I was reviewing my website statistics and noticed a website was referring a lot of traffic, so I clicked on the link and saw it was a political website that looked like mine, and even included my own company logo! Not only were they making it look like I endorsed the content, but they were hotlinking to my images – so I was paying for my images to display on their site.
Obviously this needed to be stoped, but how?
If you use a company like HostGator with CPanel, your protection is built in, on other servers you may have to work a bit to protect yourself from these freeloadeers.
If you aren’t using HostGator or another webhost that uses CPanel, you may need to rename all your images, or simply the logo file names to protect yourself from these freeloaders impacting your reputation (on the other hand, you could simply sue, but the effort really isn’t worth it unless the offender has deep pockets).
Many web editors have find/replace functionaily and FrontPage/Expression Web will update all the links to your image files when you rename them.
If You are using Cpanel, you can do what we did. Go to your control panbel and turn on Hot Link Protection. See the screenshots below to see how easy this solution is (be certain to white list your own websites orshared images will dissapear just like in the screenshots below).
Sample of website ripping images with CPanel Hot Link Protection Off
Same site after Hot Link Protection was turned on