What is a short link

This site is all about short links, but what are they exactly?

Let’s take a closer look what a typical once.to’s short link looks like.


The ingredients are:

  • Scheme or protocol describes how the browser should communicate with the server, for regular Internet links it’s either http (the unprotected transfer protocol) or https (transfer protocol secured by SSL/TLS).
    We live in the world full of risk, hence once.to enforces the use of the protected https protocol with encryption. Meaning, even if you ever navigate to http://1e.to/e6SXXX, the first thing you’ll be redirected to the secured version of the same URL: https://1e.to/e6SXXX.
    The actual redirect to the target website from once.to happens only from secured, encrypted addresses, verified by SSL.
  • Colon (:) is a fixed element, which separates the scheme from the address.
  • Double slash (//) is another fixed element, which represents “the root of Internet”.
  • Domain or hostname is the identifier of the website serving the link.
  • The single slash divides the domain from the path on that domain. In the case of a short link, the path consists only of the…
  • Slug, the link path on our service (or your own domain). Which is what you really interested in when shortening a URL.

The domain

once.to provides you with the following two options for domain:

  • once.to (makes sense!)
  • 1e.to

Our service handles links on either of these two domains in exactly the same way, meaning one can use either of them with any short link.

Moreover, you can also register your own domain and create short links on it as if you have your own link shortener!

The slug

The slug can be also called “back-half” or “path” on similar services.

The slug is by default generated by the service automatically and consists of 6 random alphanumeric characters.

However, you can also choose your own, more descriptive slug like best-tvs-in-town, by using the New link dialog or by customizing the autogenerated slug later.

Slugs are subject to the following:

  • The minimal length of a custom slug depends on your service plan: it can be 4, 5, or 6 characters.
  • The maximal length of a custom slug is always 63 characters.
  • A slug registered without a domain must be unique throughout the service. Meaning, if someone has registered it, no one else can — so be quick with choosing your own custom slug!

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