Say "NO" to Hotlinking

Lately, I have been managing WordPress blogs for several clients.  One of those clients is  a self-proclaimed Luddite, which means (and this is according to her) that she’s a bit wary about new technology.  But she knows that she has to use these tools to grow her business and so she does not mind using them.  So, for the past two weeks, we’re busy transferring her blog to WordPress for easier search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO).


Then, yesterday, she asked me to proofread and publish her new post. I did more than that. I added tags and SEO details and scheduled her post to publish at 9AM. If you want to find out why I scheduled it at 9AM, then please read this post about the best time to publish a blog post.  I then made a note to myself to socially bookmark the post within a few hours after it publishes.  So far, so good.


Image Pending

By this time, I pretty much know how to read the mood of my client in her voice and in her emails. Don’t ask me how I can sense her mood in her emails, I just can.  So when I checked my email account and saw an email from her about the post. I got anxious butterflies in my stomach. I knew something was wrong.


It turned out that there was no image on the post. Wait, let me clarify that. There was no image on the home page of the blog but there was an image on the blog post itself.  To resolve the situation, I went into the edit post section and added a custom field for the image.  “That would take care of that problem…”


To be sure, I checked the home page of the site and still saw  glaring “IMAGE PENDING” sign. Huh? What’s the heck is wrong with this?  I added another custom field for image and updated the post. Then I checked the home page. IMAGE PENDING.

bandwith theft

Hotlinking Is Piracy

Dumbfounded, I paused for a minute or two and tried to think about what’s causing this flux with the theme. Then something hit me! Images should be uploaded to the site’s server and not hotlinked for it to appear on the home page. For those of you who are not familiar with this term, here is a simple explanation that I got from my good friend, Wikipedia.


Hot-linking is a term used on the Internet. Hot-linking is when someone uses a link to an image that is saved on another website instead of saving a copy of the image on the website that the picture will be shown on. For example, instead of saving picture.gif and loading it on to their own website, the person uses a link to the picture as Hot-linking uses the bandwidth of the person who owns the website where the picture is stored. This costs that person money.


After confirming that she hotlinked the image, I downloaded it to my computer, deleted the image she uploaded, and uploaded the image from my computer.  This fixed the “IMAGE PENDING” issue and I felt good knowing that I figured this out within minutes!


Soothing a Client

After taking care of the issue, now comes the hard part — soothing the client. If these technical glitches happen to you, the worst thing you can do is not send an email informing the client that the issue has been resolved.  I sent the client an image and asked her if we can have a quick chat so that I can explain what happened.  The quick chat became a lesson on hotlinking and blog post SEO.  We also got to talk about pending tasks and my leave of  absence due to a summit ( Actually, I will be working still using a custom laptop on the location of my summit.) After an hour or so on the phone, the client’s in a better mood and so am I.









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  1. It’s amazing how your client reacted to such incident. I guess I would start to worry if my client gets an email from another website owner I linked to, asking for explanations, or worst, informs that they are planning to sue him/her for linking without permission. =))
    Anyhoo, do you guys also practice doing proper credits (image credits) for the source of the images? I guess that’s important for copyright purposes.

  2. Squiggy says:

    What about sites like the Huffington Post? The hotline to other newspaper and magazine content all the time don’t they? Likewise, I’ve had people hotlink to my blog content in a similar fashion, I wouldn’t say the Huff Post is pirating content, and I suspect they don’t get permission from every magazine or journal (I could be wrong).

    What about hot linking to images with a shared button? I’ve read that if the company puts up a shared button using the content is presumed to be acceptable from the copyright holders perspective. Is that right? Any thoughts?

    I’m asking these questions because I’m new to topics like hot linking and I want to understand.

  3. I’ve been looking to advise you, you’re right on. I came 2 this article from another engine and am really interested in this niche and learning about this. Do you mind if I link to this post from my mailing list?

  4. Great website. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to a few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you on your sweat!

  5. Very nice article and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thx :)

  6. Hi Nica,

    Interesting blog, I have never heard of hotlinking. I would have panicked if that had happened to me and would not have known what to do. Does the person that did it get into any trouble?

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