Image Hotlinking – The 411
Have you heard of hotlinking – do you know what it is? I must admit when I started out blogging this was something that I did because I wasn’t aware I was doing anything wrong and didn’t know the repercussions of doing it. It’s something that doesn’t affect your site if you are doing it but boy does it have an effect on the sites that you hotlink to.
What is hotlinking?
Hotlinking is where you take an image from another’s site use the URL and then insert that image URL into your own site. It’s one of the options in your Add Media when you write a post in WordPress – Insert from URL. And really there is no harm to your site to do it. BUT, on the other end, there can be huge issues, every time that image gets pulled up a little of your bandwidth is being used!
It also may not be anyone’s fault but your own – and this is where I did it a lot. When I guest posted I would write my post as a draft on my site insert all of my carefully edited images and then send the HTML copy to another site and wow there it is my post going viral on another site with my images on my server.
Those little bits add up and the big bits – like really add up over time and then suddenly your host is in contact that you have exceeded your bandwidth quota for the site and you have to pay more. Don’t believe me – then look at my November bandwidth on Rainy Day Mum – YES that actually does say 2.7TB that is 2700GB of bandwidth from my site.
Ok, it was a great month traffic wise but let’s look at April 2016 one of the slowest months I have had this year that still has 711.13GB of bandwidth being used. When you look at hosting the more bandwidth you use, the more expensive it gets. SO NOT A GOOD THING at all.
How can you find out if you have images hotlinked?
I could write a how to, on finding out whether you images are being hotlinked on another site – but why, reinvent the wheel and Scottish Mum has a really good how to on discovering it so over to her and finding out where your images are.
How can you get the bandwidth from image hotlinking under control?
Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all go now and message everyone that has hotlinked to an image from our site – those that are happening from when you guest posted go ahead and send over the images that you used and ask them whether they wouldn’t mind swapping them out because it’s drawing on your bandwidth.
Now let’s deal with the others. We’re going to get technical but I will try and make this as easy as possible – if you are still not sure then I am offering a hotlinking service for $30 where I will go in and edit the code for you and believe me you will see an improvement straight away. Don’t believe me just look at the bandwidth graph below – the red arrow points to when I inserted the code and then Saturday was my biggest traffic day that week!
Step by Step
WE ARE GOING TO BE EDITING A FILE ON YOUR CPANEL – PLEASE MAKE A BACKUP AND ENTER THE CHANGES YOU HAVE MADE INTO YOUR CHANGELOG
- Log into your cPanel and open up File Manager
- It will look something like this (this is a recent update to the file manager and does make it easier to navigate)
- Click on Public.html as this is where your files will be stored
- Then click on your site folder e.g. rainydaymum.co.uk
- It may look slightly different
- Click on the cog in the top right-hand corner
- Select Show Hidden Files and save
- Now look in that folder for .htaccess
- Select the file and click on download this will put a backup copy onto your machine.
- Go to Preventing Hotlinking and set up your code – your domain in the first box
- Then go to the bottom and click on Generate .htaccess file
- Ignore the instruction on the site there as your site already has a .htaccess file and you don’t want to remove the instructions already there
- We are now going to edit on the server it is really simple so don’t worry and you have your backup file that you can upload if needed. Click on .htaccess and edit in the menu bar
- Click before # Begin WordPress
- Insert a new line by clicking enter
- Type in # Prevent Hotlinking
- Copy and Paste your code across from the Preventing hotlinking site
- ALL DONE!
Image used of Woman earning Euro’s on the Internet via Depositphotos