I’ve been trying to understand hotlinking, with a view to avoiding it.     However simple the explanations are, they still don’t explain it fully to a tech-dumbo like me.    Wiki says:

Hotlinking is a term used on the Internet that refers to the practice of displaying an image on a website by linking to the same image on another website, rather than saving a copy of it on the website on which the image will be shown. So, instead of loading picture.gif on to their own website, a website owner uses a link to the picture as

When the hotlinking website is loaded, the image is loaded from the other website, which uses its bandwidth, costing the hotlinked website’s owners money. For this reason many website owners use .htaccess files to prevent hotlinking. In some cases website owners use the .htaccess file to replace any hotlinked images with an offensive image to deter any other website owners from hotlinking.

OK, it’s clear that the linked-to site [the owner of the image] has loaded that image, say, from his own computer desktop.   Similarly, when I load an image from my desktop, it is on an attachment page.   That’s why, when you click on the reduced image on NO, it usually brings up the attachment page in its original size, hence that’s how you zoom.

An example is in this post.

With JD’s pic, he uploads to my WP from his desktop.    What we get is a two part code:

**” rel=”attachment wp-att-73386**

… and:

**img alt=”card” src=”” width=”354″ height=”510″**

… one after the other.   The first refers to the attachment page, the second to the uploaded image.

Now, on haiku’s post, for copyright reasons, let’s say I don’t wish to promote the original image as either haiku’s or mine.   It’s Bill Holbrook’s image and it needs attributing to him.

The only way I know to attribute to Bill Holbrook is to link to him.   So, I download the image first from Holbrook’s site to my desktop.   Then I upload the copied image from my desktop using my WP uploading mechanism.   So the code comes out:

**”” rel=”attachment wp-att-73433″**

… and:

**img src=”×315.jpg” alt=”tech christmas” width=”470″ height=”315″ **

Now I replace the first url [my attachment page] with:


… which sends readers to him once they click on the pic on my site.  If the reader does not click, then he’s seeing an image using my space.   If he does click on the pic, it redirects to Bill Holbrook’s site.

That seems OK to me.  Wiki goes on:

The most significant legal fact about inline linking, relative to copyright law considerations, is that the inline linker does not place a copy of the image file on its own Internet server. Rather, the inline linker places a pointer on its Internet server that points to the server on which the proprietor of the image has placed the image file.

Right, I do understand that any time a visitor comes to my site, this is using bandwidth but as this is a good thing, that visitors come to my site, may I call this “good” bandwidth usage.   Hotlinking, on the other hand, seems “bad” bandwidth usage.   If thousands came to my site and viewed my copied image in haiku’s post, it might crash my site.   If they then clicked on the pic and went to his site, it may or may not crash his.

But what he’s getting is traffic, visitors and surely that’s a good thing, it benefits him as people are at his site now and can choose to browse around and look.    Therefore, how is that hotlinking from me?

To the techies reading this, have I sinned or is this an OK way to attribute to him?

2 Responses to “Hotlinking”

  1. Lord T December 26, 2013 at 19:28 Permalink

    The issue with hot linking is more to do with costs. If you link to someones pictures then they get charges for the Kb that get downloaded yet get no credit or recognition. Sure they get a hit but it is only of use if the objective is that you count your hits. It isn’t a visitor. That is why people close off hotlinking.

    As far as your mods go to be honest I didn’t fully understand what you are doing and your example page didn’t help I did find this link though that gives an example.

    I wouldn’t call that hotlinking and neither would any admin. It wouldn’t be seen by the automated system as hotlinking either. So it is fine.

  2. CherryPie December 26, 2013 at 23:31 Permalink

    Hotlinking is when you directly link to an image that is hosted on another site. This means that when someone accesses your page because the image is hosted on the other site, it is their bandwidth that is being used to download the image and not yours.

    This is what happens with ‘my images’ on my site. They are hosted on Flickr so they don’t use up the bandwidth on my own site.

    Uploading the photos to your site is using your bandwidth when someone accesses your post. And linking back to the original source gives accreditation to the person who orginally posted the image. This is just the same same as accrediting written sources.

    It always worthwhile checking out copywright instructions on the sites where you obtain the images.

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