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Definition - What does Hotlinking mean?

Hotlinking refers to when a website uses a link to another website to generate images or other files, rather than saving a copy of these files and installing them locally. Hotlinking effectively outsources the energy used to dispaly images or to load other kinds of files.

Techopedia explains Hotlinking

Hotlinking can be prevented by different methods such as using .HTaccess files. However, as more versatile display tools are built into social media platforms like Facebook, some types of hotlinking are becoming more common. The idea of hotlinking involves the channeling of a photo from its original Internet source, which is made more possible by emerging standards in Internet provider services, such as better broadband and more automated Web hosting technologies. For example, older users or those who do not use social media as much may be surprised to see a pasted link auto-generate a picture. Like hotlinking, this relies on taking the image from its original source, which is a relatively new feature in certain kinds of automated Web posting tools.

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