What is hot linking? How do I enable and disable hotlink protection?

Hot link protection prevents other websites from directly linking to files and pictures on your website. Other sites will only be able to link to file types that you don't specify.

An example of hot linking. Say I like the image on your website, and I want that image on my site. If I use the full URL of your image on my site, then the image is downloading from your site every time someone looks at my site. This means I am using your bandwidth for the image. When you enable Hot Link Protection, then I cannot steal your bandwidth anymore.


Configuring Hot Link Protection

To enable / disable hot link protection, please do the following:

  1. Login to cPanel and click HotLink Protection.
  2. Make sure the domain name you wish to protect is in the box called "URLs to allow access".
  3. In the box called "Block direct access for these extensions", provide the extensions for which you would like to block.
  4. We suggest you check the box for "Allow direct requests".
  5. Skip the "Redirect request to this URL" box and hit Submit.

You have now protected your images from being hot-linked. Just be sure that all of your additional domains are in the Hot Link list.

WARNING: If your images stop working, you may need to check your HTML source code for a common problem. Some website designers (or programs) may decide to use absolute path names for your images. That means, instead of a relative path like "/images/pic.jpg", it will use the entire URL like "http://www.domain.com/images/pic.jpg". You must have that exact protocol and domain name listed in your allowed URLs ("URLs to allow access"). If there is any slight difference in the protocol (http://) or in the domain name (domain.com/) between the allowed list and the HTML source code, then your images will be blocked.

Note: Some firewalls (such as Symantec's Norton Internet Security, and ZoneAlarm) will block a special referrer variable in order to add more privacy for the user. HotLink protection works with this variable to tell where the request is coming from. As such, HotLink isn't the best solution to avoid bandwidth theft as it will eventually block legitimate requests from visitors using one of those firewalls. Unfortunately this issue is not under our control and there's nothing we can do to prevent it from blocking legitimate visitors. Use it at your own risk.