What is Hotlinking and how does it affect you?

Does that sound like a neighbor stealing your wifi?Surely if and it is possible that on some occasion you have been affected, or had the feeling that there was someone else out there….

Now imagine that you have a Fotolia account, of course, you pay a good post or article every day for your WordPress Blog, for example, and at some point in your hectic blogger life you discover that your images, for which you pay , are being used in other blogs but pulling the bandwidth of the Hosting where you stay Fabric no!

Well, that in non-human terms is known as Hotlinking and that translated into English is basically “That some fresco is using your images with a link included in their articles” and this causes that when uploading your images to their websites, “your bandwidth” is consumed. What an ugly truth!

Hot-linking is a term used on the Internet. Indicates that someone is using a link to an image that is archived on another website instead of saving a copy of the image on the website where the image will be displayed.Wikipedia

Unfortunately the bandwidth theft Hotlinking is more common than we sometimes think, especially by users who host their websites on sites with very limited spaces or free hostings, which link directly to the files on your website (images, videos, etc. .).

If we personalize it yourself, an example would be the use of a label to display an image Jpeg that you have found on someone else’s web page and that will be shown in an article of yours on your website but discounting bandwidth of the site owner of that linked image.

What is the bandwidth?

The bandwidth refers to the amount of data transferred from a website to a user’s computer.

The monthly transfer rate or bandwidth is related to the amount of data that is transferred from your website and this increase may be due to an increase in the number of visits or to your visitors downloading large documents or viewing videos that you have hosted in your hosting and not in a CDN.

How do I check what bandwidth I am consuming?

In order to review the increase in your monthly transfer rate or bandwidth in most Hosting panels, in our case in cPanel, you have statistical analysis elements to review it.

  1. Access the hosting control panel, cPanel.
  2. In section Records access the option Webalizer and click on the magnifying glass of the web or domain to consult.
  3. You will visualize in graphic mode the website statistics summarized by months in the form of a table of visits, files, pages and accesses.
  4. By clicking on the header of a certain month, you will have detailed information both graphically and data tables of the daily registry of the most visited url (pages / files).

To understand this consumption a little better, it is important to keep in mind that the bandwidth it is consumed every time users visit your website, the server sends or receives emails or you connect to the server through the FTP protocol.

If you detect that you have a lot of bandwidth consumption by HTTP (web), it means that this consumption is linked to visits to your website. Consumption can be due to both having many visits (with small consumption each) and loading large files.

For this reason it is convenient to have the image files that you use on your website well optimized (at Websites Are Us you have a Image Optimizer gratuitous which will make the task of optimizing them very easy), videos that are on the server (YouTube or Vimeo videos, for example, have no effect since they link to an external CDN).

It is important that the most consulted content (such as the home page, the articles to which you link a newsletter, etc.) are the ones that you review most carefully that are well optimized, since they are the ones that are loaded the most times.

How do I know if I am being robbed of bandwidth by hotlinking?

Normally this is how an image file is displayed in HTML code on your website:

The label indicates where the file image should be loaded from image.jpg, in this case on the same server as the rest of the files on the website.

If we are on the website and we visualize an article that has an image and this image has the following route, it would be a case of hotlinking by the site that exposes the image.

This tag is indicating that the image displayed by the website is being taken from the server that hosts the web http //, which may not be from the same server or the same owner.

Every time the page is loaded the external server has to use the bandwidth of http // to display the image.

A good practice is to use images and files from your web page, uploaded to your Hosting directory or to a free image hosting service or CDN that allows direct linking.

Manage Hotlinking from your Hosting Panel (cPanel):

Go to your Hosting Panel (cPanel), Security, Direct link protection (in some Hosting panels it may be named as “Hotlinking Protection”). In the first section you can configure the domain (s) to protect and in the second the file format extensions to block for hotlinking.

You can also establish a landing url for users who try to use images from your Hosting linked directly to external websites.

A simple analogy for bandwidth theft: Imagine a stranger connecting to your electrical outlets or plugs without your knowledge or consent; the use of electricity that this person makes for their benefit you will pay it out of your pocket.

Member of the Websites Are Us technical team.
Coordinator of content on the Blog and YouTube.
Technical support in CyberProtector. Teacher at Websites Are Us Learning.

By |2020-05-12T01:09:48+00:00May 12th, 2020|Administración del Hosting|