Tuesday, October 31, 2006

[Misc.] Photos and Bandwidth

I have a question for those of you who host your blog on your own domain. First, some background:

I use Blogger to maintain my blog, but I host it as a subdomain of my website. For the first time, this month I went over the 40 G of traffic I'm allowed by my hosting company and had to pay for extra bandwidth. Now, checking out links to my blog, I'm finding several instances in which people are using my photos on their blogs or sites by linking to the images on my server. I know this is costing me bandwidth.

My question is, is there any way I can prevent this? And should I try? I really don't mind people using my photos when they give credit (and am always happy when a fellow food blogger likes my photo enough to use it). But some of these sites are those spam sites that just harvest blog entries to increase their ad revenue.

I've liked having my images on my site where I feel in control of them, but should I think of having them hosted elsewhere?


This Post was written by SusanV from FatFree Vegan Kitchen


paul said...

If your host allows editing of the .htaccess file you can prohibit other domains other than your from displaying your image from your server.

See this htaccess tutorial on the subject. You can disallow specific domains (livejournal is a HUGE theif of my images) or even switch out an image to show on the thieves' sites (which can be loads of fun if you're creative).

See the warning: you may block some legitimate traffic (such as users behind proxies or firewalls) using these techniques.

Also if you publish full feeds with images your feed may render without them in some readers.

cybele said...

I use htaccess and have found it to stem a huge portion of my bandwidth.

Some months I have over 50,000 hits from hotlinked images from MySpace ... they don't actually get the image but that doesn't seem to stop them from trying to hotlink.

Some people substitute a little advertising image that says "please visit fatfreevegan.com" or something like that, but at 50K links that was getting prohibitive for my hosting plan.

I have mine set up so most feedreaders (bloglines, etc.) can still see the images as I deliver full feeds (with a little advertising sometimes to keep my costs in check).

The other option is to use a site like Flickr to host your images - it's free and pretty reliable (and the paid version is only $20 a year).

Kalyn said...

Susan, although it doesn't directly address the bandwidth problem, whenever I find one of those splogs have stolen my content or my photos I click on "ads by google" and then "give google feedback on the ads you just saw." Then I select "report a violation" and type "This is not a legitimate blog. They are stealing my content to create a site to host ads." It seems to really work in getting them shut down and doesn't take that long.

kungfoodie Kat said...

Does your hosting account include a control panel? Usually there is a section for Web Tools or Domain Tools which has an option to enable 'hotlink' protection. This allows you to set which domains can link to your images.

SusanV said...

Paul, thanks for that link. That's what I was looking for. I'm going to research it and decide what's the best option.

Cybele, I would like to set mine up like yours, so that feed readers can see the photos. If you can share the details of how you did that, I'd appreciate it. I will also consider going to Flikr, though I have this weird thing about keeping my photos on my server.

Kalyn, thanks for that tip. I've never clicked on one of those ads before because I didn't want to encourage them. Now that I know that I can complain, I'll have to do it.

Kat, I've never noticed that in my control panel, but I will have to check.

Thanks to you all for your help!