What is Hotlinking and What Damages Can it Cause to Your Website

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At some point of time you must have heard of the term “hotlinking” if you are a webmaster, blogger or a web developer. So what exactly a hotlinking is and how does it cause damage to your website? In this article I am going to give a brief explanation of hotlinking and its effect on your website.


Introduction to Hotlinking


Hotlinking is the trick of displaying media items (Such as images and videos) on a webpage linking from a different website where the original media item is hosted. That is when someone displays your website’s images or any other media items on their websites by directly linking to your image or media URLs. In technical words, let’s say I have a website and I am displaying image on my webpage from a different website B by direct linking as below:

<img src=”http://www.B.com/myimage.png”>

So here I am directly linking to the image URL of website B where the real image is hosted. So the person who is hotlinking to your website’s media items need not host the image on their server but still they can display the image on their webpage. Hotlinking is generally done to save hosting space and bandwidth.


What Damages Can hotlinking Cause to Your Website


Without your knowledge you might have been a victim of hotlinking if you have been a victim then this can cause a lot of damage to your website. Here are some damages caused by hotlinking.

1. Hotlinking increases the bandwidth of your website.

If your website is a victim of hotlinking then your bandwidth will increase badly. Suppose a website has a hotlinking to any of your image and the website is a heavy traffic website then your bandwidth will be consumed and you will be running out of bandwidth.

2. Your website will be slow in loading.

Due to hotlinking you will run out of bandwidth and your resources will be consumed somewhere else and as a result your website will perform poor.

3. Hotlinking can damage your ranking in Google search results.

Perhaps this might not be a major problem for those who rely on contents rather than images and media, but websites which are hosting images and media items will suffer a lot as the image search ranking will be hampered. 


+Ayodhyanath Guru holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering and has worked with various prestigious clients in the IT industry and presently working as a Software Engineer. He is a part time blogger and presently authors the Jafaloo.Com blog. Being a tech enthusiast Guru likes to surf the web and blogs about interesting technical topics like How-To guides, freewares, Tutorials, Software, Gadgets, web applications etc. Apart from blogging he likes coding in Java/J2EE and PHP.

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