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4/17/2015 – How to Prevent Hotlinking

Posted by Jamison on 17 04 2015.

Probably one of the most annoying people on the web for web masters and website owners are those people who do inline linking or hotlinking. Hotlinking, to cut the story short, is a form of theft. It is a form of theft in a sense that, the other party who is doing the hotlinking is stealing bandwidth from another website. As you may already know, websites usually pay a certain amount of money for the use of bandwidth.


Bandwidth is the term used to address the amount of “space” consumed by a particular communication resource facility or device. For example, every time you send a request over the internet, you are already using bandwidth to send and receive data. It is usually measure in terms of bit-rate or the amount of data over a period of time. Oftentimes it is measured by bit/sec, kilobyte/sec, and so on.


Website owners are billed by service providers in terms of bandwidth used over a period of time. Thus people who hotlink on someone else’s file and uses them on their website is technically stealing bandwidth from the other party.


Preventing a Hotlink


If you are a website owner, you certainly wouldn’t want others to create a hotlink on your contents without you knowing it. Thus there are measures which you can employ to safeguard your contents from an unauthorized hotlinking. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure that nobody can use your contents without your permission.


  1. Log in to your cPanel account.
  2. Navigate your way to the security section and click on the Hotlink protection icon.
  3. To allow access to your own files, you should put your web addresses of your own site on the “URLs to allow access” tab.
  4. You should indicate the file types of those files which you want to protect. Each file type should be separated by a comma.
  5. By clicking on the check box below the blocked files section, you are allowing people to access your protected files by entering the exact URL for the file. Check this if you allow and leave it blank if you do not agree.
  6. Lastly, enter the URL of the page where you would like to redirect unwanted hotlinks. Then click submit.


By following those simple steps, you could protect your files and save on bandwidth usage.


How to disable hotlink protection


Once you have decided that you do not want your hotlink protection anymore, it is still very easy to disable. Just follow the following steps to disable your hotlink protection settings.


  1. Log in to your cPanel account.
  2. Navigate to the security section and click on the Hotlink protection icon.
  3. It will be indicated on the screen whether the hotlink protection is active or inactive.
  4. Click on the “deactivate” button to disable the feature.


That’s it. You now have disabled your Hotlink protection settings. If you want to enable the feature again, just follow the same steps on how to prevent a hotlink which was mentioned earlier.