Hotlinking Images? We have all done it. Warnings!Warnings!Warnings!

When adding an image to your page on iblog.stjschool.org with a link to an image on another site, you may get unexpected results. This is called hotlinking: when images appear to be embedded on your page, but are simply linked to someone else’s page.

Advantages: no bandwidth or disk quota used from your account because you are not storing/delivering the image here.

Disadvantage: many “smart” sites forbid and display a 404 error. Some may just limit to a finite number, say 5 visits per day. Unscrupulous sites will surprise your visitors with a redirected hotlink path to images you didn’t want to show. YIKES! Hence, HOT- linking, as in play with fire? … gonna get burned.

The ethics of “hotlinking” can be equated to the ethics of stealing an image without the original author’s permission. Look for a “you are forbidden” message. But that’s not all, a web server can simply detect a hotlinked image and replace it with anything they like. Be warned, if I can program the snowotherway server to refer all attempts at hotlinking to a 404.html file, so can any other. Judge wisely, test and retest a “hotlinked” image before committing it to publication. Unscrupulous webservers fight this “theft” in unscrupulous ways, so be very careful.

Now, a smart web host, like snowotherway, will use server settings to eliminate the practice of “hotlinking” into your file folders to “steal” our bandwidth. And, no, I won’t refer redirects to “unscrupulous” images.

Commercial sites like Amazon.ca, and imdb.com, may even encourage the practice of hotlinking for obvious commercial reasons. But they are huge, have tonnes of bandwidth, and they may profit if you follow an image from their site.

Conclusion, a human is the only judge of what a picture image on the ‘net looks like. No computer or software can actually “see” an image. So be warned, what you tell another site to deliver in an image to your web page, may not be what your visitors get.

Out,

D. Sader

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