A couple of issues might decelerate your web site as shortly as picture hotlinking. The phenomenon suggests displaying a picture on a web site by linking to a different web site to acquire the supply information of the image every time it’s wanted, somewhat than saving a replica of it on the web site on which the picture will probably be proven.

Such a apply has a number of penalties, which makes it one of many largest threats to web site efficiency and stability. As a critical webmaster, it is best to learn to take care of this subject. Our publish will present you find out how to stop picture hotlinking in WordPress.


WordPress powers round 30% of your complete Web, reaching virtually 60% of the worldwide content material administration system (CMS) market. This implies the vast majority of hotlinking makes an attempt happen in WordPress, so we are going to concentrate on this CMS.

However earlier than we do, we have to clarify why picture hotlinking issues anyway. There are a number of causes to keep away from it, with an important being these:

  • Web site efficiency: When a web site hotlinks to your photos, they’re nonetheless loading out of your server regardless that customers don’t go to your web site in any respect. Stealing your bandwidth, different site owners primarily decelerate your web site and jeopardize efficiency.
  • Cash waste: If a hotlinking drawback comes from a well-liked web site, it’s going to burden your personal server drastically. You’ll in all probability need to pay for extra server capability with the intention to recuperate your web site as quickly as doable.
  • Laziness: Site owners who don’t create their very own photos merely show they’re lazy. Content material creators at SuperiorPapers say that it’s by no means an excellent signal as a result of customers be taught in the end that the content material shouldn’t be genuine, so the web site loses site visitors in the long term.
  • It’s unlawful: Picture hotlinking shouldn’t be solely immoral but in addition unlawful usually because of copyright laws.


Poor web site efficiency is the first indicator of picture hotlinking. Nonetheless, this drawback might happen for a variety of causes, and you’ll hardly guess the true trigger except you conduct analysis. The best method to do it’s through the use of Google Pictures.

You solely must enter a easy line of code to acquire outcomes for all photos in your web site:

The search engine will show outcomes that embrace solely photos not containing your web site’s URL, so you may simply detect hotlinking. After that, the one factor left to do is to remove hotlinking makes an attempt.


There are a number of methods to activate hotlink safety in your web site. Most options are automated, however we may even clarify find out how to remedy the issue manually. Let’s see the commonest procedures:

CDN with Hotlink Safety

CDN suppliers are complete web site administration instruments that embrace pre-built picture hotlinking safety. It’s a top quality resolution as a result of CDN can distinguish between intruders and bots which might be actually alleged to hotlink to your content material. In addition to that, CDN doesn’t require any type of WordPress coding intervention, thus conserving your web site secure and sound.

NGINX Hotlink Answer

Some web sites are operating on NGINX, an open supply server that calls for solely a small-scale change of code to forestall hotlinking. It’s finished within the config file by including this line of code:

location ~ .(gif|png|jpeg|jpg|svg)$ {
     valid_referers none blocked *;
     if ($invalid_referer) {
        return   403;

Use WordPress Plugins

With extra 55 thousand plugins presently out there, it’s affordable to imagine that WordPress additionally provides a variety of anti-hotlinking instruments. Some plugins are strictly hotlink-oriented, however most of them have poor consumer critiques and don’t replace often.

For that reason, we consider the most effective resolution is to make the most of extra complete safety plugins that supply pre-built hotlinking measures. A instrument like this may stop picture hotlinking whereas caring for different security-related particulars as effectively.

Edit the .htaccess File Manually

As we already talked about, you may at all times select to forestall picture hotlinking manually. It’s not too sophisticated, whereas it offers you substantial benefits when it comes to web site efficiency. Site owners edit the .htaccess file to dam or white-list particular person web sites and referrers, shield recordsdata, and show customized photos detecting picture hotlinking.

As for the hotlink prevention, your job is to enter the .htaccess file and add the next traces:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)? [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)? [NC]
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ [NC,R,L]

Now you could be taught what every line of code truly means. Right here’s an evidence:

  • Line 1 prompts the rewrite engine that permits redirecting.
  • Line 2 permits customers with firewall safety, aka clean referrers, to see the picture.
  • Line three grants permission to ‘’ to view the pictures. Nonetheless, you could change ‘’ and exchange it with the true area identify of your web site with out utilizing the www.
  • Line four grants permission to a different web site to see and use your pictures. On this case, you could exchange ‘’ with the precise area identify of this web site.
  • Line 5 suspends picture hotlinks and redirects customers to the Imgur photograph gallery. In addition to that, you may add a distinct, custom-made picture as an alternative of this one if it fits your web site’s wants extra appropriately.

As you may see, guide picture hotlinking prevention shouldn’t be a fancy process. You simply must be cautious to keep away from damaging different WordPress code traces, however that’s extremely unlikely. And if you happen to nonetheless assume that is too difficult so that you can deal with, simply return to one of many options we talked about above and use it to guard the efficiency of your web site.

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