In any case, it is a bad practice! Read on to find out more.
The hotlinking is a bit difficult to explain I find. To make complicated this is to link most often an image but this may also be a video on a website from another website. I feel you have lost. So I’ll try to explain it to you more simply. You are the proud owner of a small website that you want to expand, especially with images. But for some reasons, you do not want or you find it easier to not host these images. So instead of integrating them from your hosting, you decide to put them from the source link (you have found a picture that you like on a site). Not good !
You must know that this practice is illegal and can cause you a lot of worries. Apart from the fact that this can infringe copyright, you mainly steal the bandwidth at the source site and slow down the server considerably in the case of a large file. It can, by your fault, to be suspended by its host because it consumes too much.
I reassure you right away. Often people do not do it to do bad but because they do not know that one should not do it.
How to avoid hotlinking?
There are of course different solutions to protect you. You can, with little bits of code for that you will find easily on the internet doing the following things:
- Do not send anything: that is, the image will not be displayed simply. This is a pretty efficient method and will not cost you much in terms of bandwidth.
- Return a false image: why not put an image with your address on it? This will make you a little pub cheap.
- Sign the image: this is done via a script. This is a kind of uqi watermark will appear on the thief site.
- Replace an error 404: We know, oh how much this can be painful for visitors.
There are also tools and plugins such as Pictpocket and Visohotlink on WordPress.
Now that you know everything about hotlinking, you know what to expect if you practice it or want to do it as well as to avoid being a victim of it yourself. Prevention is better than cure!