Hotlinking Is Theft

Hotlinking sucks. Don't be an Internet parasite.

Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.

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Page Table of Contents


Web Site Parasites

Every image that is displayed on your pages should be uploaded to your own web site. Displaying an image directly from another web site is known as hotlinking, leeching, or direct linking and it is something you should never do. It's bad enough to use an image from another web site without permission, but hotlinking is even worse.


There are people who don't know that hotlinking is wrong and stop as soon as they find out, but there are many habitual hotlinkers out there that don't care if it's wrong. They think they're getting away with something, but some web site owners will replace an image with a sick, pornographic picture and the hotlinker can find himself or herself without a web site, blog, or forum membership because displaying an image like that usually violates the terms of service. If you don't hotlink, you'll never have to worry about it.





Why Hotlinking is Wrong

Below is one of the best things I have read about bandwidth theft. It is used with permission, courtesy of Devil Doll at


Let's say you build a house. It's a really nice house, and you like it a lot, and you work hard every day to earn money to pay for your house, and all the bills associated with it.


A few months later, someone else builds a house near yours. But instead of calling the electric company and getting a line run to their house, they tap into your power line. Every time they turn on a light or run the blender in their home, they use some of your electricity. And every little bit of it is logged on your meter, the electric company bills you accordingly.


Maybe you don't notice the difference at first, but then another house gets built in the neighborhood, and another, and another. And pretty soon, your monthly electric bill, which has been increasing steadily over the past few months, is *huge*. Even though you're convinced you aren't using any more electricity than you used to, your bill is way more than it's ever been, and that just doesn't make sense.


So you go outside and look at your power line, and you notice that *every single house in the neighborhood has tapped into your electricity, and all this time you've been paying for all your neighbors to heat and light their homes*.


Would you be mad?


Would you think that was a pretty crappy thing to do?


Would you consider that theft? Would you feel like they'd stolen money from you, by forcing you to pay for their electricity without your knowledge?


That's what hotlinking is, and that's why people get so angry about it.


So don't do it.


After reading how Devil Doll compares hotlinking to tapping into someone's power line, do you get it now? The damage from this kind of theft might seem small, but it can add up. A tiny leech sucking on your big toe may not seem like a big deal, but imagine thousands of leeches of all sizes covering your whole body. Hotlinking sucks. Don't be an Internet parasite.






Forum Folly

Many bandwidth thieves say that hotlinking is fine in a forum as long as they post a link to the page it's from, but that is faulty thinking. Many people will pop in to see what the thread is about and then not care. They won't follow the link, but there the image is anyway, each time the thread is viewed (dozens or hundreds or thousands of times). Just give a link to the page and let others decide if they want to visit and there will be no problems for anyone.






Lock Your Doors or Else?

Some bandwidth thieves say that if you don't want them to steal, you should modify your .htaccess file so that only your web site can display your images, but many people don't have access to that file. It's sad when there are people who act like the only thing keeping them from robbing their neighbor is a locked door. How about doing the right thing just because it's the right thing to do?







You can discourage bandwidth thieves by using a watermark. Although it won't stop all thieves, your web site name or address will at least be displayed so people know where the image came from.


There are programs you can buy that will automatically watermark a large batch of images, so it's not hard to do, even if you have hundreds of images. (Always save backup copies of the original images in case anything goes wrong.)






No-Right-Click Scripts

A no-right-click script really does work to stop thousands of newbies from hotlinking to your images, but it won't stop everybody. Any kind of no-right-click script will irritate some people, but if you must use a script like that, make sure it doesn't create a pop-up warning box. A lot of people use mouse gestures and an irritating pop-up warning blocks those gestures.






The Disallow Defense

Search engines with an image search can allow millions of people to hotlink to your images without needing to visit your web site even once. Blocking search engines from including your images in their image searches can often do more to decrease hotlinking than any no-right-click script ever could. All you need is a simple robots.txt file in your root folder and there's a good chance that most of your hotlinking problems will disappear. For example, if you keep your images in a folder called files, using the following in your robots.txt file will stop most search engines from including your images in their image searches:


User-agent: *

Disallow: /files/


If you only want to block Google, you can learn how to do that here:

Remove an image from Google Image Search


To make a robots.txt file, just use something like Notepad or anything that can make a clean, simple .txt file. Here's a link where you can learn more:

How to create a /robots.txt file






Invisible Shield

It took me until the end of 2006 to fully understand that I could use an invisible GIF to easily protect my web site images from the most common hotlinker: the innocent, uninformed, good-natured newbie. To be clear, just like everything else on this page, this is not an original idea. I have read similar things on the Internet over the years, mostly talking about putting an image in the background of a table with an invisible GIF over it or overlapping an image with an invisible GIF using layers. That stuff was in the back of my mind for years, but it wasn't until I was more familiar with DIVs that I figured out that I could put an image in the background of a DIV with an invisible GIF in front of it. Here's an example:

Image from

If the average hotlinker would right click on that image, grab the address, stick it in their blog, forum post, or web site, they would see nothing and that would discourage most of them. It's better than a no-right-click script since it works even if JavaScript is disabled.


