Hide URL’s from Crawlers Using Hides.at

Ever heard about a URL masking service? No, I am not talking about URL shorteners which can be used to shorten a long URL. A URL masking service forwards the visitor using a “Frame source” of the destination URL so that the original URL is kept hidden from the user (and from the bots as well).

URL masking is not required with regular links and in most of the cases, you can simply use rel=”nofollow” to instruct the bots from not crawling it. But if you are linking to a download page which you want to hide from the crawlers, URL masking services like Hides.at might help.

To use the site, simply paste the destination URL in the input field and click “Hide”.


You will be shown a masked or coded URL like http://hides.at/3bffcb3bf9ba5f1ed115b2904b6b2b05. Putting this address in the browser address bar will not redirect you to the original page. Instead, you will see the destination URL in text as shown below:


Since the masked URL does not redirects to any page, the search bots or web crawlers won’t be able to crawl that link. This is useful, when you want to hide suspicious links to download pages, torrent sites etc. Some forum bots crawl web links and automatically delete them at regular intervals, so you can use this service and stop worrying about broken links.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The service looks good but should have more options to choose from. I hate filling in the captcha to see the unmasked URL’s. I would love to see a bookmarklet or a browser extension being included so that I can mask and unmask URL’s on the fly.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Good).

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Amit Banerjee

Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee