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How to protect images from copying online by unauthorized users?

To protect images from unauthorized copying and access on a website, you can employ a combination of strategies. Start by implementing a reverse proxy, which acts as a protective shield between your website and its users. This reverse proxy should be configured with access control rules to only allow authorized users access to images.

Aug 22, 2023

Ever felt concerned about the images that you added to your online folders, might be downloaded by users (who aren’t logged in) and then shared throughout the corners of the internet? Naturally, the question “how do I protect my images online?” is raised. There is a way you can protect images from being downloaded from such users who have not logged in.

In this blog, we’ll see how to protect images on a website, what image restriction is, the working of image restriction, how we can overcome threats to images by configuring rules, how to protect images on websites and setting up measures to prevent unauthorized access to your images.

What is image restriction?

Image restriction is a method in which your images will not be accessible to everyone. You can set and control if an image should be view-only or downloadable by users based on roles or certain conditions. Image restriction allows you to protect your images from being downloaded from any and all unauthorized access attempts made. This ensures that your images are secure from piracy and unauthorized access and changes, hence safeguarding its overall integrity.

Best Way to protect an image from downloading (or image copying) with a Reverse Proxy server.

The best way to protect images from downloading is by setting up a reverse proxy. A reverse proxy server can be customized to a great extent to set access control to your media to protect from image downloading (or image copying). You can set user roles and actions, restrict IP addresses, set location and time-based access controls, set OAuth authentication solutions like 2FA/MFA and many more.

So based on the roles set, we can set a custom set of actions that can occur for the user who clicks on the image. The next paragraph covers the working of a reverse proxy server to protect images from downloading.

Working of a Reverse Proxy server to protect images from downloading

Let’s take an example to understand how a reverse proxy server works to protect images from downloading (or image copying).

Suppose we have a viewer Lucy, who has a set role for her actions with an image on your website. Lucy will visit the origin site through the reverse proxy server. Like any user on the site, Lucy can’t view the image as she is not logged in but if she tries to access the image, she’ll be redirected to a login page for authentication, so as to protect image downloading (or image copying). After that, these credentials will go back to the reverse proxy to check the roles’ details sent from the login page. Then one of the following actions will happen: –

1. Lucy could be redirected to an error 403 “Forbidden Page”.

2. A custom error message set by the admin will show up.

3. If Lucy was an authorized user, she’ll be redirected to a page where she can view and download the image from.

These rules can be set using a Reverse Proxy to protect images from downloading (or image copying). Images of all extensions (.jpg, .jpeg, .jpe .jif, .jfif, .jfi, .png, .gif, .webp, .tiff, .tif, .psd, .raw, .arw, .cr2, .nrw, .k25, .bmp, .dib, .heif, .heic, .ind, .indd, .indt, .jp2, .j2k, .jpf, .jpx, .jpm, .mj2, .svg, .svgz, .ai, .eps, .pdf) can be configured to protect images from downloading with this solution.

Your images with Reverse Proxy server

With a reverse proxy server, you can easily set up RBAC (or role based access control), set IP restrictions based on time and geographical location, and many more features for your images to protect image downloading (or image copying). No unauthorized user will be able to view or access the folders where your images are stored and guarantee’s security to protect image downloading and image copying.

Your images without Reverse Proxy server

Without a reverse proxy server, your images can be accessed from any unauthorized user and hence they can easily download the images and share it further ahead. Without a reverse proxy, your images won’t have any security against such threats and you’ll leave gaping holes in security.

In Summary

In this blog, we have answered the question of “How to protect your images from being downloaded?”. With a reverse proxy server, you can protect images from downloading by unauthorized access and protect from image copying. This solution of reverse proxy server, can be implemented for varying use cases for images of types and formats. You can modify user roles and access controls for specific data (like images) and avoid any image piracy.

So what are you waiting for? Drop us a query at and we will get right back to you to address all your needs.

  1. 1. Gmail Group Based Access Control With Google Workspace CASB.
  2. 2. MS-365 CASB for Microsoft Teams Security.



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