For those who need it, below is simplistic sample code. If you know nothing about DIVs and related things, please don't ask me to teach you. I barely understand this stuff myself, so take a few minutes to Google it and learn from a proper tutorial or reference site. Here's the sample code for an image that is linked to another web site:


<div style="background-image:url('files/your_image.jpg'); background-repeat:no-repeat; padding:0px; margin:0px; width:250; height:40;" title="ALT tag text here">

<A href="" style="background-color:transparent;"><img src="files/invisible_shield.gif" width="250" height="40"></A>



This is the same sample code, but for an image that is not linked to anything:


<div style="background-image:url('files/your_real_image.jpg'); background-repeat:no-repeat; padding:0px; margin:0px; width:250; height:40;" title="ALT tag text here">

<img src="files/invisible_shield.gif" width="250" height="40">



Just change the code to match what you are going to use and be sure to change the WIDTH and HEIGHT of the DIV. You can also adjust the padding and margin of the DIV in whatever way you need (such as, "margin-left:8px;").






Goodbye Google Images

I discovered something cool near the end of 2007. As a test, I edited my robots.txt file so it would no longer block Google Images and waited long enough to see the result. The Invisible Shield trick above made images invisible to Google (none of my images that were behind an Invisible Shield were listed in Google Images). That means you can keep your images out of Google Images even if you have a crappy web host that will not allow you to edit your robots.txt file! (Google is always changing, so I don't know how long this will continue to work.)






In Case You Didn't Know


Trump's Jab = Bad

Did you know that Trump's rushed experimental rona jab has less than one percent overall benefit? It also has many possible horrible side effects. Some brainwashed rona jab cultists claim that there are no victims of the jab, but person after person will post what the jab did to them, a friend, or a family member on web sites such as Facebook and Twitter and they'll be lucky if they don't get banned soon after. Posting the truth is “misinformation” don't you know. Awakened sheep might turn into lions, so powerful people will do just about anything to keep the sheep from waking up.


Check out these videos:

What is causing the mysterious self-assembling non-organic clots?

If You Got the COVID Shot and Aren't Injured, This May Be Why

Full Video of Tennessee House of Representatives Health Subcommittee Hearing Room 2 (The Doctors Start Talking at 33:28)



H Word and I Word = Good

Take a look at my page called The H Word and Beyond. You might also want to look at my page called Zinc and Quercetin. My sister and I have been taking those two supplements since summer of 2020 in the hopes that they would scare away the flu and other viruses (or at least make them less severe).



B Vitamins = Good

Some people appear to have a mental illness because they have a vitamin B deficiency. For example, the wife of a guy I used to chat with online had severe mood swings which seemed to be caused by food allergies or intolerances. She would became irrational, obnoxious, throw tantrums, and generally act like she had a mental illness. The horrid behavior stopped after she started taking a vitamin B complex. I've been taking Jarrow B-Right (#ad) for many years. It makes me much easier to live with.



Soy = Bad

Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.” Fermented soy doesn't bother me, but the various versions of unfermented soy (soy flour, soybean oil, and so on) that are used in all kinds of products these days causes a negative mental health reaction in me that a vitamin B complex can't tame. The sinister encroachment of soy has made the careful reading of ingredients a necessity.



Wheat = Bad

If you are overweight, have type II diabetes, or are worried about the condition of your heart, check out the videos by Ken D Berry, William Davis, and Ivor Cummins. It seems that most people should avoid wheat, not just those who have a wheat allergy or celiac disease. Check out these books: Undoctored (#ad), Wheat Belly (#ad), and Eat Rich, Live Long (#ad).



Negative Ions = Good

Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators. A plain old air cleaner is better than nothing, but one that produces negative ions makes the air in a room fresher and easier for me to breathe. It also helps to brighten my mood.



Litterbugs = Bad

Never litter. Toss it in the trash or take it home. Do not throw it on the ground. Also remember that good people clean up after themselves at home, out in public, at a campsite and so on. Leave it better than you found it.



Climate Change Cash Grab = Bad

Seems like more people than ever finally care about water, land, and air pollution, but the climate change cash grab scam is designed to put more of your money into the bank accounts of greedy politicians. Those power-hungry schemers try to trick us with bad data and lies about overpopulation while pretending to be caring do-gooders. Trying to eliminate pollution is a good thing, but the carbon footprint of the average law-abiding human right now is actually making the planet greener instead of killing it.


Eliminating farms and ranches, eating bugs, getting locked down in 15-minute cities, owning nothing, using digital currency (with expiration dates) that is tied to your social credit score, and paying higher taxes will not make things better and “save the Earth.” All that stuff is part of an agenda that has nothing to do with making the world a better place for the average person. It's all about control, depopulation, and making things better for the ultra-rich. They just want enough peasants left alive to keep things running smoothly.


Watch these two YouTube videos for more information:

CO2 is Greening The Earth

The Climate Agenda



How to Wake Up Normies

Charlie Robinson had some good advice about waking up normies (see the link to the video below). He said instead of verbally unloading or being nasty or acting like a bully, ask the person a question. Being nice and asking a question will help the person actually think about the subject.


Interesting videos:

Charlie Robinson Talks About the Best Way to Wake Up Normies

Georgia Guidestones Explained

The Men Who Own Everything


Interesting Subjects

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