Should You Use Hotlink Protection?


This is a quick post about something that has troubled and intrigued me over the years, should you use hotlink protection?

What is a Hotlink?


First of all if you don't know what im talking about, its pretty simple, when someone visits your site, their browser downloads all the pictures, text, code to make the page show up, but what happens if someone copies the url of one of your images and puts it on their page? then when someone goes to their page, it will show up your image on their site, so effectively you are giving away bandwidth to someone else.

Sounds bad, right? That is when hotlink protection comes up, there are different ways of doing it, but its basically just a couple of tweaks to the software/code/server to block anyone besides your site from using your content...

The Rise of Social and CDN's

There was a time when bandwidth and hosting was expensive (like in Australia heheheh), where hosting a image or video was costly, but nowadays we live with a different set of rules, hosting and bandwidth is pretty cheap, not only that but a lot of the social websites depend and interconnect with the content on the web (facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc... are very popular because they provide a platform for sharing content, and sometimes that content is in your site).

I kinda think that whats important now is to have good content and popular content, so things like someone hot-linking are no longer a issue of cost, but one of opportunity, its also a type of problem that nowadays can be easily fixed with the use of CDN's or cheap hosting.

Hotlink protection is also another form of a walled garden, and although suitable for some types of sites, most would gain more from being open and easily accessible, search engines will appreciate and users even more, so... should you use hotlink protection, im kinda inclined to say no! not anymore ^_^.

Why Am I Moving Away from Google Analytic's




Oh Urchin how far have you fallen... the old Google Analytic's interface is dead and now we are all forced into the new interface, not that i care that much and yeah the new interface as a huge bunch of new features, like real-time stats, multi-channel funnels, social stats, mobile stats and a bunch of other neet stuff, thats cool, but that's not all...

So my reason to drop Google Analytic's is simple, unlike what Google might want you to believe, the service is not free, Google gets a lot back from "offering" Google Analytic's, it can increase its tracking of the internet, even if anonymous, its still more power to Google's big brother machine, also its a way like Google Webmaster to find more about the web, who links to who and how, its also a way of pushing its Adwords business, still I'm not that paranoid and i did feel like what Google offered was a pretty simple and advance stats tool.

So yeah... my real reason to quit is their re-design, the new Google Analytic's has lots of awesome features, but unfortunately it completely and absolutely sucks if you have more than 1 site, the new design didn't just add stuff it removed a lot of old stuff and made the whole interface slower and clunkier, here are some of the stuff i hate on the new Google  Analytic's:

  1. The Whole Stats Engine is Slow - Maybe because of the real-time stuff, I've seen it drag down page load even with asynchronous loading (that just means it doesn't block other page elements, it still takes some time to load).
  2. The Interface is Slow - Its kinda going a bit of the way of Gmail, you keep adding stuff and the beautiful Ajax becomes a dragged out process, if you see small yellow "loading" markers or full page "please wait loading", then the ajax interface isn't helping at all.
  3. The Interface is Confusing - Quoting the Google  Analytic's team "We are particularly proud of the attention to detail that our user experience team has put into making the interface easy to use, understandable and beautiful", hummm Google? hello! your user experience team sucks! beautiful... well maybe, it does conform better with Google's now passion with grey and orange, but easy to use and understandable that's just funny, now, to do the exact same things that you used to do, you have to click 3 times more, stuff is hidden or on different places, it also has a lot of stuff laying around and 1/3 is always junk (links to news and help and other Google products...).
  4. You Cant See Aggregation Stats - Ohh yeah have more than 1 site? you used to be able to know how your network was doing, now you cant... why? its not that hard to add it.
  5. You cant see Simplified Stats of every Site - There is no way to give a quick glance on all the sites you have, see like before 2 or 3 simple metrics, like visitors, pageviews and trend (if you your visitors are up or down), no you get white space for your trouble.

But don't trust my word, here are some examples of what i'm talking....

Google Analytic's Dashboard



What am i supposed todo with this? its a huge blank page starting at me, has no value, no data, just a bunch of junk... so anyone starting Google Analytic's does so with at least 1 extra click!

Joking! you need 2 extra clicks to go anywhere, brilliant stuff here!

Domain Stats Page




What is this... madness!!!! Yep that's the main page, filled with... lots of redundant junk, badly organized and slow as shit, yes i know you can customize, but come on!!!! i have 70+ sites and 100+ domains, am i going to customize every single page to make it bearable?


Ohh you wanna change the domain? its just a easy 4 step process!

So to sum it up, i call this one a FAIL! the new Google Analytic's is new eye candy with new features, but for that they destroyed the usability and good old features, that coupled with slow speed and awkward interface kinda killed it for me, I'm moving to Wordpress Stats and Statcounter, i know i wont be able to see aggregated stats but at least these ones are cleaner and quicker and i can always add later on a quick stat package for my entire network.