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I’m hosting a bunch of photos on Amazon S3 and also running Amazon CloudFront for them. Also, I’m running a custom domain name. Now, in case someone tries to embed the image to another website, I’d like to show a "This image is hosted on domain X" instead of the actual image.

Is this possible with the current setup I’ve described?

Whether this is a good idea or not, is not really a question, I just need to see if it’s even possible.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Cloudfront does not support the referrer header, so you can't directly do this. One approach to dealing with hotlinking though, is to generate signed URLs that expire after a short time. Essentially, with a dynamic page, you make all your Cloudfront content private, and then use a signed URL to embed the image in your page. The signed URL grants access to the content - either for a short period of time, or for a particular IP address. This essentially makes hotlinking impractical - as someone would need to constantly scrape your site for the new, valid, URLs. Of course, this has implications on caching. You could, alternatively, have the URL valid for a little over a day and regenerate the URL daily, instead of every page load.

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Ok, sounds reasonable, thanks for the answer and I’ll try it out in the future if I really need to go down that path. – margusholland Feb 21 '12 at 12:18

If CloudFront supports request rewriting based on the Referer: header, then yes. If it doesn't, then you'll need to put a web server that does between the public and your images. Apache/nginx both support this, as do most others that I'm aware of.

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