Do Bitly Links Expire? Exploring the Shelf Life of Shortened URLs

Published on August 20, 2023

Bitly is a popular URL shortening service that allows users to create shortened links for their long and complicated URLs. These shortened links are much easier to remember and share, making them a convenient tool for social media posts, email campaigns, and online marketing.

But do Bitly links expire? This is a question that many people often ask, especially those who rely on Bitly for their link shortening needs. The answer is yes, Bitly links do expire, but it's important to understand why and how this happens.

When you create a Bitly link, it is associated with a specific domain and a unique identifier. This identifier is what makes the link work and redirect users to the intended webpage. However, Bitly has a limited lifespan for these links, typically set to a duration of 30 days. After this period, the link will expire and will no longer redirect users to the intended webpage.

What is Bitly?

Bitly is a URL shortening service that allows you to create shorter, more manageable links. When you have a long URL that you want to share, you can use Bitly to create a shorter version of it, which is easier to remember and share with others.

One of the advantages of using Bitly is that it allows you to track the performance of your links. You can see how many people have clicked on your link, as well as when and where those clicks came from. This can be useful for monitoring the success of your marketing campaigns or tracking the popularity of your content.

Bitly links do not expire by default, meaning that they will continue to redirect to the original URL indefinitely. However, you have the option to set an expiration date for your links if you want them to stop working after a certain period of time.

In addition to URL shortening, Bitly also offers other features such as link customization, link branding, and link analytics. With link customization, you can choose a custom alias for your shortened link, making it even more memorable. With link branding, you can add your own domain to your shortened links, giving them a more professional look. And with link analytics, you can gain insights into the performance of your links and optimize your marketing efforts accordingly.

Overall, Bitly is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to create shorter, more user-friendly links and gain insights into their link performance. Whether you're a marketer, blogger, or social media user, Bitly can help you make the most out of your links.

History of Bitly

With Bitly, users can easily shorten lengthy URLs into compact and shareable links. This not only makes links more visually appealing, but also makes it easier to share them on platforms with character limits, such as Twitter.

Over the years, Bitly has evolved and expanded its services. It started as a free URL shortening service, but later introduced premium features and enterprise solutions for businesses.

One of the key features of Bitly is its ability to track click-through rates and gather analytics data for shortened links. This provides users and businesses with valuable insights into the performance of their links, helping them optimize their marketing campaigns.

Bitly has also integrated with popular social media platforms and web services, allowing users to easily share their shortened links directly from the Bitly dashboard.

Despite the evolution and expansion of the company, the core purpose of Bitly - to make URLs shorter and more manageable - remains unchanged. Bitly links are widely used in various industries, from social media marketing to email campaigns, and they have proven to be a valuable tool for driving traffic and measuring engagement.

Key Features of Bitly

Bitly is a powerful link management platform that offers a variety of features to suit your needs. Here are some key features of Bitly:

1. Link Shortening: Bitly allows you to shorten long URLs into short and concise Bitly links. These links take up less space and are easier to manage.

2. Customized URLs: With Bitly, you have the option to create custom URLs that align with your brand. This can help to establish a consistent and recognizable online presence.

3. Click Tracking: Bitly provides detailed analytics on your links, allowing you to track the performance and engagement of your content. You can see how many clicks your links are getting, where they are coming from, and when they were clicked.

4. Link Retargeting: Bitly enables you to retarget audiences based on their interaction with your links. This can help you reach specific segments of your audience and optimize your marketing efforts.

5. URL Customization: Bitly offers various options to customize your links, including adding UTM parameters, changing the destination URL, and setting expiration dates.

6. Integrations: Bitly integrates with popular platforms such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social, making it easy to share and track your links across different channels.

7. Team Collaboration: Bitly allows you to collaborate with team members by granting them access to your account. This enables seamless link management and tracking.

Overall, Bitly is a versatile tool that simplifies link management, provides valuable insights, and enhances your online marketing efforts.

How Does Bitly Work?

