How to Detect and Prevent Content Stealing and Hotlinking

It is increasingly common, unfortunately, the theft of content in the network. In many cases come from the Splogs ((False blogs, Blogs that steal content from others with the sole purpose of attracting visitors and get income through advertising)), and when they also perform Hotlinking ((Using the links from the original site, which are also consuming bandwidth from the owner of the content)) becomes a problem to be addressed.

In WordPress Help for a long time we have tried not to put restrictions on the theft of content but try to "educate" whoever we located. But after many unsuccessful communications, in which we received insults in response, we have begun to address this problem and, as is the custom of the house, we will share all the methods to detect and avoid the content theft and hotlinking .

1. How to detect content theft?

Include links to own posts

One of the easiest ways to avoid theft of content, or at least serve you for something and step by reference, is Link yourself in your articles. You can do it in several ways, either manually, linking text of your article to posts related to it or linking keywords to your blog tags using the utility included in the plugin Simple Tags which does it automatically without that you lose time in it.

That if, put the absolute links, of type non-relative of the type / mi-post / . You will get trackbacks from your own blog but it will help you to detect who steals your posts and receive visitors from Splog who are looking for original content.

Link your images

A simple method to detect the theft of content is to leave active the option that WordPress has by default that the images link to themselves. This way you will get trackbacks and you will know who is doing hotlinking or complete content theft. By the way, you also get external links to your site, even if it's to the images. Of course, you can also change this behavior and make it a habit that the images of your posts link to the URL of the post they are included in, much more efficient if possible.


Copyscape ] is an online service that allows you to search our blog content and locate where it appears. It is a specialized search engine that, in its free version, offers a banner to place on our blog to "scare" possible sploggers. They also have versions Premium and Copysentry to automate this type of searches and even manage the cases of plagiarism you find.

Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Check the inbound links daily to your blog on the WordPress Desktop . In this way you will find not only blogs that link to your articles, which of course you should visit and thank them for the detail, but also those who are making use of your content in some way.

2. How to avoid content theft?

We have already seen in another article that there are systems for to create posts of the feeds of a blog with tools that extract the content automatically. Well, many Splogs are created with these applications or plugins.

Although there are many detractors about it I included, because with this technique you somehow betray the objective of the feeds: reading in your feed reader or email the content of a blog to which you have decided to subscribe, can be a (radical) solution to avoid theft of content or, at least, you reverse visits. This is so because in the thief blog you will only see the excerpt of your posts and to see them full you will have to irremediably click the original link of your blog.

As we explained before, one of the biggest cancers these days are the automatic systems of content theft of RSS feeds. Fortunately there are also utilities for add content that, at least, shows in some way the original site of the content.

Cut your posts into several pages

In addition to generating more page impressions in your own blog, if you write a long article it is a good habit to insert the code so that to read it full you have to click on a link, which already leads to your blog and the original article. [19659020] If you use Feedburner to manage your RSS feed there is a very interesting feature that, apart from adding interactivity to your posts, can serve to show you when they steal your content from the feeds also some link that identifies the original site, the feedflares . They are links that you can add at the end of your feeds to socialize your posts, add copyright or a link to the original post. You have a sample in our RSS feed there are the links at the end of each post that show you the author of the article and a link to the original article.

Use external servers to host the images

It seems obvious but it goes without saying that if you host your images on external sites like Flickr or Imageshack you will not be affected by the hotlinking regarding the bandwidth consumption . Yes, you lose track of who is stealing content from you.


AntiLeech is a WordPress plugin that generates "special" content for splogs so that you offer links back to your own blog. To do this, you define a series of chains of IPs and / or agents so that when an IP or suspicious site visits your blog, obtain a false vision of it and can not steal your content. However, unblocked visitors will see your blog normally.


WP Ban is another WordPress plugin, from my dear Lester Chan which allows ban by IP, IP range or domain name to unwanted visitors. Simple to use and highly recommended.


How could it be otherwise, also the .htaccess file can help us avoid the theft of content in very efficient ways. Let's see how to do it.

1. Avoid Content Theft with .htaccess

We will edit the .htaccess file, or create it if it does not exist, and we will add the following lines …

  • IP Banking

    You must, of course, replace the sample IP ( with the IP of the splogger, or add as many as you need.

  • Banning by Domain

    Where you will replace 'splogger' with the domain name of the content thief.

2. Avoid Hotlinking with .htaccess

We can also prevent theft of images and bandwidth with the .htaccess file. We have two main options:

    • No image alternative: Adding these lines to our .htaccess prevents our images from being stolen and consumes us bandwidth.

      The first lines are saying which domains IF you allow to display your images. As you can see, the first, essential, is yours (whether you have www or not), and then you can add as many lines as you want to allow your images to show.

      The last line is where we indicate which types of files will not be seen in the Splog being able to add the ones that you usually use in your blog.

    • With alternative image: With this method we do not avoid the consumption of bandwidth (although we can also host the image on an external server) but it is much more "convincing" as the Splog readers will know that the aforementioned site is a content thief. The idea is that you generate an image like that we have and show it instead of the originals of your articles.

      Here, starting from the same principle of the previous case, we change the last line so that anyone trying to show your files (gif, jpg, jpeg, png – even javascript files, css or zip) appears our "personalized" image of punishment or notice to navigators.

      NOTES :

      1. The modifiers you see are for giving special instructions. Thus ' NC ' indicates that it is not case-sensitive, ' R ' which redirects the request to the URL that we indicate, ' F ' which is prohibit the loading of any extension that we indicate and ' L ' indicates that it is the last rule to comply if the conditions indicated above are met.
      2. It is important that the extension of the alternative image be, for example , JPE to prevent our own rules from blocking it. Of course you can choose another image format as long as we have not blocked it in our list of blocked extensions with the rule applied.

You can also easily generate this type of codes for .htaccess in this tool online .


Of course, you will not avoid it in the vast majority of cases but it is always convenient to add a license to use the contents of our blog so that we can defend our authorship in case of plagiarism or theft.

The most recommendable are these:

  • Creative Commons – CC is based on the inclusion of a icon that redirects to a text with unilateral manifestation of assignment of rights, coloriuris are contracts of assignment of rights, in such a way that the visitors of a website can accept the contract proposed by the author of the contents, being a copy of the contract for the two parties.
  • Coloriuris – It comes to offer a type of contract of assignment of rights for owners of blogs, web pages and audiovisual content. Using color codes you can choose the type of license chosen, including the code on your site offers a popup with the conditions of the same.

As main difference it seems that while Creative Commons are holders of the brand and any day could charge for the "service", Coloriuris gives a license to use the brand and guarantee that it will always be free. In addition, Coloriuris is better adapted to the Spanish legislation, although it supports others.

I hope that all these tips will help you, that you keep them in your favorites and spread them. Of course, if you disagree, you have something to discuss or you want to point to some system but it's your turn.

NOTICE : this publication is from two years ago or more. If it's a code or a plugin it might not work in the latest versions of WordPress, and if it's a news story it might be obsolete. Then do not say that we have not warned you.

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