We are doing a complete overhaul of our website a fresh install of wordpress and new theme. In the process we will be removing everything from our root web directory and starting fresh. Over the past 6 years since this website has been live it has accumulated quite the minefield of old images, documents, etc. I am the new web developer here currently only about six months under my belt and I would like to make sure everything is clean and organized.

A problem I foresee though is that before my time we were handing out HTML snippets of our products so that dealers can just copy and past this onto their page thus having images, descriptions, links, etc. Now no images were included with these snippets so the images on their site are being pulled from our server taking up our bandwidth. Most of the images and descriptions are old and outdated and have changed over time so several dealers have different variations of images, descriptions and links.

If I want to clean this site up deleting these images and making new links will break all the product pages on their sites. What are some recommendations for making this a smooth going process. Obviously an email blast, but beyond that is it worth the work sifting through hundreds of sites to find the different links and images and making sure they don't break? Has anyone encountered something like this before?

  • 1
    I believe this question would be better suited on StackOverflow as it appears to be related to implementation. Jun 2, 2014 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


I have not encountered an issue like that before, but I have encountered a more malicious experience that is similar. We had several websites that were taking our eCommerce product images and linking them to provide product images for their own website. (Hotlinking for those of you who are familiar with the term.)

In your case, you have benevolent hotlinking and you would like to treat them well. In this article: http://www.davidairey.com/stop-image-theft-hotlinking-htaccess/ David provides a clever way to deter his would-be image thieves. In your case, you could provide an image that gives your partners instructions on how they can repair their old images. Its not perfect, but its an easy way to identify the images that need to be updated and it gives your partners the opportunity to reach out to fix the problem.

Another option (although much more time intensive) is to provide 301 redirects for the images being requested. 301 says "this image moved permanently". There is a very simple and straightforward tutorial on 301 redirects found on Chris Coyier's website: http://css-tricks.com/snippets/htaccess/301-redirects/

  • The idea of replacing it with an instructional image isn't a bad one. Not sure I'd recommend the 301 redirect route though. I'm not even 100% sure it'd work in this situation, but if it does it's going to give you extra server requests that'll probably be more detrimental to performance than just replacing the image with an instructional one as per your first suggestion.
    – JonW
    Jun 3, 2014 at 14:13
  • Great post thanks for the info, I agree that the .htaccess method of replacing the image is our best option. Jun 3, 2014 at 18:25

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