Hotlink Protection in Windows Plesk

Posted on December 25th, 2019

Clients use a control panel to simplify the management of their accounts, website, domain, etc. It is generally a graphical user interface so that even a non-technical user can manage everything on the server. The features offered by a control panel denotes as a graphical icon. The two main control panels supported by Windows are Plesk and dotnet.

Windows web hosting is mainly used by clients who use ASP.NET and MSSQL to manage their websites or blogs. Plesk control panel allows a server administrator to set up or manage a website, email accounts, etc., through a web-based interface. Plesk supports various content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and some web software such as git, Docker, Multi-server management.

It also supports different languages like Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby on rails, and more. Plesk is compatible with both Linux/Unix and Windows operating systems. The Plesk helps to install and manage different web hosting systems and applications on a server.



Hotlinking means an image or a file of a website displays on another website with a link. The link receives the source data of the image when the site owner adds a new image each time. So, with the help of hotlinking, they can create a link and tag the images or files to all other websites. Then whenever the image or file link is updated, it updates the same in all the websites using this link. When the hotlink is loaded, the image loads on the original website and uses its bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted from one server to another at a time interval. The bandwidth consumed always depends on the size of the file, the number of users accessing the website, connectivity, and type of connection.

If another website accesses a file hosted on your website, then it can consume a portion of your site’s bandwidth. Similarly, if a website owner creates a link to the website files, then that also results in the usage of the bandwidth. The bandwidth utilization of a site can lead to an increase in the cost to host a website, and this is the main reason why we need to protect our website from bandwidth theft or hotlinking.


Example of Hotlinking

If another web page uses an image (or other multimedia files) on a web page of one domain in a different domain, usually using a <IMG> tag is known as hotlinking.

Hotlink Protection

Hotlink Protection allows the client to prevent other websites from directly linking files or images from their website. By using hotlink protection, when another website visits our website, they cannot load images, CSS, or JavaScript from our page. Hotlinking is also known as file leeching, direct linking, bandwidth bandits, remote linking, or bandwidth stealing. The main problem faced during hotlinking is excessive bandwidth usage. Hotlink protection helps to limit the outbound traffic in our account.

Enable Hotlink Protection in Windows Plesk

You can enable hotlink protection in Windows through Plesk panel. Just following the steps given below:

1) Login to Plesk panel and go to the “Websites and Domains” tab.

2) Click the “Hotlink Protection” icon.

Hotlink Protection

3) Use the “Switch On” option to enable hotlink protection.

Hotlink Protection

4) You can specify the file extension of files that need to be protected from hotlinking in the “Protected files extensions” field. While listing multiple file extensions, separate them with white spaces. The file extension can be .jpeg, .bmp, .jpg, .dib, etc. Once you mention the file extension in the “Protected files extensions” tab, all the files with that extension in that domain will be protected from hotlinking.

Hotlink Protection

5) If you want to allow direct linking from specific sites, then add those website addresses into the “Addresses of friendly websites” field and click “Add”. The sites added in the “Addresses of friendly websites” field can hotlink the contents from your website. The client can manage the websites that can hotlink the content from our website.

Hotlink Protection

6) Click the button “OK” to enable hotlink protection.

So, this is how you can enable Hotlink Protection in Windows Plesk. Now, Let us see how to disable hotlink protection.

Disable Hotlink Protection in Windows Plesk

If the client needs to remove/disable the hotlink protection, then they can use the following steps.

1) Login to Plesk panel and go to the “Websites and Domains” tab.

2) Click on the “Show More” option to expand the list of options for that domain.

3) Click the “Hotlink Protection” icon.

4) Select the domain for which you want to remove the hotlink protection under “Addresses of friendly websites” and click the “Remove” button and reconfirm it again.

Hotlink Protection

5) Click the “OK” button to disable hotlink proection.


Conclusion: So, this is how you can protect your media files from being hotlinked. Hotlinks can really use up your bandwidth. So, We recommend you to use the hotlink protection if you have too many media files on your website. We hope this tutorial was helpful to you. If you need further help, you can use the comment section given below or contact our support staff for quick help!

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