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January 10, 2006

A note on images here

Due to useless bandwidth increases caused by someone not playing nice, I've disabled hotlinking of images from this blog. I know some of you hotlinked the moonbat icons and I'm glad you liked them, and I hope you'll feel free to just upload the images to your site and use them that way. (A link back to that post would be nice.)

I know a lot of folks read this blog through LiveJournal feeds, so I've allowed hotlinking from that domain.

If my doing this breaks your blog in any way, I'm sorry. Here's a little background info on the issue. I don't mind a bit of bandwidth sharing among friends, but hotlinking is generally considered bad form and it's best to avoid it where possible.

Posted by Chris Clarke at January 10, 2006 11:14 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I have no idea what you're talking about, since "bandwith" is not in my vocabulary, but if I've been doing this you may publicly flog me. Even if I haven't, I probably deserve it anyway.

Posted by: KathyF at January 11, 2006 09:22 AM
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KathyF, here's my laywoman's explanation of what Chris' talking about.

A page that displays an image has code in it telling it where to go to get the image so that it can show it to visitors. Each time a visitor loads the page, the image is downloaded from whereever it is stored. Depending on how big the image is, this may or may not take a lot of processing power. (You get a sense of this when you try loading a big picture on a slow dial-up account vs. a broadband account -- one takes a long time, because the "width" is so narrow and the file is so big.) Most servers put limits on how much bandwidth can be used (how much information can go through the pipe) so it's good for the person who owns the site to be in charge of what goes through the part of the pipe registered to him or her.

Every web page that displays pictures has to store them somewhere. If you store your pictures on your own site, it's easy for your page to load them up, and they are only loaded up when someone comes to that site. Thus the amount of load-up time is directly related to the number of people visiting the site.

If you ask your web page to display pictures that are stored somewhere else (hotlinking), every time your page is loaded up, it not only taps into your bandwidth, but into the bandwidth of the person who _is_ storing that picture. So their picture gets loaded up not only by their visitors, but by yours. If you have many people all hotlinking the same image, it's as if the host is having all those people visit their site -- but not really. The host has to pay for all that traffic (picture downloads) even though the visitors aren't visiting him or her. So if you're a good blogger, and you have permission to share someone else's images, you download them to your own site first.

It's like if you're throwing a party. If you're a good host, you expect to provide goodies for your guests, and that the cost of doing so will be directly related to how many people you can get to come over. If you're a really good host, you may make extra food so that your neighbors can take some home and throw their own parties. That's what Chris has done with the moonbat images; he offered them to people to put on their own sites and display there.

If you're a hotlinker, it's as if you're throwing a party but sending all your guests over to your neighbor's party for the food. Your poor neighbor gets the bills and the dirty carpet while you get the guests and nice conversation.

So basically Chris has decided to shut the door to all those outside, uninvited guests, meaning that the hotlinkers either have to provide their own food or let their guests go hungry, instead of making Chris do all the hosting and pay all the extra bills.

Posted by: Rana at January 12, 2006 02:05 PM
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Okay, next time I'll bring chips.

Posted by: KathyF at January 14, 2006 12:32 AM
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