Preventing Hotlinking

HotLinking and Bandwidth Theft

Does your hosting company charge you for bandwidth overages? If so, do you review your traffic stats to make sure your images aren’t getting hotlinked? You should. Here’s why.

Hotlinking (or hot linking) is when someone references an images (or any other type of media) from your store without permission. The product image you worked so hard to take and format could end up as someone’s avatar in an online forum. To make matter worse, you are paying for the bandwidth to have that image appear in that forum. If it’s a popular forum that has a lot of traffic, your store’s load times could be diminished and you'll be flipping the bill for the extra bandwidth.

What can you do to prevent hotlinking? You have a few options.

1. Check with your hosting company and see if Hotlink Protection is offered via the control panel such as Cpanel.

2. Edit your .htaccess files to block hotlinking.

3. Rename your images. This is a last resort because it generates a lot of work for you and is a pain in the a**.

4. Do a switcherroo. Replace the image being hotlinked another image that will embarrass the hotlinking thief (see below). This take a little work but it can be worth it from a revenge and humor perspective.

Moral of the story is to watch your traffic logs closely and take action if someone is hotlinking your images.

Here are some hotlink switcharoo images. Make good use of them. Just don’t hotlink them!

Bay Hotlink

Cash Hotlink

Monkey Hotlink

50's Hotlink

Kid Hotlink