It’s also important to note that you should only have one A record. If you have more than one A record, you should remove all of them that don’t point to Bitly’s IP address.

  1. Verify your domain ownership

Now that your A record has been added to your domain name you need to go back to the Branding Domains Settings on Bitly and click the Verify button. When you do this, your domain should then be connected to your Bitly account.

  1. Connect your Bitly account to your Buffer account

Next, log into your Buffer account, select the channel on the left hand side of your dashboard that you'd like to change, and select the Settings tab. Under the General tab, you'll find a section at the top called Link Shortening. Click Connect Bitly. Follow the steps to authorize Buffer to connect to your Bitly account.

Buffer link shortening settings Connect Bitly

  1. Try it out!

Finally, schedule a new post, paste a link into the composer, and make sure it's shortened using your new custom link shortener!

Unshortening links

Unless you have explicitly disabled link shortening for a social channel, any links you paste into the composer will be automatically shortened and the link shortener will be used by default. If you prefer the full URL, you can either unshorten URLs on a link by link basis, or turn off link shortening completely for the channel.

Unshortening individual links

If you have link shortening enabled in your channel settings, but want to occasionally leave a URL unshortened in your posts, you can use the link shortening button in the composer. If you change your mind, you can click the button again to re-shorten the link, like so:

GIF of shortening and unshortening a link using the link shortening button in the Buffer composer

Note: the Link Shortening button is only available if you have link shortening enabled within your channel Settings.

Turning off link shortening

If you know you don't want to shorten your links for a particular channel, you can head to Settings and then select No Shortening from the dropdown. None of your links for this channel will be shortened and the Link Shortening button will not appear in the composer.


❓Have a question about link shortening? Send us an email at and our Customer Advocates would love to help!

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