I run several sites, one of which is the online home of my family's movie theatre, The Ambridge Family Theatre. Over the weekend I noticed that bandwidth usage jumped to several megabytes daily. In trying to find out why, I discovered that a popular Polish site was hotlinking to the movie poster images I use.
That is just unacceptable. It isn't that I paid for or drew the images. I found them online and sized them to what I needed, then uploaded them to use on the website. But I do pay for my bandwidth, so hotlinking is theft as much as mugging me.
If your host uses cPanel, stopping the hotlinking is easy.
- Go into cPanel.
- Click on HotLink Protection in the Security pane.
- Click the Enable button.
- In the textbox below the Enable button, list all the websites that are allowed to link to your images. Put one site per line.
- In the next textbox, make sure all the image formats you use are listed. The list should look like this: jpg.jpeg.png.gif
- If you want the thieves redirected to another url, enter it in the next text box and click the checkbox below it. If you don't care, leave this box empty. They'll just get a 404 file not found error page.
- Click the submit button.
That's it. The bandwidth thieves, try though they might, won't be able to hotlink to your images and steal your
bandwidth. That's money not taken out of your pocket.