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How to Secure Your Website from Hotlinking

How to Secure Your Website from Hotlinking

Internet theft is very common. The minute you activate your website and start putting up content, there will always be someone out there who would want to steal your content including Images, texts and videos, sometimes without even asking for permission. Hotlinking refers mainly to image theft. It happens when someone uses the URL of an image on your site directly on their own website. This means your image will be displayed on their website but will be served from your own web server. In simple terms, it means the image will show on their website but you are the one providing the bandwidth, server and data for that image. This is potentially theft and can be regarded as illegal especially if you had to acquire a license to use that image or used your own resources including money, time and effort to get that image. There are several simple ways you can prevent hotlinking on your website.

Ways of preventing hotlinking

  • WordPress Plugins

There are several wordpress plugins that deal specifically with hotlinking. However, it is better to use the All In One WP Security and Firewall plugin which has vast security features including hotlinking prevention. It can easily be downloaded from WordPress. You can search for it on your website WP dashboard by clicking the ‘Add New Plugins’ button.

  • Disable right click in WordPress

This is one way to prevent theft on your website. Disabling the right click on your website means site visitors won’t be able to right click on your images, texts, videos, site pages and have easy access to copy your image, text, videos, URLs and other security measures. To do this, You can download the free Prevent Content Theft and install it on your website straight from the wp repository or from the Add New Plugin button on your website dashboard.

  • Rename Files

Any day you visit your website and notice that an image has been hotlinked, a quick way to fix this is to rename the file. You can change the link on your own website. This means the image will become an error for those who hotlinked that image. It is useful for small scale hotlinking like a single image but not good enough for multiple hotlinking problems.

  • Give them a Legal Warning (Take-down Notice)

A more proficient way to stop hotlinking is to send a legal warning message, explaining that if the hotlinked image is not taken down from the website, you would file a lawsuit against them. Trust us, this works all the time. No website owner wants to face legal action over content theft.  Conclusion Be careful when using content on your website. Make sure you attribute the creators of any content that is not directly yours. Protect your own website from hotlinking. This will save you bandwidth, prevent slow response time on your website which will lead to better user experience and even sales. We can set you up with every detail to prevent hotlinking on your website. Reach us today

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