Bitly is a URL shortening service that allows users to create shorter, more manageable links. When a user inputs a long URL into Bitly, the service generates a shorter, unique link. This shortened link is then used instead of the original long URL.

But how does Bitly actually work? When a user clicks on a Bitly link, the link redirects them to the original long URL. This redirection is done seamlessly and instantly, without the user even noticing. Bitly tracks these clicks and provides analytics and statistics on them.

Bitly also offers the option to customize the shortened links with personalized domains, which can be beneficial for branding purposes. Additionally, Bitly provides the ability to create QR codes for the shortened links, making it easy to share links in offline formats as well.

One of the key features of Bitly is the ability to track link clicks and analytics. Users can see how many times their links have been clicked, where the clicks are coming from geographically, and other important metrics. This data can be valuable for businesses and marketers, as it provides insights into audience engagement and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Why Use Bitly?

Bitly is a popular URL shortening service that allows users to create shortened links that are easier to share and remember. One of the main reasons to use Bitly is that it provides a convenient and efficient way to shrink long and cumbersome URLs into short and concise links.

Bitly links are especially useful in situations where character count is limited, such as social media posts, text messages, or email subject lines. By shortening a URL with Bitly, you can effectively save space and make your message more concise and readable.

Additionally, Bitly provides analytics and tracking features, allowing you to monitor the performance and engagement of your shortened links. You can see how many people clicked on your links, where they came from, and other valuable data that can help you optimize your marketing efforts.

Benefits of using Bitly:

  • Improved readability: Bitly links are shorter and more user-friendly than long URLs, making them easier to read and share.
  • Increased click-through rates: Shortened links are more likely to be clicked on, as they appear less daunting and more trustworthy.
  • Custom branding: Bitly allows you to customize the end of your shortened URLs, giving you the opportunity to reinforce your brand or use recognizable keywords.
  • Link management: Bitly provides a central hub where you can organize and manage all your shortened links, making it easy to track and edit them as needed.

In conclusion, Bitly is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to simplify and optimize their link sharing and tracking process. With its URL shortening capabilities, analytics features, and other benefits, Bitly remains a reliable and popular choice in the digital marketing world.

Factors That Influence Link Expiration

Bitly links, like all links on the internet, have the potential to expire. However, whether or not a Bitly link expires depends on several factors:

1. Usage

The more a Bitly link is used and clicked on, the less likely it is to expire. Bitly links that receive a high volume of traffic are more likely to remain active for a longer period of time. On the other hand, links that are rarely used may be more prone to expiration.

2. Account Type

The type of Bitly account a user has can also influence link expiration. Free accounts have certain limitations, including link expiration after a certain period of time. However, users with premium or enterprise accounts may have the ability to extend the lifespan of their links or remove expiration altogether.

3. Link Customization

Customizing a Bitly link can also impact its expiration. By setting a custom link, users can make the link more memorable and easier to share. However, custom links are subject to the same expiration rules as regular Bitly links, so it's important to keep this in mind when customizing a link.

4. Link Management

Regularly managing and updating Bitly links can help prevent expiration. By regularly checking and refreshing links, users can ensure that their links remain active and accessible. This includes updating expired links or creating new ones if necessary.

5. External Factors

External factors such as changes in URL structure or website maintenance can also influence link expiration. If the destination URL of a Bitly link changes or becomes inactive, the link may no longer be valid. Additionally, if the Bitly platform undergoes changes or experiences technical issues, it could affect link expiration.

In conclusion, while Bitly links have the potential to expire, several factors can influence their lifespan. By understanding these factors and taking appropriate measures, users can maximize the longevity of their Bitly links.

Factors Impact on Link Expiration
Usage Less usage increases the likelihood of expiration
Account Type Premium or enterprise accounts may allow for link lifespan extension
Link Customization Custom links are subject to the same expiration rules as regular Bitly links
Link Management Regularly updating and managing links helps prevent expiration
External Factors Changes in URL structure or website maintenance can affect link expiration

Link Expiration Settings

Bitly links do have the capability to expire, allowing users to set a specific duration after which the links will no longer be accessible. This feature can be useful in situations where the content being shared has a limited lifespan or needs to be restricted to a certain timeframe.

