View Full Version : FAQ: Don't Hot Link or Inline Link to Images; Image Size Info

06-24-2011, 05:20 AM
Absolute Write Image Linking Policy

Absolute Write's official policy prohibits hotlinking (also known as inline linking) to images on sites that you do not own or where you do not have an account that is intended for image linking.


Hotlinking or inline linking refers to using the vBulletin image link tool (accessed via this icon: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/editor/insertimage.gif) to link to an image on a site that is not yours, or that is not stored on your account on an image hosting site like PhotoBucket or Flickr or Picasa.

Sharp-eyed member Mac H reminds me that some sites, like xkcd.com, explicitly provide permission (as explained here (http://xkcd.com/license.html)) for hotlinking; they too would be an exception to the rule, though I'd include a link in the post to the hosting site's policy as a courtesy.

Why is Hotlinking a Problem

Because it uses the bandwidth of the site where the image lives, and the owner of the site is therefore paying for AW bandwidth.

Because the image may not be in a context that the rights holder and owner find acceptable.

Because the site owner or image owner may be annoyed enough to swap out the innocent image of kittens and bunnies you linked to, and replace it with a pornographic or offensive image.

Because the image may contain code or malware.

Because it makes MacAllister's eyeballs itch when she gets a nasty email from the poor person whose bandwidth jumped dramatically because someone on AW hotlinked to a cute kitty cat picture.

And for lots of other reasons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inline_linking#Controversial_uses_of_inline_linkin g).

How Should You Link to Images

Get a free account at PhotoBucket (http://photobucket.com/) or Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/) or Picasa (http://picasaweb.google.com/) or ImageShack (http://imageshack.us/) or a similar site, and upload the image there. Look for a Share button or menu item on that site. Copy the image URL or use the Share feature to create BBulletin code, the code used by the AW Forums software, to link to the image.

Copy the address of the specific image on your hosting account that you want to link to in a post.
Write your post.
When you are ready to insert the linked image, position your cursor where you want the image to show.
Click the Image Insert button http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/editor/insertimage.gif
Copy the URL for the image in the field.
Click OK.

PhotoBucket makes this especially easy because they give you a link that's already formatted; you can just copy and paste it into the body of a post.

You want a link that looks like this http://somewebaddress.example.com


Please do not link to very large images; keep them to within about 400 x 400 pixels, and small files, please.

We have a lot of members who pay for Internet access based on how much data they use, and a lot who are still using dialup.

Be courteous when a Mod asks you to reduce an image in size.

Ask for assistance if you need help reducing an image.

Don't link, post or use images in violation of copyright. Just Don't.

Remember that chocolate is one of the basic food groups.

Kitty Pryde
06-24-2011, 05:27 AM
OK, I have a question. If I have an image hosted on my blahdeblah .blogspot.com blog, can I link to that image?

06-24-2011, 05:45 AM
OK, I have a question. If I have an image hosted on my blahdeblah .blogspot.com blog, can I link to that image?

If Google lets you sure, but there's a faint possibility that you'll exceed your bandwidth and they'll throttle the account, taking your blog offline temporarily.

Mac H.
06-24-2011, 01:10 PM
I assume that XKCD is still OK - because they specifically say on their site that it is permitted?


.. you are free to copy and reuse any of my drawings (noncommercially) as long as you tell people where they're from.

That is, you don't need my permission to post these pictures on your website (and hotlinking with <img> is fine)

Ref: http://xkcd.com/license.html


AW Admin
06-24-2011, 06:05 PM
I assume that XKCD is still OK - because they specifically say on their site that it is permitted?


Ref: http://xkcd.com/license.html


Yep. That's fine. You can't edit image size though, so do keep that in mind.

And were I hotlinking to XKCD I'd add a note in the post to the effect that they give permission, since not everyone is a shining model of virtue who reads FAQs, like you.

I'm going to edit the FAQ right now 'cause of you. You'll be famous.

06-26-2011, 02:03 AM
Remember that chocolate is one of the basic food groups.

Too many people forget this.

Great post, Medi, thanks. :)

09-28-2011, 06:55 PM
For more, see this post from Mac...

The problem is less the space taken up on the server, more that there's a limit as to how much data can be transmitted every month for many websites. If we hotlink to an image on someone else's site, we're using someone else's bandwidth without their permission -- it's sort of like running an illegal pipe into their irrigation ditch. And AW is a pretty big pipe.

AW has a ton of traffic -- upward of 3 million page loads a month. For a hotlink to an image on Joe Schmoe's blog, hosted on his own domain, that can mean it costs Joe real money in actual bandwidth overage charges -- and those are like cell phone minutes; overages add up really fast.

Photobucket, Flickr, other file-hosting sites, or your own website are totally cool to link to. :) Though, if you're linking to an image hosted on your own website, you might want to make sure you have sufficient bandwidth, if the hotlink ends up in a particularly high-traffic thread. :)


10-26-2011, 02:43 PM
You should optimize your images to make them smaller. There are several online tools like this one


This also lets your resize your image so it's quite handy to get to 400x400 pixels or less!

Google is REALLY emphasizing page load time and reducing your image sizes helps a LOT.

10-27-2011, 07:42 PM
Just for clarity. Over at the poetry sub-forum we've been doing a community driven Poem of the Week prize/award/announcement and the named poet has since been receiving a badge code including this image to display the accolade:


I own the host site and created the image. Is it ok?

10-27-2011, 09:45 PM
I own the site and created the image. Is it ok?


02-17-2012, 08:41 PM
i linked a couple of images to photobucket in the Romanian/International thread yesterday. are they too large?



02-18-2012, 02:56 AM
As long as it's your photobucket account, it should be fine.

(And whoa, btw! :eek:)

Justin D Hill
02-29-2012, 12:26 PM
Thank you for the advice