A hotlink, also known as a remote or inline link, is a hyperlink that directs to a resource, such as an image or a file, without the owner’s explicit permission.
Hotlinking directly links to an asset hosted on another website without downloading or hosting it on one’s own server. When visitors access a hotlinked asset, their web browsers retrieve it directly from the original site’s server, not the site they’re currently visiting. This process can slow down the original site’s loading speed, potentially overload its server, and inflate maintenance costs due to increased bandwidth usage.
Due to these negative implications, the web development and design communities widely discourage hotlinking. Beyond the technical consequences, it’s also seen as ethically questionable because it uses the original site’s resources without permission or proper attribution.