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by Brian Stolzemail this article
Summary : Remote file linking, which is also known as hot linking, is a common cause of high bandwidth usage. There are several ways to combat remote linking.
If your Web Hosting Company provides a remote linking protection feature, you may enable it to deny access to any attempts to view your images or files from an outside site. This forces the visitor to first view your site before they can download the image and/or file.
Alternatively, if your Web Host allows you to use a custom .htaccess file, you can enable remote linking protection by simply adding a few lines of code into that file.
If you are using PHP and a Database to store your images, there is another method you may use to stop remote image linking.
All of these methods simply check the "referring URL" to ensure that that URL is the same as the site you are currently visiting. For instance, if you are at trafficzap.com and they are linking to an image off of bravenet.com and Bravenet has remote linking protection enabled on their servers, you will not be able to view the image.
Another common practice is to require all visitors that wish to download a file from your website to signup for a free downloading account, and then login to a password protected area of your website. However any images or files you have outside the members area will still be vulnerable to hot linking.
You should also regularly change the name of your images. This will cause anyone who is linking to your images to receive broken images on their website.
Remember, no one method of protection is foolproof, and it is always best to use multiple methods of protection to ensure you are not subject to bandwidth theft due to hot linking of your images and files.
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