Well, this should be a tad amusing.
For a while now, we’d been dealing with bandwidth leechers on MK Online. I’d been more or less tolerating it, simply because I couldn’t be bothered putting in a remote-hotlinking solution on the site. I’ve had one set up here on the D’Arque Cathedral site for a long while; I got tired of all these sites starting to grab the image from my site whenever I made a post (thanks to the site cross-posting to LiveJournal), so I set it up where only my site and LJ could link to the images without getting a “Forbidden” error. It certainly saved on bandwidth issues.
Well, this afternoon, Murdoink (fellow MK Online staff member and webmaster of Mortal Kombat Warehouse, one of our hosted sites) approached me on the chat channel and asked me if I could disable remote hotlinking for his site and the main MK Online Games section. It turned out he had discovered someone leeching bandwidth off the site, and wanted to do something about it. I finally gave in and went ahead and implemented the same remote-hotlinking solution on the main MK Online server that I did for this site. In addition to the two areas Murdoink requested, I went ahead and added the same restrictions to our media section, as people were hotlinking to that as well… and as images displayed through the media system had to be parsed through our site software, it adds quite a bit of strain on the server’s resources. The main difference is that instead of just throwing out a Forbidden error, the server returns an image with the site’s logo and URL on it. :-)
I’ll probably adopt the same change to this site, as soon as I can get Scott Howell to adapt the banner logo to fit a similar image size and format. In the meantime, I’m just going to sit back and watch the aftermath. It should be amusing to see if people bitch and moan about the restrictions we put in place. On the other hand, I’m hoping it’ll cut down on our bandwidth costs.
We’ll see either way soon.