A Safe Haven => General Discussion => Topic started by: on June 24, 2009, 08:11:01 pm

Title: Hotlinking: What it is and why it isn't allowed.
Post by: on June 24, 2009, 08:11:01 pm
There is still confusion about hotlinking images and why it's not allowed. Hopefully this explanation will help clear this up for those of you who are still confused.

Hotlinking to an image (also known as piggybacking, leeching and other descriptive names) is when you use the img tags to wrap around an image found on another site to make it appear here, or any other site. This is bandwidth theft. Every time a page with a hotlinked image is loaded, the outside server has to use bandwidth to display the image... bandwidth someone else is paying for. It's bad netiquette and we don't allow it. If it helps you to understand, it's like someone else plugging into your phone line to make a long distance call you have to pay for. Bandwidth theft is a serious issue since you are, in essence, stealing money out of someone's pocket. Removing the IMG tags doesn't change anything either. With or without them, a hotlink is a hotlink.

What you should do is save the image to your computer and upload it to a third party image hosting service, such as Photobucket, Imageshack or whatever hosting site you prefer, and display it here that way. Most image hosting sites are simple to use and will provide you with the bulletin board code you need for your images to display here. It only takes a few minutes to upload and grab the code (so the oft seen "I didn't have the time" excuse is a poor one, indeed). Any images we find hotlinked will be removed and if you keep hotlinking after being asked not to, you will be warned and possibly even banned.  

Title: Re: Hotlinking: What it is and why it isn't allowed.
Post by: Tenshii~Akari on August 19, 2009, 06:28:58 am
Another clarification on hotlinking:

Posting links from another site that goes straight to downloading a file off of their site is also bandwidth theft.  Please refrain from doing this.  If you have a link to a download on a site you want to share but the page won't allow you to directly link to it, please remember to link to the site's homepage and add instructions on where to look instead of doing the previously mentioned.  :)

ETA 10/17/10:  Just to sum up  and elaborate a little on what Joy has posted above, since some people still have no idea how they are hotlinking to images:

Q:  What is hotlinking exactly?

Posting links to files or images that load from a different server/website location that is not your own (without consent of the original owner or service).

Q:  Why is hotlinking bad?

Hotlinking is a form of theft.  The owner of the original site/image account/server that the files are hosted on would have to put up with unexpected bandwidth spikes each time a page with links to their content is loaded... and for those who have image accounts that push hard on the maximum bandwidth available per month, it's a pain to find out that images have been directly linked to.  (This also affects those who view the images in a way... everyone knows the "bandwidth exceeded" replacements are not very appealing to look at.) In the end, it's the owner who would have to pay for the damages caused by hotlinks, and it also has potential to cause a conflict between the site owners and this site over the issue.  (Something that  everyone would rather not have to deal with at all.)

Q:  How do I know if I'm doing this?

You'll know if your hotlinking by two main signs:

  • The link automatically starts downloading a file upon being clicked.

  • The url of the file or image posted is copied directly from someone else's website, server, or image hosting account without permission.  In the case of images, this also means with or without image tags. (Why without also? Without the tags, it becomes just another run-of-the-mill hyperlink.  See the first "Q" and previous bullet for further clarification.)

Q:  How do I avoid it?  The only reason I hotlinked before was because I don't know how to upload the images I have to share!

There are several places you can go for your uploading needs:

Image Hosting

  • Tinypic ( - Instant Upload/Optional registration, (reCAPTCHA entry upon upload to verify you as an actual person and not a bot)
    Tinypic no longer allows international links, therefore it is useless for people outside of the US and Canada.  Personally, I no longer recommend this as a reliable uploading source if you want everyone else who is located outside of those areas to view your images.  :p  Better alternatives are offered below. 

  • Imageshack ( - Instant Upload/Optional registration

  • Imgur ( - Optional Registration

  • ImageBanana ( - (German) Optional Registration

  • EZPicShare ( - No Registration

  • Photobucket ( - Registration Required

  • Flickr ( - Registration with Yahoo ID Required

A myriad of others are also available.  For more image hosting choices, here is a list of links for free image hosting (

SimplePortal 2.1.1