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Apache > HTTP Server > Documentation > Version 2.4 > Rewrite

Using mod_rewrite to control access

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This document supplements the mod_rewrite reference documentation. It describes how you can use mod_rewrite to control access to various resources, and other related techniques. This includes many examples of common uses of mod_rewrite, including detailed descriptions of how each works.

Note that many of these examples won't work unchanged in your particular server configuration, so it's important that you understand them, rather than merely cutting and pasting the examples into your configuration.

See also

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Forbidding Image "Hotlinking"

Description:

The following technique forbids the practice of other sites including your images inline in their pages. This practice is often referred to as "hotlinking", and results in your bandwidth being used to serve content for someone else's site.

Solution:

This technique relies on the value of the HTTP_REFERER variable, which is optional. As such, it's possible for some people to circumvent this limitation. However, most users will experience the failed request, which should, over time, result in the image being removed from that other site.

There are several ways that you can handle this situation.

In this first example, we simply deny the request, if it didn't initiate from a page on our site. For the purpose of this example, we assume that our site is www.example.com.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !www.example.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg|png)$    -   [F,NC]

In this second example, instead of failing the request, we display an alternate image instead.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !www.example.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg|png)$    /images/go-away.png   [R,NC]

In the third example, we redirect the request to an image on some other site.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !www.example.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg|png)$ http://other.example.com/image.gif   [R,NC]

Of these techniques, the last two tend to be the most effective in getting people to stop hotlinking your images, because they will simply not see the image that they expected to see.

Discussion:

If all you wish to do is deny access to the resource, rather than redirecting that request elsewhere, this can be accomplished without the use of mod_rewrite:

SetEnvIf Referer example\.com localreferer
<FilesMatch \.(jpg|png|gif)$>
    Require env localreferer
</FilesMatch>
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Blocking of Robots

Description:

In this recipe, we discuss how to block persistent requests from a particular robot, or user agent.

The standard for robot exclusion defines a file, /robots.txt that specifies those portions of your