How to Prevent Illegal Image Copying from Your WordPress Site

How to Prevent Illegal Image Copying from Your WordPress Site

Internet is an open space where there are not only polite and law-obedient persons. Image theft has become a very spread issue through internet in common and between WordPress websites particularly. Every day and every minute hundreds and thousands of photos and pictures become stolen and travel from one thief to another. But there are some ways to prevent the image theft for your WordPress website.

This article is very important for any copyright owners of visual content. If you create the original art works or simply draw images for your articles and do not want them to be used for free by another websites, then we suggest you to read the following 4 methods of preventing illegal copying of your images from the WordPress website or blog.

The Copyright Issue

The Copyright IssueThe problem with owning the copyright on certain image and preventing it from being stolen lies in the ignorance of modern internet audience to the copyright as a term. There even are some communities who struggle for the ultimate freedom in internet. The members of this communities determine all web content as a public essence which can have no owner.

It is obvious that such communities have influence on users who does not create anything. It is a pity, but such users are the majority of internet audience. In such a situation, WordPress website owners and other creators of original content need to take action by themselves. For this purpose, we have gathered 4 most simple and effective methods of preventing the image theft from your WordPress project.

Disable Right Click

Disable Right ClickThe easiest way to steal your images lies on the surface: every user can right click and save the images from your WordPress website. So, the first and the most effective step to protect your visual content from theft is to disable the right click feature on images at all.

If you are a skilled and experienced developer than you can write the php code for disabling right clicks on images. But if you have not got enough time or knowledge for coding, the ever-helping WordPress plugins are here to solve the problem in minutes. As usual, there are free and premium solutions for a WordPress website. And the question of image protection is not an exception. The good example of free WordPress plugin for disabling right clicks is WP Content Copy Protection. One of the best premium plugin for WordPress in the same issue is Smart Content Protector.

Both plugins are good enough to protect your visual content from the most common attempts of stealing. But the premium version has its benefits, of course. For example, you can set up user roles due to their rights on copying images or fine-tune the right click protection for certain pages or categories of your WordPress website.

On the other hand, free WordPress plugins gives an opportunity to evaluate the need of such protection and its effectiveness for your content without spending any funds. It is a good solution for beginners in the sphere of WordPress administration.

Put Watermarks on Your Images

Watermarks do not actually protect your images from stealing rather giving you the deserved credits when they are used on other internet websites. In such a way you can spread your content as a viral one keeping the reference to your WordPress website through the watermark.

It would be very difficult to put a watermark to each of your images manually. Especially since there are WordPress plugins to make this boring work automatically. The example of a free WordPress tool for putting watermarks on your images is Easy Watermark plugin. It supports the most common image types – jpg, png and gif. Furthermore, it gives you an opportunity to set up opacity level for your watermark image or text.

As an example of premium WordPress plugin for watermarking your images we would again advice Smart Content Protector. The point is that you can buy this premium tool for disabling right clicks and putting watermarks on images simultaneously.

Disable Hotlinking for Images

Hotlinking is the way to display your images on third-party websites without even copying them. The person who uses hotlinking not only steal your visual content but also increases the load on your WordPress website (because all views of your images on third-party websites through hotlinking use the resource of your WordPress website).

Fortunately, there is a simple way to disable hotlinking of your images. First of all, you need to fin your htaccess file on website`s server. Use Filezilla or similar FTP clients for secure access to your server files. You can find htaccess file on the root category or by means of the built-in search tools of FTP client.

Then you should add such part of a code to htaccess file and save it on server:

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

Do not forget to change “” to actual name of your WordPress website`s domain. Note, that this code makes the exception of viewing your images not only by your own website, but also by Google. This should be done for saving the SEO factors for images.

Create a Copyright Notice

Copyright notice is another mild way to remember your users to whom the copyright belongs. It would not protect your visual content, but at least will keep the politest of your web site`s visitors from theft of images. Furthermore, it is an important proclamation of your copyright.

There is a simple manual way to add copyright notice for any page of your WordPress website. Just put this HTML code to the footer of your WordPress website:

© 2000-2017

If you use this method then you should update the copyright notice every year. Otherwise, you should find function.php file on your server and add the following code to it:

function my_copyright() {
global $wpdb;
$copyright_dates = $wpdb->get_results("
YEAR(min(post_date_gmt)) AS firstdate,
YEAR(max(post_date_gmt)) AS lastdate
post_status = 'publish'
$output = '';
if($copyright_dates) {
$copyright = "© " . $copyright_dates[0]->firstdate;
if($copyright_dates[0]->firstdate != $copyright_dates[0]->lastdate) {
$copyright .= '-' . $copyright_dates[0]->lastdate;
$output = $copyright;
return $output;
add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');

This code automatically searches for the first and the last posts of your WordPress blog and forms the years in copyright notice with this information. As a result, you will get automatic update of the last copyright year as soon as new posts appear.


As you can see, there are different ways to protect your images from an illegal usage. Pick the most suitable for your website or use them in the conjunction to achieve the most effective result.

Disclosure: This page may contain external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
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