Bye Bye, Freeloaders

Don't Bogart My Bandwidth!

I received an email a couple of days ago from someone who thoughtfully noted that someone was stealing bandwidth from my by hotlinking to images in my /images directory. Effectively these people use your webserver to serve images for their websites. It’s tacky: kind of like filling your pockets with napkins and packets of ketchup when you go to a fast food restaurant. Any individual act is admittedly pretty trivial, but as of noon today, 546 images had been served to these people. Sigh.

A bit of research yielded a recipe for preventing this. Since I installed it a half hour ago, 46 further accesses have been routed to a banner image that will hopefully be less attractive.

All of my images are just a click away, but if you are going to swipe them, at least use your own bandwidth to distribute them.

Update: Two people have noted this broke reading from bloglines. I’ll fix it shortly.

4 thoughts on “Bye Bye, Freeloaders”

  1. Have you verified that with this new method, images that you reference in your blog posts will show up correctly in other readers? For example, I read this using Bloglines, and I expect that the request for your image was directed to the “do not steal” item, since the referrer would be bloglines.com instead of your own site. I’m not sure about other readers that do their own HTML composition on a local machine.

  2. I just verified that I’m getting the “do not steal” image when I looked at your last 48 hours of posts in Bloglines.

  3. Hi honey. I’m seeing the “don’t steal bandwidth” from bloglines today, also, on the brain2600a.png. I only see it the first time I go into bloglines, but not when I go back to bloglines (after checking it out here).

  4. There are some people who don’t post your pics inline but do post a link directly to the picture on your website. For example, an online profile of one of my friends links directly to your uglycat.jpg image. These links are blocked as bandwidth theft. Perhaps if you put these images on HTML pages for people to directly link to, it would solve your so-called bandwidth theft program. As far as I can tell, you don’t give an option to do this on your website.

    Editor’s note:

    People can of course link to any HTML page on my website. I also provide the ability to freely access my directory of images, which I even index so that you can peruse and download as you see fit. What I don’t allow is for you to just link directly to an image, because it can be abused. A number of sites, producing tens and occasionally hundreds of megabytes of traffic per day were linking to images that I stored, but providing no links to my website at all. They don’t serve me or my readers. I don’t think I should be providing them free bandwidth.

    If you like an image and would like to link to it, copy it locally and serve it yourself. I can’t stop you if I wanted to. What I don’t want to do is to spend my bandwidth serving images for you.

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