[STUDY] Google URL Shortener, Goo.gl is Fastest

Recently, Google has introduced its URL shortener, Goo.gl that is open for everyone. It has given its own website very similar to that of Bit.ly’s. Earlier, this service was only available for the Google’s own services.

A statement made by the Google states, “we want this URL shortener to be the steadier, fastest and most secure on the web.”

Pingdom used its own monitoring service to monitor the performance and reliability together with other URL shortening services such as bit.ly, TinyURL etc for a couple of weeks right after the Goo.gl became available.

Testing What Matters

The main focus was to check the reliability and performance of shortened URLs, i.e. to check how much overhead does the different URL add and either they work or not. Let us take it in this way that our major concern is to compare the time it takes to go to a site directly with the time it takes to go to a site by means of URL shortener.

There are many URL shorteners that are application-specific such as t.co of Twitter, wp.me of WordPress.com and so on. These shorteners don’t allow you to create your own short URLs and hence are not included in this test. This test was based on comparable services like Goo.gl and Bit.ly.

The chain of these continuous tests spread out over 25 locations scattered over North America and Europe. The tests were performed every minute for 15 days, so the results given are for the 21,600 tests per URL shortener.

Performance Overhead

What actually happens is that instead of going directly to the site, the overhead first have to ask the servers of the URL shortener about their destination and eventually these are redirected to the actual target.

You can clearly see that the overhead adds vary a lot not just between various URL shorteners but also between diverse geographical regions.

The chart reading will show you the extra time a URL shortener adds when reaching a site. The list is sorted in a descending order of total average.

A few observations:

  • The test results reveal that Goo.gl is 3x times faster than Bit.ly. You can see a big difference outside North America, where Goo.gl is more than 4x faster. This might be due the fact that Google has more servers in more locations. Goo.gl is 2x faster in North America because Bit.ly has its server in North America.
  • An interesting number you can see in the graph where Goo.gl was beaten by Is.gd in Europe. This might be due to the fact that Is.gd has more servers in Europe than Google.
  • Where there is a close competition, you can see a drastic difference between the European and North American results for the Goo.gl and Twurl. In this case, Goo.gl is almost 9x faster than Twurl.

*2x faster means, “The same thing adds half as much overhead.”


You have just seen the performance overheads in the above chart; the following are given the statistics for the reliability of these URL services.

Forwarding reliability for URL shorteners, October 12 – October 27, 2010
URL Shortener Uptime Estimated downtime in a year (hours)
Goo.gl 100.00% 0.0
Bit.ly 100.00% 0.0
Is.gd 99.99% 0.9
TinyURL 99.95% 4.4
Ow.ly 99.95% 4.4
Snipurl 99.52% 42.0
Twurl 99.29% 62.2

Once again we want to clear here that the “estimated downtime in a year” is based on 15 days of monitoring and therefore the estimated uptime is also based on this testing period.

*Bit.ly, Goo.gl and Is.gd seem in close proximity in terms of their availability.

*TinyURL and Ow.ly are also acceptable with 99.95% uptime.


Undoubtedly, the statistics shows that Google indeed has managed to create a very fast URL shortener. Google clearly overshadows the other services in this test.

It is important to mention here that speed isn’t necessarily everything as many people use URL shorteners for various reasons. Therefore, on the basis of statistics given in this article we cannot say that goo.gl is the best URL shortener. However, it is the fastest and makes us realize that Google has delivered what the promised.

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Filed in: Featured, Google, Research Tags: , , ,

One Response to "[STUDY] Google URL Shortener, Goo.gl is Fastest"

  1. Zaheer says:

    I never heard about this one. I always use tiny url and some others. Good research.

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