Hotlinking Rant

I’ve been getting hit by hot linking pretty hard lately. If the site has been slow and unresponsive lately, it might have been because of that. Apparently someone has been using some of the images hosted here in their post signature on some very active forums resulting in almost an unintentional mini DDOS. Thanks fuckers. My bandwidth is still fine, and I don’t owe any overcharges. In fact, this didn’t even put a big dent in my bandwidth allowance. But it does put a strain on the server for absolutely no reason.

Quick run through the logs revealed that images from my site were used on at least 5 or 6 different forums, and at least 3 Myspace profiles and several live journals. I would just want to ask, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING? Are you retarded? Did you just get internet yesterday? I mean, what the fuck?

Think about it – you are hotlinking to a picture that sits on a server maintained by some dude you don’t even know. What stops me from swapping the file you just linked with say tubgirl, lemonparty, goatse or perhaps some nasty mashup of the three? I mean, other than common decency. If I was a real jackass, it would take me two clicks of a mouse to put a really, really vile, disgusting images in your signature or on your myspace profile.

Oh, and if I’m extra nasty I might just shoot an abuse complaint to myspace staff and say you are posting vile pr0n. Which you technically would be if I swapped around some images. From what I heard they delete accounts first, and ask questions second. Same goes for LJ.

So you really are putting your good name, and the integrity of your account on a given forum or social network in someone else’s hands. This is not a good position to put yourself into. One day you will piss off a guy that is a much bigger dick than I am, and you might likely get banned or loose your account on a given network.

The ironic thing is that I really don’t have any original images on this site. What you people are linking to are usually cropped, resized low quality copies of original work that can be fund elsewhere. But I guess anyone lazy enough to hotlink, is to lazy to click on a link and go to the source. Sigh…

Because of this I decided to disable hotlinking from outside domains. I’m using the following .htaccess file i my uploads directory:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?terminally-incoherent\.com/ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !bloglines\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !google\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !search\?q=cache [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^*(www\.)?terminally-incoherent\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://[^./]*\.talkr\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteRule \.(jpe?g|gif|png)$ - [F]

What this means is that you can still access images directly, and and that google, bloglines and some other services will still have access. You will still be able to see the images embedded in RSS feed from within your online reader as before. Everyone else will get a nice 403 Forbidden error. I could silently redirect hotlinked images to use Coral Cache, but you know what – I don’t care anymore. Fuck it. Stupid people can deal with broken image tags. Smart people already coralized it or uploaded it somewhere else. This way I loose minimal amount of bandwidth, and spend as little time possible responding to your request.

Btw, if you are using an online RSS reader that is not on my list please let me know what it is in the comments and I’ll add it to the exception list.

Also, if you do feel the need to link directly to an image hosted here you will now need to use ImgRed. How does it work? It’s simple – simply slap in front of the image URL. That’s all you need to do – the image will get cashed on ImgRed servers which takes a load of my page, and still lets you share the image without the hassle of uploading it to another service. You can also use Coral Cache as mentioned before. Both work equally well.

You notice that neither of the caching mechanisms are on my exception list. They don’t have to be. They were designed to work around this. So use them.

[tags]hotlinking, direct linking, forums, myspace, lj, live journal, web design, .htaccess, apache[/tags]

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4 Responses to Hotlinking Rant

  1. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says:

    You are too nice. I usually just change the image to some really nasty image (I am extremely warped, so use your imagination). I get much enjoyment watching individuals that steal my images get banned from various forums . . . :-D

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:


    I never really developed that BOFH streak. I’m to nice for my own good. :P

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  3. I’d do the tubgirl thing, though it doesn’t seem to work well. One image on my site is popular for hot linking as an avatar in various forums. For awhile, I served a special no-hot-linking image that just said “I enjoy raping children”, which would appear prominently in their little forum profiles (I checked them to make sure it worked). However, this didn’t have any effect on the hot linking.

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Chris Wellons: LOL! Yeah, that’s probably because they did not see it. Their cache (which they never clean out) still had the original image, and their forum buddies probably thought it was some meme or inside joke.

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