Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bandwidth Leeches

Oh great, so now I find some people out there are leeching my bandwidth, by linking directly to some pictures I've posted here on my blog!

However, I have, ummm, rectified the situation. Read on...

I never would've known this, except that back several months ago, my personal website's old webhost— alias my ISP, alias my small local phone company— shuffled me off onto a new webhost. (I honestly think mine was the only very complex site my ISP was hosting.) New webhost provided, for half the price, dozens of times as much webspace, and dozens of times as much bandwidth.

You understand, my personal site's webspace is where I host not only my personal website, but also almost every picture you see here on my blog. A practice made all the more attractive by the fact that I now have probably 40 times as much webspace there as I'll ever use.

Anyhow. New webhost also provided detailed file-by-file monthly stats on my personal website. I now have a directory "out there" with neatly packaged little archives in it, each archive containing a month's stats for my site. Well, download and dearchive these packages, and I have an exhaustive if cryptic listing which can easily be scanned from the command line via a grep search.

This was sort of cool, I thought. Until I was skimming these stats, and noticed that certain picture files I've posted to my blog were being requested by various MySpace users. So I ran a search:
$ grep -i myspace access_log_Aug31_2006
and I was horrified to see endless, endless lines of cryptic stats scrolling up the screen. I visited some of these MySpace pages, and sure enough, there were my pictures, being loaded directly from my webspace.

I wouldn't have minded at all if they'd copied the pictures and hosted them on their own webspace. Like they say, "information wants to be free." But I don't much like having my bandwidth leeched. Y'know?

Turns out I had over 500 requests in August for pictures posted to this blog and hosted on my webspace. Involving multiple MySpace users who had somehow gotten onto two pictures of mine, one a picture of my Jeep, the other (very popular) a picture of the late French writer Albert Camus.

So. I went and changed the filenames of these two pictures, changing the filenames also in the blog posts in which they'd originally appeared, so that the pictures will keep appearing in those blog posts of mine just the same as ever. Only, of course, with new changed filenames they will no longer appear out there on those MySpace pages.

If I'd really been nasty, I would've supplied some, uh, "not work-safe" pictures under the old filenames. Either that, or a sign reading, "Don't leech my bandwidth!" But I decided to be a nice guy. Pictures disappear in cyberspace all the time, nobody will be the wiser, and I've ended my bandwidth-leech problem, at least for the time being.


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