When creating a Bitly link, users can choose to set an expiration date and time for the link. This can be done by accessing the link settings and selecting the desired date and time for the link to expire. Once the expiration date and time are set, the link will automatically become inaccessible once that time has passed.

By default, Bitly links do not expire and will remain active indefinitely. However, with the link expiration settings, users have the flexibility to set a specific timeframe for their links to remain active. This can be particularly beneficial for time-sensitive promotions, limited-time offers, or any content that needs to have an expiration date.

It's worth noting that link expiration settings are only available for Bitly links created within a user's account. If a Bitly link has been shared publicly and users access it through another platform, such as social media or email, the link will still be accessible even if it has expired within the user's account.

Overall, link expiration settings provide Bitly users with greater control over the lifespan of their shared content. By setting an expiration date and time, users can ensure that their links only remain active for a specific period, adding an extra layer of security and enhancing the overall user experience.

Link Analytics and Reporting

As a Bitly user, one of the key features you can take advantage of is the link analytics and reporting tools they provide. These tools allow you to gain valuable insights into how your links are performing and how users are interacting with them.

By using Bitly, you can track important metrics, such as click-through rates, the number of clicks over time, and even the geographic location of your link visitors. This data can help you monitor the success of your marketing campaigns, understand which strategies are working, and make data-driven decisions to improve your future efforts.

The analytics and reporting features in Bitly also enable you to see which channels are driving the highest traffic to your links. You can determine whether most of your clicks are coming from social media platforms, email campaigns, or other sources. This knowledge allows you to focus your efforts and resources on the channels that have the greatest impact on your link engagement.

Custom Reporting

With Bitly's custom reporting capabilities, you can create personalized reports that suit your specific business needs. You have the option to choose the metrics you want to analyze, customize the time range, and even segment the data by different parameters. This level of flexibility ensures that you get the insights that matter most to you.

Whether you want to measure the success of a single link or compare the performance of multiple links, Bitly's reporting tools make it easy for you to visualize and understand the data. Their user-friendly interface and interactive charts allow you to dig deeper into your link analytics and make informed decisions to optimize your link strategies.

Link Expiration and Security

While Bitly links don't automatically expire, you have the option to set an expiration date for your links if desired. This can be useful for time-sensitive promotions or content that you want to limit access to. Once the link has expired, users will no longer be able to access the content it's linked to.

In addition to link expiration, Bitly also provides security features to protect your links. You can choose to enable link password protection or add restrictions to who can view your links. This ensures that only the intended audience can access your valuable content. By offering these security options, Bitly allows you to have more control over the privacy and accessibility of your links.

Benefits of Link Expiration

Link expiration is a valuable feature provided by Bitly. This allows users to set a specific time limit for their links to be active and accessible. There are several benefits to using link expiration:

1. Increased security: By setting an expiration date for a link, you can ensure that sensitive information or content is only accessible for a limited period of time. This can help protect against unauthorized access or sharing.

2. Better control over content: Link expiration allows you to have more control over the content you share. You can choose to make certain information or offers only available for a limited time, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging immediate action.

3. Enhanced marketing campaigns: Time-limited promotions or offers can be easily managed through link expiration. You can set specific dates for marketing campaigns, ensuring that the link is only accessible during the intended duration. This can help increase customer engagement and conversions.

4. Improved user experience: Link expiration ensures that users are accessing up-to-date and relevant content. Expired links are automatically redirected to a landing page of your choice, providing users with an explanation or alternative content.

5. Analytics accuracy: By setting links to expire, you can accurately measure engagement and campaign performance. This allows you to analyze the effectiveness of different strategies and make data-driven decisions for future marketing efforts.

In summary, link expiration provided by Bitly offers various benefits including increased security, better content control, enhanced marketing campaigns, improved user experience, and accurate analytics. By utilizing link expiration, you can optimize your online presence and make the most out of your shared content.

