To understand about hotlinking, first you must know how to use an image on the internet.
To be clear, you must know how to use others image on the internet for your own use.
While surfing the net, you may come across many beautiful images and it may lures you to use it for your own use. If you are a blogger or website owner, you may like to use it on your blog post or web page.
If you intend to use an image, text, or video which you come across on any site for your own use, do the following..
1. Check the copyright of the file ( be it an image, video or text). Ensure the file is free to use for personal use, or commercial use or any attribution required. Images in public domain are free to use for any purpose.
2. If copyright details are not mentioned, try to contact the website admin by email and get their permission to use the image.
3. Using others image or videos or content for your own use without their permission is illegal and copyright infringement.
4. Some site encourages to use their article or image by displaying a message " Please, feel free to use our article or image in your website or blog by using this embed code". Or they may ask you to give image attribution or a link back to their site manually.
5. Images in the internet must be first checked for copyright details or necessary permission from the owner must be obtained before using them.
6. Getting permission to use others video, content or image is mandatory. If you are using a copyrighted material, then you may be sued for copyright infringement. Be aware and careful before using images on the internet. Now, let me explain how to use those images in a correct way.
7. Many people who owns a website or novel bloggers without knowledge, copy the images which they like on Google search or any site and just paste it in their web page. It is called Hotlinking. Also called as Inline linking, leeching, piggy-backing, direct linking, and offsite image grabs.
Hotlinking image is a wrong way of using the image. In fact, it is called Bandwidth Theft.
Here, we are talking about web hosting bandwidth.
A Web hosting bandwidth is the total sum of data which you upload or download from your web hosting server. While hosting a site, every website owner will be allowed to make certain GB of “data transfer” every month according to their plan. If the data transfer exceeds that GB, the web site owner will be charged. So, Bandwidth is important for a person who owns a site. If it is used more, he has to pay more.
Let me come to the topic of hotlinking. When you right-click and copy the image or its url from a site and paste it directly in your site, it means you are stealing other's bandwidth. Every time, when a visitor visits the image you pasted in your site, the bandwidth of the site from which you copied the image will be depleted. In short, every time the image loads it your site, the image owner's bandwidth will be reduced.
Many novel bloggers do hotlinking unknowingly without knowing it as a theft.
When you paste the image which is saved in other person's server, it creates problem even for you. For example, if you are copying and pasting a mango picture in your post. It doesn't mean, the image become yours and you are safe. You will be at risk, if you are directly linking the image from other person's server. Since the image is at in his server, the person who owns that image originally can change that mango image into any adult image or put you at risk or embarrass by mocking you. This unexpected change is called Hotlink Switcheroo and it may offend you.
8. The safe way to use an image is to first download it in your computer. Then, you have upload it in your own server and use it in your blog or site.
Hint: You can use Google Site to upload images and get an URL for your image. Now you can use the image link and embed image in your site without hassles. So, the image will be yours and you can have full control over it and can use it anywhere anytime without legal issues.
Hotlink protection is crucial for a person who owns a site or blog. It protects from stealing your bandwidth and also prevents other sites from displaying your images.
Wordpress users can use the WordPress Automatic Image Hotlink Protection plugin to avoid bandwidth theft.
or can create a .htaccess file for hotlink protection.
Please share the post about hotlinking and spread the awareness.