Redirect URLs With These Chrome Extensions

If you're a Chrome power-user, you'll eventually want to set up an automatic URL redirect. Maybe you want to watch all your YouTube videos on a minimalist site; maybe you love — or hate — going to the mobile version of a site. Maybe you just make the same typo every time you enter a certain URL.

Photo: Fahrul Azmi

There are many Chrome extensions for redirecting URLs, and each has its strengths. We found two best options: the simple one, and the powerful one.

Automatically Open YouTube Links In An Uncluttered Viewer

If you like using an alternate site to watch YouTube videos (like the minimalist Tube, which we recently covered, or the more minimalist Surprise.ly, which we covered long ago, then you can set up a Chrome extension to redirect you every time you click on a YouTube link.

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Beginner

The simplest option is Switcheroo. It's easy to understand, if not very powerful. It lets you edit your existing redirects, but it doesn't have many more bells and whistles than that. It's easier to use than more powerful but wonky extensions.

To redirect a URL, just open the extension from the toolbar, enter the input URL (like the standard part of every YouTube video URL) and the output URL (like a minimalist alternative to YouTube).

Switcheroo in the Chrome toolbarScreenshot: Nick Douglas

The input is a little wonky: If you click away before clicking "Add," Switcheroo will forget everything you entered. So if you need to paste in two strings, click "Add" after the first one, then copy the second string and click "Edit" to add it. It's dumb, but it's not a deal killer.

Advanced

If you need more advanced features like wildcards, try the extension Requestly. It takes some more work to understand, but in addition to URL redirects, it lets you block certain URLs, insert scripts, or emulate different devices. (I use it to clean the search terms out of my Amazon links.) It's a great option for developers or super-users.

Requestly also has a more sophisticated interface, which you might find better or worse than Switcheroo's. To add a new redirect, open the extension from the toolbar, click the + button in the top right, and select Replace Host (in blue) from the full-page menu.

Requestly redirect pageScreenshot: Nick Douglas

As for security, Switcheroo developer Ranjdar Abass tells Lifehacker that his extension only stores data on your computer, not on any server. (You can read Switcheroo's source code on GitHub.)

Requestly's privacy policy says that the extension doesn't store personal data or private URL redirect rules, but it does store public rules (and your email address if you choose to log in with Google) on its servers. Both are safe, unless you're storing state secrets or high crimes in your URL redirect.


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