How to Protect WordPress Images

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how to protect WordPress images

Learn a few ways about how to protect WordPress images from being stolen.

WordPress is a very effective marketing tool and images add a significant amount of aesthetics and value to your site. They even can be helpful with search engine optimization. So the last thing you want is someone copying your site images–especially if you’ve made them entirely yourself.

There are many problems site owners face with photos and graphics. From images not showing after being uploaded, to finding the right size for header images or trouble aligning background images, having to worry about protecting them is just one more headache.

Copied Website Images

The great thing about using the alt tag feature is it allows search engines to “see” images in order to give a site better on-page SEO. The bad thing about alt tags is they’re indexed; and, that means anyone can simply search, find, and download those images.

While there might not be a devastating optimization effect with copying and re-publishing images, there could be intellectual property issues–and that’s something that can spell serious trouble. Besides, if it’s your own work, it is your intellectual property and you want to protect original your images.

When a small business is launched, getting a website up-and-running is just one of the many, many tasks on the to-do list. Unless the business depends on site sales for its income, the website will likely serve as a marketing tool and not require much beyond the out-of-the-box WordPress blogging functionality. —Small Business Trends

In either case, no matter what side of the coin you end-up on, intellectual property matters when it comes to the law are expensive. Hiring an attorney and filing a federal lawsuit costs a lot of money. And the defendant won’t have it an easier, monetarily speaking. Regardless of side, it’s a very expensive and drawn-out proposition. So it’s best to head it off at the pass and avoid it altogether.

Protecting Your WordPress Images

To keep your images safe and sound, you can employ one or more of several methods. Because WordPress is open-source and so ubiquitous across the Internet, there are of course, plugins that will do the job nicely. Here are some of the best ways to keep your post images from being copied:

  1. Embed your images as a Flash file. Okay, so the downside of using Flash is well-known. But it’s still a very powerful tool and will disable right-clicking. What’s more, embedding a Flash file gives you far more control over customizing your images. You can use CSS to style your images.
  2. Use a J-Query plugin. The majority of WordPress images are stolen using the right-click mouse feature and choosing “Save As”. The way to deal with this is to remove the “Save As” right-click function. And a J-Query image protection plugin can do just that. Most of these are very lightweight and easy to configure. So, they won’t slow down your site or require a lot of end-user configuration in order to work.
  3. Splice your images. This image protection trick thwarts would-be thieves by simply displaying a snippet of the original image. If you splice an image, then put them side-by-side against the seams or borders, those trying to right-click will have to spend a significant amount of time trying to find where those splices are joined. This won’t make it worth the effort and frustration and they’ll simply give-up.
  4. Use your .htaccess file. Going into the code might scare some people, so this won’t be for everyone. But there are several options within this method. However, for those comfortable with manipulating their .htaccess files, it’s a great way to protect your images and even deny certain users from visiting your site.
  5. Add a watermark. There are a number of plugins that will do this; and, it’s a great way to get around the free-for-all that resides in Google Images. People might be able to find your images, but copying them won’t be worth it.

Owen E. Richason IV

Owen is blog content writer, SEO consultant, social media marketer, and website guy. His work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, on Business.com, Tampa Bay Business and Financier, AOL and numerous other blogs and websites. is also a musician and is the founder of Groove Modes.