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 pictures ?” is raised. There is a way you can protect images/pictures from being downloaded from such users who have not logged in.

In this blog, we’ll see the complete guide for issues with image restriction are prevalent and how we can overcome them by configuring rules and setting up measures to prevent unauthorized access to your photos.


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 protects images/pictures download 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.


How can you set image restrictions with a Reverse Proxy server?

So, what is a reverse proxy server? A reverse proxy server is a server that sits between your website’s origin server and the clients trying to access it. It protects the identity of the origin server by directing traffic from users towards itself, before sending it to the origin server of your website. You can learn more about it from this link.

A reverse proxy server can be customized to a great extent to set access control to your media. You can set user roles and actions, restrict IP addresses, set location and time-based access controls, 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/pictures 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/pictures from unauthorized downloading.

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 the image. 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 server to protect your images/pictures from downloading. Images/pictures 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 from being downloaded with this solution.
image restriction reverse proxy

Your images with a 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. No unauthorized user will be able to view or access the folders where your images are stored and guarantees security.


Your images without a Reverse Proxy server

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




With a reverse proxy server, you can protect images/pictures from unauthorized access. 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 and avoid any leaks into public spaces.


Other Reverse Proxy solutions by miniOrange.

  1. Bot traffic mitigation.
  2. Load balancing.
  3. IP restriction.
  4. Content caching.
  5. Rate Limiting.


More products for media restriction by miniOrange.

  1. Prevent Files/ Folders Access
  2. Content restriction for Shopify
  3. Protect your videos.
  4. Protect your PDF.
  5. WP role based access control.

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