How to Avoid Link Expiration

Link expiration is a common problem when sharing links, especially with platforms like Bitly. However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your links don't expire and remain accessible for a longer period of time:

1. Use a custom domain:

One way to avoid link expiration is to use a custom domain for your links. Instead of using the default Bitly domain, you can use your own domain, which gives you more control over the links and their expiration dates.

2. Set a longer expiration period:

Bitly allows you to set an expiration date for your links, but you can also choose a longer expiration period. By setting a longer period, you can ensure that your links remain active for a longer duration before they expire.

3. Regularly check and update links:

It's important to regularly check your links and update them if necessary. This includes checking for any changes in the destination URL, updating any expired links, and ensuring that all your links are working properly.

4. Monitor link analytics:

By keeping track of the analytics for your links, you can identify any issues that may lead to link expiration. This can include high click-through rates, abnormal patterns, or any changes in the link's performance.

5. Consider using alternative link shortening services:

While Bitly is a popular choice for link shortening, there are other services available that may have different expiration policies. Research and consider using alternative services that better suit your specific requirements.

By following these steps, you can avoid link expiration and ensure that your shared links remain accessible to your audience for a longer period of time.

Link Refreshing

Bitly links do not expire by default, but they can become inactive if the underlying content or destination of the link changes or is deleted. However, Bitly offers a feature called "Link Refreshing" that allows users to automatically update the destination of their links if it becomes inactive.

How Link Refreshing Works

Link Refreshing is a valuable tool for businesses or individuals who rely on Bitly links for their marketing campaigns or other online activities. When a Bitly link is created, users can enable the Link Refreshing feature, which automatically monitors the destination of the link.

If the link becomes inactive or the content is removed, Bitly will attempt to find a suitable replacement or archived version of the content. This ensures that the Bitly link continues to redirect users to meaningful content, even if the original destination is no longer available.

Benefits of Link Refreshing

By enabling Link Refreshing, users can have peace of mind knowing that their Bitly links will always direct users to relevant content. This feature saves users time and effort by automatically updating links, preventing the need for manual edits or replacing outdated links.

Additionally, Link Refreshing can help maintain the credibility and professionalism of a brand or individual by ensuring that their shared links remain active and useful. It also provides a better user experience, as users are less likely to encounter broken or non-functional links when clicking on Bitly links.

In summary, Link Refreshing is a powerful feature offered by Bitly that helps ensure the longevity and usability of Bitly links. By regularly monitoring and updating the destination of links, Bitly users can maintain the effectiveness of their links and avoid potential frustration for their audience.

Custom Link Domains

In addition to providing a way to shorten URLs, Bitly also offers the option to use custom link domains. This feature allows users to create branded short links that incorporate their own domain name.

When utilizing custom link domains, the shortened links created with Bitly will still function as expected. However, instead of displaying "" or "" in the URL, the custom domain chosen by the user will be used. This can help to create a more professional and consistent branding experience for both the user and their audience.

It's important to note that custom link domains do not affect the lifespan or expiration of the shortened links. The links will still expire based on the set expiration time or if manually deactivated by the user.

Setting Up Custom Link Domains

To set up a custom link domain, users need to have control over their domain's DNS settings. They will need to create a CNAME record that points their desired subdomain to "". Bitly provides detailed instructions and support to assist users during this setup process.

Once the custom link domain is successfully set up, users can start utilizing it when creating shortened links through Bitly. This can be done either through the Bitly website or API, depending on the user's preference and integration needs.

Benefits of Custom Link Domains

Using custom link domains can offer several advantages. First and foremost, it allows businesses to maintain a consistent brand identity by incorporating their own domain into shortened links. This can help to increase brand recognition and trust among their audience.

Additionally, custom link domains can also provide a boost in click-through rates. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to click on links that appear to be from a trusted and recognizable source. By using a custom link domain, businesses can leverage their existing brand reputation to encourage more link engagement.

Overall, custom link domains offer users the opportunity to create personalized branded links while still benefiting from the features and functionality of the Bitly platform. It's a powerful tool for businesses and individuals looking to enhance their online presence.

