We know that there are many shared hosting companies like Bluehost, Hostgator, Dreamhost which offers unlimited bandwidth with quality webhosting. Though we all know in this universe nothing is unlimited (Probably a word, which doesn’t have real meaning), so how can you expect these unlimited shared hosting to be truly unlimited? They are unlimited in the sense, they offer really high bandwidth usage which is equivalent to unlimited. Though if you are using a shared hosting or any hosting ( Dedicated or VPS ) It’s your work to preserve the bandwidth and keep those bandwidth stealer away.
How someone can steal your hosting bandwidth?
We upload a lot of files on our Web Hosting server such as images,flash files,video files and many other type of files. All these uploaded files have direct download links. E.g we have a domain www.site.com and we upload a file named example.file in the download folder under this domain i.e www.site.com/download/. So the direct download link for this file is www.site.com/download/example.file. We put this file download link on our site for site visitors. But this download link can be accessed from anywhere i.e if someone use this download link on his website, it will still work and thus your bandwidth will be affected. This is called bandwidth stealing. Most common way of bandwidth stealing is by using images which is hosted on your server. Image hot linking is one of the common problem in blogosphere.
How to use Hotlink protection to prevent bandwidth stealing?
Hotlink protection is a service offered by many Web Hosting companies like Hostgator, Bluehost to save your bandwidth. Enabling this service does not allow anyone to use your hotlink protected site download link on his website. You can add a redirect URL for your links i.e the direct link placed on any other person’s website is redirected to your defined webpage. You can also list file types for hotlink protection i.e if you add .jpeg file in Hotlink protector then .jpeg files will not work on any other website.
How to use Hotlink Protection on HostGator
- HostGator offers free Hotlink protection service to its users and here is a quick guide to enable hot linking service on your hostgator hosting account.
- Login to HostGator hosting control panel
- Now go to “security” tab
- Select “Hotlink Protection” option
- Now fill all the information as shown in figure given below
Though before you add this hotlinking service and if you running a blog, this might create image not displayed on many RSS readers and you have to add all of them inside URL’s to allow access to show your images on different readers. This is somehow very useful feature for static websites to preserve bandwidth and stop image hotlinking.
So are you using block image hotlinking feature of your webhosting company? Or you prefer using .htaccess method to block hotlinking?