How to Stop Image Hot Linking and Bandwidth Theft?

Prevent Image HotlinkingYou may find several bloggers/webmasters copying your content along with the images. If they’re copying only the content, then we can simply file a DMCA complaint against their website and de-index those pages, but this is not the case with images as they’re hosted on your server. If you’re having a limited bandwidth, all these hotlinked images will drain your hosting bandwidth in no time and this will make your website/hosting server go down/offline.

What is Image hotlinking?

The websites that copy your content + images, downloads or access these images directly from your hosting server. So, your server bandwidth is being utilized for displaying the images to the visitors on the content scraper’s website.

Such hotlinked images will finish your hosting bandwidth very quickly. This will not only increases hosting bills, but also makes your website go offline for exceeding the bandwidth.

Recommended: What is Considered as Duplicate Content in the Eyes of Google?

How to Prevent Hotlinking of Images and Bandwidth Theft?

There is a possible solution to prevent or stop images from being hotlinked on other websites. Using .htaccess file, we can block images from being hotlinked on those particular websites that are copying our content.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://(www\.)?scrapper-domain\.com(/.*)*$ [NC,OR] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://(www\.)? scrapper-domain2\.org(/.*)*$ [NC,OR] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://(www\.)? scrapper-domain3\.net(/.*)*$ [NC] RewriteRule \.(jpeg|JPEG|jpe|JPE|jpg|JPG|gif|GIF|png|PNG)$ hotlink.jpe [L]

Now, replace the scrapper-domains with the websites that are copying your content and paste the entire code in a notepad file and save it as .htaccess.

Upload the file into the wp-content/uploads folder. This is where all our images are stored. Saving the htaccess file in this folder will block all the images from this folder from being displayed on the domain names that we listed in the htaccess file.

Stop Hotlinking of Images by RSS Content Scrapers

Instead of the default image, you can use a customized image or message saying that the particular website has copied your image. This will alert the users of that website that it is a stolen content and thus all those visitors will then visit your website.

Note: If you want to use any customized image, make sure the size of that image is very less as it will be downloaded across the internet as many times as your hotlinked images are loaded up. This will help you to avoid increase in bandwidth costs.

How to Find Content Scraper’s Websites?

This is very simple. Just drag a few lines of your blog post and search in Google with double quotes and you’ll find the websites that’ve copied your content line by line. Make a list of those sites that are stealing your content and enter their site address in the above mentioned htaccess file as per the format.

All the Best. Happy Blogging 🙂 Do share your views on the same if you’ve any.


    1. As we’ll have no control over the images on blogger blog, we won’t be able to stop those from hotlinking. However, you can track who linked your images and file a DMCA complaint on them. Anyways, there won;t be any bandwidth limit for blogger/blogspot users and so it doesn’t affect our blogs much. Thanks to Google for providing such an awesome service for FREE 🙂

  1. Radha bro one guy is stoling my whole content and links.Posting on his blog without giving credits to me.So what steps may be taken from me to remove that content from his blog ?
    Although i am not having copyright of those articles but those are original and well spinned by me.

  2. Thnx Radhe Bro.But what to do with these questions asked by Google while filling up DMCA Complaint Form ? 🙁
    1. Are you the copyright owner or authorized to act on their behalf?
    If Yes Then
    2. Full legal name of the copyright holder you represent (e.g., if you are a legal agent, etc.) * ?
    3. Where can we see an authorized example of the work? *
    4. Identify and describe the copyrighted work *

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