Why Hotlinking Sucks

I just moved my site over to a new host. In doing so, I somehow broke my hotlink prevention .htaccess rules.

In 4 days, I blasted through 1.5GB of bandwidth. For some sites, that’s not a lot, but for me, it overloaded what this site is set to do. The biggest drain?

Myspace.

Fμ©k1n9 MySpace.

If you want to use an image from my site in a Myspace comment or profile, you’re out of luck - I will never allow this. (I just had someone email me asking why the picture that they linked to doesn’t work any more, and telling me that my site is “messed up” because the pictures don’t work on Myspace. Um, it was messed up for the last few days, in that the pictures did “work on Myspace.”)

A single relatively small image can cost me nearly a GB of bandwidth if it’s on a popular page on that massive community timewaster. To get around this, any time someone requests an image, and their browser sends the HTTP_REFERER header, and the HTTP_REFERER header is not from my site or one of a very small handful of sites that I authorize (google image search, babelfish, etc.), then you get this 364 byte piece of art: TANSTAAFL - No Free Lunch

TANSTAAFL = “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” As in, “Don’t steal my bandwidth and think that it’s OK, dillhole.”

It’s very simple. Here’s what you do:

  1. Get an account on Flickr or Yahoo! Photos or some other place where you can upload pics.
  2. Right-click on the picture that you want to link to.
  3. Save it to your computer.
  4. Upload it to your Flickr account.
  5. Link to the picture on Flickr.

Little sites like mine can’t afford to share our bandwidth.

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