Efficient Ways to Protect WordPress Website from Image Theft

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Whenever you take pictures and use it on a website/blog, it is your intellectual property. But, there are millions of people who don’t respect this vivid reality. With sheer ignorance or willful malice, they use your images for their commercial advantages without giving you the due compensation and recognition for your work.

The availability of different photo sharing websites and image search options has encouraged the unlawful practice of image theft. Relentless image theft causes great damage to photographers and website owners in terms of business and revenues. If you run a responsive WordPress site and want to prevent image theft effectively, take the below-mentioned steps.


1. Display Copyright Notice Prominently On Your Site

WordPress website owners are the biggest victims of copyright infringements. Unscrupulous individuals shamelessly steal your website materials (such as content, images, photos, design, etc. ) make some minor changes and use those materials to generate business and revenues. This can damage your web-based business if you don’t crackdown, it strictly and callously.

Whether you operate a personal blog or a professional site, you should complete a copyright registration for it. Just display the copyright notice on your website prominently. It will not help you to foil copyright infringement activities completely but will assist you to thwart many potential offenders from stealing your original work.

In case someone steals your original work, you can pursue them legally and seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees. Using the Google image search feature, you can easily find who is using your images. You can warn them to take down your picture or get ready to face legal problems and pay penalties.


2. Watermark Your site Images

One of the easiest ways to discourage people from copying your images is that you should add a watermark to the images with a logo on your website. If you do this, people will hesitate to use your images. It is because if they use your images on their websites, your website logo will also be visible to all.

You can do it manually by going to the settings option on your website. Just follow this step-Settings>>Watermark>>choose options to add watermark>>upload image and use it. Alternatively, you can use Watermarking plugin to automate this action.


3. Disable Image Hotlinking Feature On Your Site

Visitors can steal images from your site using the hotlinking. It is a way to use the direct image URL from another website without seeking the prior approval from its owner. If this is happening on your site, it means that the image is loaded on your server and a good amount of bandwidth is being used, thus increasing your Internet use bill up to a great extent.

To stop hotlinking of images from your WordPress site, just add the following code the .htaccess file in its root directory.

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?XYZ.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

It disables hotlinking to your website. But, your images will appear in search results as usual. You can also use alternative methods to perform this action.


4. Disable Right Click On Your Website

Anyone can steal images from your website with a simple right click. They just have to move the mouse cursor on the image, click the right button of the mouse and download the image. You can disable right click on your website. Then, it will be very difficult for average Internet use to steal your site’s images.

You can disable right-click on your WordPress website by using the WordPress plugins. See some good options which are detailed here below:

Just install the plugin and activate it. Upon activation, it will automatically disable the right-click option on your website. This will successfully protect your website images and other materials from being copied by online burglars.


5. Attach DMCA protection Badge To Your Site

The DMCA is a digital rights management law of the USA which aims to protect the rights of both copyright owners and consumers. You can place the DMCA Protection Badge on your site to demonstrate that you are using the DMCA.com Protection Service and its materials can’t be stolen. There are 300 Badge choices. You can choose any one of them based on your needs and protect your site from image theft. If someone steals your site’s materials, you can report it to the DMCA for further action or can take legal action against him/her.


6. Use Low-Resolution Images:

You can discourage image theft by using the low-resolution images on your website. For example, a 550-pixel image saved at 72dpi will be good to be used on websites. But, downloaders will not get many images to use it once again. On the other hand, if you are a photographer, presenting your online portfolio this is naturally not a good option.


7. Use Tables To Stop Image Downloads

Individuals download images from websites with the right click of the mouse. Apart from disabling right click on your website, there is one alternative way to discourage image theft. Just place images as a background to tables. To complete this action, you need to use the following code:

<table style=”background-image:url(‘image.jpg’);width:Wpx;height:Hpx”><tr><td></td></tr></table>

You can also protect images by adding sections to multiple images that are placed under an HTML table.


8. Stop Search Engines From Indexing Images

This is also an important way to prevent image theft. Just stop search engines from indexing your images. You can use a META tag to prevent images from getting indexed, but you must allow the rest of the pages to be found in search engine results. Use the following meta tag to perform this action:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noimageindex“></meta>

Alternatively, you can use a robots.txt file for the same purpose. Just place the plain text file in the root directory of a website:




Image theft is a widespread problem faced by almost all individuals that are engaged in the web-based businesses. You can use the above-mentioned tips to combat the image theft problem in case you run a WordPress site. Of course there is no way to 100% prevent image theft, but if follow the above suggestions your images will be much safer.


Author bio:

Brandon Graves is a highly recognized WordPress expert working with HireWPGeeks. He likes to write on WordPress design topics like HTML to WordPress conversion, WordPress customization, plugin reviews, etc. Just follow him on the Google Plus to get his updates instantly.

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