Follow URL Redirects with Node.js

By  on  

URL shorteners are a dime a dozen these days, and it is quite nice to have a pretty URL instead of a mile long string, but there are some downsides to URL shorteners:  they can mask dangerous URLs and getting to the endpoint can be slow, since you end up making multiple requests.  And what if a shortener sold out to a porn company?!  Whoa!

A while back I wrote a post about following URLs from command line with cURL.  Since I love JavaScript and Node.js is in full flight, I want to show you linkfollower, a Node.js utility for following URL redirects and getting the final landing URL.

Start by installing linkfollower:

yarn add linkfollower
# or `npm install linkfollower`

With linkfollower installed globally, we can use the follow command to follow the series of redirects until the final URL:

# follow {url}
follow http://davidwalsh.name/css

# RESULT:
# http://davidwalsh.name/css -> 301
# https://davidwalsh.name/css -> 301
# https://davidwalsh.name/css-animation-callback -> 200

URL shorteners can be likened to a blindfold -- the promise of going one place but possible end up in another.  Using linkfollower is a good practice if you care to be secure with links.

Recent Features

  • By
    An Interview with Eric Meyer

    Your early CSS books were instrumental in pushing my love for front end technologies. What was it about CSS that you fell in love with and drove you to write about it? At first blush, it was the simplicity of it as compared to the table-and-spacer...

  • By
    How to Create a RetroPie on Raspberry Pi – Graphical Guide

    Today we get to play amazing games on our super powered game consoles, PCs, VR headsets, and even mobile devices.  While I enjoy playing new games these days, I do long for the retro gaming systems I had when I was a kid: the original Nintendo...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    NSFW Blocker Using MooTools and CSS

    One of my guilty pleasures is scoping out the latest celebrity gossip from PerezHilton.com, DListed.com, and JoBlo.com. Unfortunately, these sites occasionally post NSFW pictures which makes checking these sites on lunch a huge gamble -- a trip to HR's office could be just a click away. Since...

  • By
    “Top” Watermark Using MooTools

    Whenever you have a long page worth of content, you generally want to add a "top" anchor link at the bottom of the page so that your user doesn't have to scroll forever to get to the top. The only problem with this method is...

Discussion

  1. The request module (https://github.com/request/request) also does this very nicely with followRedirect parameter (maxRedirects is also another handy parameter to deal with loops).

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!