Stop Hotlinking with Lighttpd

in Categories Howto, lighttpd, Linux, Security, Tips, UNIX last updated April 10, 2008

The technology behind the World Wide Web, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), does not make any distinction of types of links — all links are functionally equal. Resources may be located on any server at any location. Linking to an image stored on another site increases the bandwidth use of that site even though the site is not being viewed as intended. The complaint may be the loss of ad revenue or changing the perceived meaning through an unapproved context.

Here is easy and simple way to stop hotlinking :
Open lighttpd.conf file:
$ vi lighttpd.conf

#### stop image hijacking (anti-hotlinking)
$HTTP["referer"] =~ ".*BADDOMIN\.com.*" {
        url.access-deny = ( "" )
#      url.access-deny = ( "jpg", "png", "js", "jpeg", "gif" )

You can also enforce password protection:

$HTTP["referer"] =~ ".*BADDOMIN\.com.*" {
 auth.require = ( "/" =>
                   (        "method"  => "digest",
                            "realm"   => "Authorized users only",
                            "require" => "valid-user"

Restart lighttpd:
# service lighttpd restart

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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2 comment

  1. Wouldn’t be wiser to block all referrers by default and instead use a white list of those allowed?

    $HTTP[“referer”] =~ “*” {
    url.access-deny = ( “” )
    $HTTP[“referer”] =~ “.**” {
    url.access-allow = ( “” )

  2. I dont’t understand this line :
    url.access-deny = ( “” )

    and why the line
    # url.access-deny = ( “jpg”, “png”, “js”, “jpeg”, “gif” )

    is commented ? does it meen that every file called out of the domain are bloqued ?

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