Author Topic: A quick guide to hotlinking and why it is bad  (Read 411 times)

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Offline Janine

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A quick guide to hotlinking and why it is bad
« on: Tue, Sep 06, 2005, 10:35 PM »
Bandwidth theft or "hotlinking" is direct linking to a website's files (images, video, etc.). An example would be using an

[ IMG ][ /IMG ]

This tag tells the site to request the image.jpg file from the same server as the rest of the site. But if you were to hotlink an image from an outside server it might look like this:

[ IMG ][ /IMG ]

Every time the page is loaded, the outside server has to use it's bandwidth to display the image. To avoid this problem, don't link to files on servers that don't belong to you. To share images and files on your own web page, upload them to your own server or to one of the many free website providers.

Hotlinking can have a lot of undesirable consequences. One outcome is the so-called "switcheroo". If you've linked to an image on someone's server, what's to prevent them from changing the image you linked to? This can have humorous results. Since most sites, forums, etc. have strict policies about offensive images, it wouldn't take much for an aggravated webmaster you've been stealing bandwidth from to shut you down completely with an unwanted "switcheroo".

Displaying an image or file that doesn't belong to you is often a violation of copyright, making you open to litigation. The owner of the copyright could utilize DMCA law to have your site shut down and your information given for use in legal proceedings.

Thanks to for providing the info and saving me from typing all this.

Please note that posting pics is alright, as long as they're hosted at Photobucket (Imageshack, whatever), DieselDriven or your own personal webspace. For pics hosted on other pages, please do only post the link to the page where it's displayed. Links that lead directly to the pic are deep links and sometimes also considered bandwidth theft. Thank you!
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Janine »