About Hotlinking

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You see warnings against it, entire websites about it, and now you've found a little button featuring Dr. Tenma warning you of Hotlinking. But what is it? Why does it cause so much dispute?
 
Say you're writing an article, like I am now. But say you require a picture. You search the internet, find the picture and get ready to use it. You're not sure about how much space you have on your own server, so you right-click the image, go to "properties" and take the file URL. Then, you plug the URL into your HTML and retire for the day.
Then, you check on your website days later and find the picture's been replaced by porno.
 
What just happened? Well, by right-clicking and using the image, that's called "hotlinking". Lots of webmasters, especially the ones who pay for their server, hate it. If someone hotlinks when the webmaster has used their monthly limit, called a "bandwidth", they suck more space from the bandwidth. Then the webmaster has to pay out for somebody's inexperience of laziness. And here's where things get scary.
 
Depending on who you're taking from, they'll leave you either an "Oops! Hotlinking is not allowed" GIF or some really dirty picture. Quite a few people believe that the hotlinker has no rights, so you'll never know what fright you'll get. With me, Audobon Bay Bridge and Toontown are hosted on Tripod, so the most you'll get is a "HOSTED BY TRIPOD" image. Not like I'm saying you should hotlink.
 
Somebody, and I'm still not sure who, hotlinked up to 200 KB of my bandwidth. If they HAD consumed all of it, my account would have been down until the end of the month or until I paid for you. Take it from me, kids.
 
When I was 12 and using the shoddy Blinkz, the only option was to copy pictures from a source and place them in a blog-like posting. I ran into trouble with Mystie's Place, whom I hotlinked about six pictures from. In return, I got some disturbing pictures of Gosalyn pole-dancing, Morgana naked and an f-bomb filled threat letter. The "picture gallery" went down immediately, and soon after the entire site. That's when I settled here.
 
How did Mystie do it? Well, she would take a picture I was using, say its file name is duck.jpg. I am linked to this certain file, so she changes its file name, hides a dirty picture on her server and gives the porn the duck.jpg file name. Presto, the porn shows up on my website.
 
I was 12. I was in cold shivers for an hour afterwards. See, if it happened to a lonely, obsessed kid running a slipshod "Darkwing Duck" website, if can happen to you.
 
However, sometimes you can be exposed to anti-hotlinking swill by doing a Google Image search and clicking "see full-size image". This happened to me twice, once a cartoon site with a friendly text reminder. The other time, I got a giant skeleton sprite with some kind of meowing WAV playing.
 
If you still need to hotlink, use PhotoBucket or ImageShack. Both allow you to make accounts and store your images, and the second is a come-as-you-go operation (which occasionally loses images). You take the required picture's URL, put it in the loading bar and the site hosts it for you. Trust me. Either of these are safer than linking up to someone else's page.
 
So take care when using pictures, everyone. You can't tell what you'll get yourself into.
 
~December 22, 2007
 
 
The writer gives permission for people to link to this page as a resource.

Darkwing Duck is property of Buena Vista Entertainment/Disney, 1991-2010. Site design and written material by "Fauna" Crawford, 2005-2010. No Disney characters or images are being claimed by the webmaster, just being loved.