Advantages Instructions
Maintain brand identity Step-by-step support from Bitly
Boost click-through rates Control over DNS settings
Enhance online presence Increased brand recognition

Integrations with Bitly

Bitly is a powerful URL shortening service that also provides analytics and tracking capabilities. It offers various integrations with other platforms, making it easier to manage and track your shortened links.

One popular integration is with social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social. By connecting Bitly with these platforms, you can easily schedule and share your shortened links across multiple social media accounts. This allows you to track the performance of your links directly from your social media management dashboard.

Bitly also integrates with email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. This integration allows you to shorten your links and track click-through rates in your email campaigns. You can gain valuable insights into which links are performing best and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.

Additionally, Bitly offers integration with popular content management systems like WordPress and Drupal. This integration allows you to automatically generate and track shortened links for your website content. It simplifies the process of sharing your content on social media and tracking its engagement.

In conclusion, Bitly offers a range of integrations with various platforms, enabling you to seamlessly incorporate shortened links into your marketing and content management strategies. These integrations help you track the performance of your links and optimize your marketing efforts.

Alternatives to Bitly

If you are looking for alternatives to Bitly, there are several options available that serve a similar purpose in shortening and managing links. While Bitly is a popular choice, it's important to weigh your options and choose the platform that best fits your needs.

One alternative to Bitly is TinyURL, which allows you to create short and memorable URLs. Like Bitly, TinyURL offers analytics and tracking features to help you understand how your links are performing.

Another option is, which is a link shortener provided by Hootsuite. also offers link analytics and the ability to schedule and share links across multiple platforms.

For those looking for an open-source solution, Polr is a self-hosted link shortener that provides the same functionality as Bitly. With Polr, you have full control over your links and data.

Ultimately, the choice of an alternative to Bitly will depend on your specific needs and preferences. It's important to consider factors such as analytics, ease of use, and whether you prefer a self-hosted or third-party solution.


Do Bitly links have an expiration date?

Yes, Bitly links do expire after a certain period of time.

How long do Bitly links stay active?

The lifespan of a Bitly link depends on the type of account you have. For free accounts, the links will stay active for 30 days. However, for paid accounts, the links can be set to never expire.

What happens when a Bitly link expires?

When a Bitly link expires, it will no longer redirect users to the original URL. Instead, it will display an error message or a page indicating that the link has expired.

Can I renew an expired Bitly link?

No, once a Bitly link has expired, it cannot be renewed. You will have to create a new link if you want to continue using it.

Is there a way to track expired Bitly links?

Yes, Bitly provides analytics for expired links as well. You can still view the number of clicks and other relevant data for your expired links in the Bitly dashboard.

Do Bitly links expire?

Yes, Bitly links can expire. By default, Bitly links have no expiration date and will continue to work as long as Bitly is in operation. However, the owner of a Bitly link has full control over its expiration date and can choose to set a specific date and time for it to stop working.

Is there a time limit for Bitly links?

No, there is no specific time limit for Bitly links. By default, Bitly links have no expiration date and will continue to work indefinitely. However, the owner of the link can choose to set a specific expiration date and time if they wish.

Can a Bitly link become invalid?

Yes, a Bitly link can become invalid if the owner of the link chooses to expire it. The owner has full control over the expiration date and can set a specific date and time for the link to stop working. Once a Bitly link is expired, anyone trying to access it will be redirected to a page indicating that the link is no longer active.

What happens when a Bitly link expires?

When a Bitly link expires, it will no longer redirect users to the intended destination. Instead, anyone trying to access the expired link will be redirected to a page indicating that the link is no longer active. The expiration message can be customized by the link owner to provide more information or instructions.

Can I extend the lifespan of a Bitly link?

Once a Bitly link is set to expire, its lifespan cannot be extended. Once the specified expiration date and time have passed, the link will stop working and anyone trying to access it will be redirected to a page indicating that the link is no longer active. To keep a Bitly link active indefinitely, the owner can choose not to set an expiration date.