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How to prevent bandwidth theft or Hotlinking

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September 10, 2019

How to use the Hotlink Protection feature in SiteWorx to help protect your site's images and videos from potential hotlinking and bandwidth theft.


Bandwidth theft, or "hotlinking," occurs when someone links to a file on your website or server from their website. Without adequate protection, a hotlinked video will use your bandwidth for all users viewing the video, even if they are viewing from another website. 

Since your bandwidth is limited according by your specific hosting package, hotlinking can potentially cause bandwidth overage and subsequent fees.  


ATTENTION: This method only works for Nexcess clients on physical (non-cloud) servers. If you are a Nexcess Cloud client, please contact our support team.

  1. Log in to your SiteWorx account.

  2. From the main menu, click Hosting Features > Htaccess.

  3. Click the Hotlink Protection link for the directory that you want to manage.

  4. Specify the hotlink protection properties, as follows:

    1. Hotlink Protection Status: Enable, or on, and disable, or off hotlink protection. Blocked Extensions: Type the file extensions you want to be protected from hotlinking. For example, .gif, .jpg, .wmv, or .mov. One extension is entered per line.

    2. Allowed Domains: Type the names of the domains you want to allow hotlinking to files with the extensions you entered in the Blocked Extensions field.

      ATTENTION: The domains you own and manage in SiteWorx will always be allowed to hotlink to the listed extensions and will be automatically populated in the Allowed Domains field.

    3. Allow Direct Access: Decide whether you want to allow direct access to the blocked content. For example, if you want to directly access an image on your site, you would enter the path in your browser's address bar. For example, Or direct access allows access to the protected extensions when the HTTP _REFERRER field if the .htaccess file is empty.

      • If you select Off, the request to directly access a file will be blocked.

      • If you select On, this type of direct access will be allowed, and only embedded hotlink attempts will be blocked.

    4. Replace With: If you want to replace the blocked content with a different image file, type the URL of this file in the text field. If this option is set with a valid, absolute URL to an image file, for example,, a hotlinked image will be replaced with this URL . If this option is not set, a hotlinked image will return a 403 Forbidden response.

  5. Click Update.

For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our support team by email or through your Client Portal.
Jason Dobry
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