Recently my server logs show a big increase in requests for a single image, the one shown above. Somebody must be hotlinking this image! Hotlinking is when somebody uses an image on their page, but does not put a copy of the image on their server. Each time somebody views that page, the image is requested from my server. In general, hotlinking images is not polite, since you use bandwidth of somebody else.
This specific image is not mine, I found it on somebody else’s page and copied it to my server to use it.
There are several methods to stop hotlinking. You can block all requests that do not come from your own site, so all visitors of that site will see is a red x. Or you can serve another image instead, with a text explaining why hotlinking is bad, or with the Goatse man… I decided not to do so. First of all, since I have enough bandwidth to serve these sites, and secondly because I thought it would be better to use the image to make some advertising for my site. So I added this site’s address to the image, so it will be shown on all sites using this image from my site.