Hotlinking, sometimes referred to as bandwidth theft, is a term used to describe content on a website that is directly linked to another different website. Hotlinking happens when a website copies the content URL of another website and publishes it. Directly linking content, which is different from downloading content and re-uploading content, can cause problems. Hotlinking usually occurs with images and videos, but applies to other types of content as well.
Problems With Hotlinking
For sake of explanation, the website with the original image is Website A and the website with the hot-linked image is website B.
Every time someone visits Website B with a hot-linked image, it loads the content from the original source, Website A. This means that whenever the image is loaded or “served” to the visitor of Website B, it takes up server resources from Website A. This can cost the owners of Website A, especially if Website B becomes popular.
In the technology community, hotlinking is considered unethical and selfish, since it takes valuable resources from other people for your own benefit.