Hotlinking or bandwidth theft is directly linking to a website’s file, such as images, videos, etc. Whenever you access any web file, that action will consume what we call site bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted from one computer (or any digital device) to another at a certain period of time. A web file consumes the bandwidth of the site where it is hosted.
Bandwidth consumption depends on the following factors:
- Size of the file
- Number of users accessing it
- Internet speed
- Type of connection
For instance, if a user accesses an image hosted on your website, this action will consume a portion of your site’s bandwidth. When someone puts a link to the same image in their website, that will also consume a portion of your site’s bandwidth.
Simply put, bandwidth theft is like having a stranger plug into your electrical outlets, use your electricity without your permission, and have you pay for it.
You can prevent other websites from hotlinking images or directly linking to files on your website using a feature called Hotlink Protection.
To enable and configure this feature in your Linux Web Hosting's cPanel, click here. To do this in your Windows Web Hosting's Plesk panel, continue with the instructions below.
How to Enable and Configure Hotlink Protection in Plesk
Follow these instructions to enable and configure the Hotlink Protection feature in your Plesk panel.
- Click Sign Up / Log In at the top of this page.
- Select Hosting Manager from the drop-down menu.
- Enter your username and password, then click Log In.
- Click Websites & Domains from the left-side menu.
- Click the Hotlink Protection icon under the domain name whose website files you wish to protect.
If you can't find the icon, click the [V] Show More option.
- Ensure that the icon under Tools is showing as Switch On. Otherwise, click the Switch Off link to turn it on.
- Under Protected files extensions, list all the file extensions that you wish to protect, separating each extension with a space.
- Under Addresses of friendly websites, list all the sites that you would like to allow linking to your website. This system attempts to add all sites it knows you own to the list; however, you may need to add others.
- Click OK to save.
Congratulations! You just enabled and configured Hotlink Protection in Plesk.
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