Hotlinking

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Hotlinking is an internet term. It means displaying an image on a website by linking to the website hosting the image. The link gets the source data of the picture each time it is needed.

This avoids having the image on every website which uses it. So, a website owner uses a link to the picture such as http://example.com/picture.jpg. When the hotlinking website is loaded, the image is loaded from the original website, which uses its bandwidth, so it costs the hotlinked website money. For this reason many website owners use .htaccess files to prevent hotlinking. In some cases website owners use the .htaccess file to replace any hotlinked images with an offensive image to deter any other website owners from hotlinking.

The original image may be owned by the original website. It might be wrong to make a copy of the original image file for use on a different web page, without being careful to get proper permission.

Hotlinking can also be used for file types other than images, including documents and videos.