Questions regarding hotlinked images & sub-domains

I have some questions that should be pretty simple, but I am not quite so sure. I am currently running my website using csCart but am moving to Squirrel Cart. My site has a LOT of images; I’m thinking that once it is complete I will have nearly 200,000 images used to show product variations. If it needs to be seen regarding this question, the site is here:

Currently just about everything is hosted in a sub-domain, of which I have a redirect in place (on the main domain) so the main url redirects to the sub-domain. This in itself is actually something I wonder about being a good thing or not, but it’s been that way for years now so probably shouldn’t be changed.

My questions…

I seem to have a sleuth of questionable scraping sites hotlinking my images. I thought the hotlink protection was enabled but it isn’t. However, I have concerns about enabling it because I don’t want to cause issues with the different search engines. Is there a list of urls or IP’s somewhere that I can use to mark as allowed for hotlinking? Should I just start blocking the thieves as they crop up? What is the preferred method?

Next. I think it’s caused from the above hot linking, but I am getting a lot of “time outs” because the database is being overloaded, even when I have next to no visitors on the site. I’m thinking it’s the creeps hotlinking, but am guessing it’s worth checking… Due to the volume of images that I have, would I be better to create another sub-domain just for images? If the database went on overload would that keep the site working and just time out the sub-domain, causing the images to flake out, or does the overload whack everything?

I know I had a couple other questions but I also share my office with a four year old!!!

Thank you for your help in this!

Not sure if your server is different in some way but as far as I know all sub domains are really nothing more than a link of a different name pointing to the resources on your main domain
For example lets say you have a directory called images and your website is called you could access the images by typing would simply be pointing to

All of the content is still on the same server in the same account. If something is messing with the subdomain it most likely will mess with main domain.

Subdomains are really for organizing different types of content for different users. In this example I have a website in the rv industry with a subdomain. Once a year we do a classic car cruise-in. The people interested in the cruise-in may or may not be interested in the main site thus having the two different but related sites on the same server. For the cruise-in the subdomain is advertised making things simpler for visitors to get where they want to go.

Now if the server has issues it effects both main and sub.

If you really want to seperate the images maybe a second account with the same host using a different domain name or better yet a high speed content delivery network (cdn). I use one for a couple of videos. Just look up cdn in your preferred search engine. Also check with your host, some have been known to have a white list for hot linking meaning you could turn on hotlink blocking yet create a white list of sites allowed to hotlink.

Hope some of this long reply helps.

Wow - I learned some stuff here! Thank you for taking the time to reply.

You’re right - it is the same as going to the directory domain/directory. I never knew that! I’m trying to envision your site, would love to see it if you can share a link. I’m working on the new site (Squirrel Cart installation) and trying to structure it to include products from Cafe Press, Zazzle and similar sites. I also wanted to set up fundraising. The way you described breaking your site up perhaps the sub-domains are better suited for those things. I’ve thought about the separate url for images too, and I’m not too far into the new site to do that. My thought is that all this hotlinking is what is causing the database to overload and slam the site. Does that make sense to you? Or is the direct link they’re grabbing to the images not create dB queries?

Regarding the hotlinking, I am concerned that if I enable the hotlinking and just whitelist (which it allows me to do - its the standard cpanel) that just allowing something like won’t work.


Glad some lf the info was good for you.

Now the site I was talking about does not use a database, it is more informational than a sales site. So exactly how hot linking effects the database I don’t know. Also I have never turned off hot linking as no issues have come from it.

Basically my structure is all my main site layout with 3 directories not associated to main site info. One of the directories has all of the files for the cruise site with it’s own directory structure, this directory contains every file required for the cruise site less things like what goes into the header like the css files, I just change the path to those as they are a shared file rathed than placing in two different locations.

Then there is a directory that contains nothing but images that I link to from the custom facebook html pages.

The last of the odd directories could be a subdomain but users don’t need to know the address, what it is for is I have two computers with custom home pages and special recovery software for visitors to use. That home page and its content reside there.

As for the cruise site I also have it linked to from the main site as well as a usable sub. I have other subs for example one links to a sign up form for our guests to get daily messages of the days activities.

The nice thing about this structure, lets say you want to do a lot of maintence work that could screwup your site for a few minutes like removing old data and adding new. With the seperate structures you could say completely reload one portion without effecting the rest.

I will send an example in pm so I am not promoting the site here.

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