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Muna Mohamed
Muna Mohamed

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Hotlinking - what's that?


We’ve all done it. You see an image you like on the internet and proceed to copy and paste the URL to your own website. Now every time someone visits your website, that image you copy-pasted loads up making your website look all lovely and nice. But what if I was to tell you that that (mostly) innocent action can cause a whole lot of trouble, for the original website owner and in some causes, yourself? Confused? Read on.

That “innocent copy-paste job is called hotlinking and here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t do it.

1. It can cost the original content owner a lot of money

Every time someone visits your website and that “hot-linked image loads up, the image is loaded using the original content owner’s server. The more people that visit your website → the more times the image loads up → the more traffic you will send to the original owner’s server. The costs can add up for the original owner of the content which can end up being A LOT. (Check out this story to see what I mean, Click here!)

2. The “hotlinked image you use can be replaced at anytime by the original owner

Put yourself in the content creator’s shoes. Increased traffic to his/her server is costing them money. So to deter people from hotlinking their images, they apply a custom error page using a .htaccess file. So now, when your website loads up instead of that image you copy-pasted, an error pops up. Or in other cases, the “hotlinked image is replaced with a different image. Can you imagine a potential client checking out your online personal portfolio and seeing an inappropriate image on there instead? Not cool.

3. Let’s be honest, hotlinking isn’t very nice

Growing up, my mother always told me to treat others how I would like to be treated. Let’s be frank, if somebody hotlinked content from your website you wouldn’t be happy about it.

You’re basically using someone else’s resources for your own benefit.
The original content owner has paid for a certain amount of space to host their files. So when you hotlink their images or videos to your own website , you are using bandwidth from their server. The more your website is viewed, the more resources you’re taking away from the original owner of the content. This can get expensive, particularly for small businesses or blogs, if they go over their allotted amount of bandwidth and space that they pay for each month.

So the next time you’re tempted to hotlink someone else’s content, please think twice!

This is my first article that I’ve posted and I’m so glad that I’ve finally posted on this platform! If you liked this article, like, follow and share! I would greatly appreciate it. :)

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