Hotlinking or bandwidth theft is directly linking to a website’s file, such as images, videos, etc. Whenever you access any web file, that action will consume what we call site bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted from one computer (or any digital device) to another at a certain period of time. A web file consumes the bandwidth of the site where it is hosted.
Bandwidth consumption depends on the following factors:
- Size of the file
- Number of users accessing it
- Internet speed
- Type of connection
For instance, if a user accesses an image hosted on your website, this action will consume a portion of your site’s bandwidth. When someone puts a link to the same image in their website, that will also consume a portion of your site’s bandwidth.
Simply put, bandwidth theft is like having a stranger plug into your electrical outlets, use your electricity without your permission, and have you pay for it.
You can prevent other websites from hotlinking images or directly linking to files on your website using a cPanel feature called Hotlink Protection.
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