Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Long URLs or Links can cause problems when sent in email programs, since many email programs try to be helpful by forcing text to fit a fixed width.
I tried to email a web page link to a group of my friends, but none of them could click on it and have it work ... it always said "page not found" or something like that. And yet the link works for me.
The link is a little lengthy, so I certainly can't expect them to type it all in. Why can't they just click to open that link, and what can I do to make it work for them?
The link broke.
No, seriously, the link was literally broken - either by your email program, or the recipients.
Here's what I mean:
Here's a really long link to a page on one of my other sites (I'll explain why I had to use another site in a moment):
At 94 characters long, that's a fairly lengthy URL.
In fact, it's too long for many email programs. Many email programs attempt to force the text in your message to be no wider than some number of characters. For example an email program might force all text to be no wider than 72 characters. For words, that's not a problem - the text is reformatted, breaking lines at the spaces between words.
What if there's no spaces?
Then many mail programs do this:
Notice how the URL has been literally broken into two at column 72.
And I do mean broken.
The problem is that even though the first 72 characters are highlighted as a link, they are incomplete. The link won't work because it doesn't include the part that was placed on the next line.
I'm almost positive that's what's happened to your links.
So, what to do?
There are a couple of services you should know about on the internet: tinyurl.com and snipurl.com. They both do, essentially, the same thing. They let you set up a short URL that you can use in place of the longer one.
Let's use TinyURL to fix this one.
If you visit tinyurl.com you'll see on the screen this box:
So instead of copy/pasting that long URL into our email, we'll copy/paste it here:
Note that the URL is so long that only the end of it shows after the paste, but that's ok. As long as the entire long URL has been pasted in there, we're ready for the next step.
Push the Make TinyURL! button to get this:
Now, you have a much shorter URL you can use:
Use this instead of the long link. Once you've set it up this way, it'll take you to the exact same place as the longer URL.
And it won't break when you send it in email.
So, why didn't I use a page on Ask Leo! as an example? Simple: I've designed the web site to be "broken link tolerant". As long as the URL has enough information that I can tell what page you're looking for, that's where you'll land. For example, these all take you to the same place:
Note: most sites do not do this! That means you need to use the tinyurl/snipurl solution I've described above.
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