What is hotlinking? Hotlinking (= bandwidth and intellectual property theft) refers to direct linking to a website’s files (images, video, etc.). An example would be using an <img> HTML tag to display an image you found on someone else’s webpage so it will appear on your own website, blog, forum message, etc. The most common solution is to add Rewrite lines to .htaccess file in images directory to check Referer. Only display images if referrer is from certain domains. Old school, ineffective, and easy to cheat. For one, it is common for browsers to not pass referrer (for example, under certain browser privacy settings, and when viewing site as HTTPS). Referrer can also be faked or spoofed. Unreliable.
We provide a tool (downloadable PHP app) which serves to block hotlinking of images – without referer checking. The app is NoHotlink which can be found NoHotlink App. The app is free to download, and it is very effective in blocking hotlinking.
Blocking hotlinking is guaranteed to save money due bandwidth usage charges by your web host as a result of hotlinking. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that your content is not being stolen in this way by nefarious persons. They could, instead, download your content for viewing or download elsewhere. But, at least the bandwidth will not be on your dime. That said, this app does make it much more difficult for anyone to download your content for use elsewhere. So, as the old saying goes, you can kill two birds (hotlinking and piracy) with one stone (our NoHotlink app).
Again, the app is free to download and use, so you have nothing to lose, but everything to win. Hotlinking and piracy have become popular, and their popularity is soaring: from surfers innocently linking to image in forums, blogs, etc. to webmasters trying to save money hosting and/or purchasing content. Protect yourself today!