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Hotlink Protection

Enable Hotlink Protection on Apache

If your WordPress site is running on Apache, all you need to do is open the .htaccess file in your site’s root directory (or create it) and add the following:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?bing.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yahoo.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|svg)$ http://dropbox.com/hotlink-placeholder.jpg [NC,R,L]

The second line allows blank referrers. You will most likely want to enable this as some visitors use a personal firewall or antivirus program that deletes the page referrer information sent by the web browser. If you don’t allow blank referrers, you could inadvertently disable all of your images for those users.

The third line defines the allowed referrer, the site that is allowed to link to the image directly, this should be your website (update yourdomain.com above with your domain). The fourth, fifth, and sixth lines add search engines to the allowed list, because you don’t want to block crawlers such as Google bot or Bing bot. This could prevent your images from showing and indexing in Google image search.

And the seventh line defines the image you want the visitor to see in place of the hotlink protected image. This not required, but you could give them a friendly warning. If you want to allow multiple sites you can duplicate this row and replace the referrer. If you want to generate some more complex rules, take a look at this htaccess hotlink protection generator.

If you are using the above rules along with a CDN, you might also need to whitelist your CDN subdomain.

Enable Hotlink Protection on NGINX

If you are running on NGINX, all you need to do is open your config file and add the following:

location ~ .(gif|png|jpeg|jpg|svg)$ {
     valid_referers none blocked ~.google. ~.bing. ~.yahoo. yourdomain.com *.yourdomain.com;
     if ($invalid_referer) {
        return   403;
    }
}

If you are a Kinsta user and aren’t using a CDN, we can add this for you. Just open up a quick ticket with our support team from the MyKinsta dashboard. If you are using the above rules along with a CDN, you might also need to whitelist your CDN subdomain.

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