Plugin Sale! Save 15% on pro plugins with discount code: NEWYEAR2021
Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Allow Google Reader Access to Hotlink-Protected Images

[ Image: Google Reader Icon ] In our previous article, we explain the process of allowing Feedburner to access your hotlink-protected images. The article details the entire process, which covers the basics of hotlink protection and involves adding several lines of code to your htaccess file. In this article, we skip the detailed explanations and present only the main points. The discussion is very similar for both Feedburner and Google Reader, and may be extrapolated to serve virtually any purpose.

If you are using htaccess to protect your images from hotlinking and have yet to check your feeds in Google Reader, you may be in for a little surprise. Unless you explicitly permit Google Reader access, your htaccess rules may be inadvertently preventing subscribers from viewing the images in your feeds. The same is true for Google Reader Mobile, which is probably far more popular than you may realize.

Tutorial

Okay okay — enough rambling. Here is the tried and true, de-facto standard method of protecting image content via htaccess:

# Hotlink Protection
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://example.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://example.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.example.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.example.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|png|bmp)$ - [F,NC,L]

So, given that code, we may allow Google Reader (and Google Reader Mobile) image access by adding these rules to the previous code:

# Allow Google Reader Access
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.google.com/reader/view/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.google.com/reader/m/view/.*$ [NC]

The first line matches the full version of Google Reader, while the second matches the mobile version. Now, mixing everything together and waving our magic htaccess wand, we summon the finished product:

# Hotlink Protection with Google Reader Access
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://example.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://example.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.example.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.example.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.google.com/reader/view/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.google.com/reader/m/view/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|png|bmp)$ - [F,NC,L]

There you have it — piping hot and served fresh. Edit, copy & paste that last code block into your site’s root htaccess file and you are good to go.

Jeff Starr
About the Author
Jeff Starr = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
Digging Into WordPress: Take your WordPress skills to the next level.

2 responses to “Allow Google Reader Access to Hotlink-Protected Images”

  1. Thank you — I just copied the codes over to my .htaccess file, and it works immediately on my RSS.

  2. Jeff Starr
    Perishable 2007/10/09 6:01 am

    Excellent — Thank you for the feedback! :)

Comments are closed for this post. Something to add? Let me know.
Welcome
Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
WP Themes In Depth: Deep dive into WP theme development.
Thoughts
Simply Static is my go-to plugin for generating static HTML versions of WordPress sites. Works flawlessly.
Note to self: never, ever, ever buy any CD or DVD from eBay. Every single time the discs are scratched, damaged, missing, fake, or worse. Never again you clowns.
Find out if a plugin works with the latest version of WordPress @ plugintests.com
Going through all of my data, deleting all the chaff. Going for less than 500 GB total data storage.
Finally deleted all the cool unused placeholder Twitter accounts that I signed up for years ago. I will never use them.
After several years with Dashlane, I've moved on to a simpler, better solution.
After 10+ years, finally moved the last of my sites away from Media Temple.
Newsletter
Get news, updates, deals & tips via email.
Email kept private. Easy unsubscribe anytime.