Earlier I shared a .htacess code to prevent image hotlinking from certain domains. Image hotlinking is really bad for website owners as it increases the server load, uses your server bandwidth, and other hotlinkers end up illegally using your work.
Today, I will be sharing a free plugin called ByREV WP-PICShield to prevent this from happening.
Features and Usage of ByREV WP-PICShield: Image HOTLINK Defense Plugin
This plugin serves more purposes than simply stopping image hotlinking.
One reason I like this plugin is because it will help you drive lost traffic from Google image search (after recent changes).
We all know that Google image search directly lets users browse pictures on the search page, and this could be a major cause of missed traffic. The WP-PICShield plugin will ensure that the visitor has to come to your website to see the image.
Check out the below screenshot and see how it’s now optimized for drawing in traffic: (Notice: “Click Here Full Resolution”, and the watermark at the bottom.)
Now, let me quickly share some of the notable features of this plugin:
- Prevent image hotlinking.
- Redirect image links to an attachment page, or to a single/gallery page.
- Adds watermark.
- Adds QR code to images in search engines.
- Specify which image extension you want to protect.
- Allow certain domains for image hotlinking.
- User agents list that you will be served directly (Ex: Googlebot).
- Online translators will be served directly.
- Allow social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
- Anti-iframe protection.
- Log files to monitor.
- Settings for CDNs.
There are a few more features, but I’m most interested in these as they will be very useful for any WordPress website which uses lots of images. Moreover, this single plugin provides great features for protecting your blog images and providing full branding value.
Before you install this plugin, here is a note from plugin’s author: “Some incompatibility with Varnish, Lighthttpd, and other “cache” services – Images must not be cached !!! CDN users must ensure that the images served by the CDNS server may be manual updated or have expiration period.”
You can download the plugin from here. Or, search for “ByREV WP-PICShield” inside the Add new plugin page of the WordPress dashboard, and install it directly.
After installing, go to Settings > WP-PICShield and configure the plugin. The configuration part is quite easy, and if you get stuck somewhere, feel free to ask me via the comments.
Overall, this is a very useful plugin for bloggers who are facing image hotlinking issues, or those want to get more image traffic from Google image search.
If you are only looking for image watermarking, you should use the Watermark Reloaded plugin.
Do let me know if you are using this plugin. What advantages have you seen after using it? Check out our WordPress plugins archive for more useful plugins.
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