Hello guys, today I will write about protecting images content with ImgFo. I will explain what is the benefit using this service for our images content and how to use this in our website. So let’s check this out.

Lately ImgFo is quite popular in my country. Many blogs use their service to monetize their works. Most of them is blog manga or webtoon. I feel curious about what is ImgFo, so I do small research and try to write into this article. Hope this will benefit for you because ImgFo will help you to make money better.

What is ImgFo ?

ImgFo is an application web based to show or display your images content and images content means a content which is based from image for example like presentation, PDF or artwork like manga, webtoon, etc. ImgFo working as application to render your images content and shareable to public.

What is benefit of ImgFo ?

The main benefit is ImgFo was designed for share your original content with protection to prevent from thieves. The second benefit is ImgFo doesn’t save your content in their database, you have 100% control of your original content. So you are able to update or delete your original content at any time. If you delete your json source file, then ImgFo will delete the link refer to your content immediately.

About PDF

We already know that PDF is the way to share public your original content, because PDF has lock feature to protect your original content. But you have no control for your file, because it can be copied. So you will lose the benefit of your content.

  • But ImgFo link is shareable, so I can not control too, right?
    Nope, You have control, if you delete your json source link, then your ImgFo link will dead immediatelly. Somebody can not download your content if you don’t allow it.

  • PDF are not safe
    Even you lock your PDF, there is many tool to extract or modify your PDF.

  • PDF is not eficient for thousand files
    PDF is not eficient for thousands high quality image files. Because the size is very big, you will hard to maintain, share or sell it.

About Watermark

The very simple way to protect your original work is to put watermark, but actualy, it can be easily removed by someone using image editor application like Photoshop.

Pros of using ImgFo

Actualy there is many benefit of using ImgFo, So here is the pros of using ImgFo in real world.

  • Make Money
    You are able to sell your link for monetizing your content. You can make your link permanently or temporary for your member.

  • Small Investment
    You don’t have to build an e-commerce application. You can start with free blog from Blogger or Patreon. And for web server to put your original work, you can use with free hosting from 000webhost.com.

  • Protected
    ImgFo is read only, so your reader can not download your content as default, everything is locked and encrypted. But you can allow your user to download your content by putting your download link.

  • Private but Shareable
    Your link is private, any bots can not index your link (bad bots also blocked). But your link is shareable, so your content can be viewed to user who has the link.

  • Backlink
    Even your link is shareable, your reader will always know who is the original creator by putting your backlink website in your json source.

Cons of using ImgFo

It’s not fair if I describe the pros only. So here is the cons of using ImgFo in real world.

  • Web Server is Required
    ImgFo is fair, they don’t save your content in their database. So you need to upload your json source into your own web server. But if you don’t have any hosting, you can try free hosting in 000webhost.com.

  • Not Simple
    It is because there is many steps to make your original safe from being stolen. But if you know the structure of json format in ImgFo, you can create your own application to generate json and upload it to your web server automatically.

  • There is no Rest API
    Actualy they have a Rest API, but currently is for private use. They don’t want to make their Rest API for public use.

How to use ImgFo ?

There is many step to use ImgFo. In this tutorial I will write step by step :

1. Setup WebServer

For WebServer, I will use free hosting by 000webhost. The reason is, because there is no free hosting for nodejs application even Heroku they are not fully free. So we will do this using PHP language as 000webhost is for hosting PHP application.

  • Create a website first
    Visit to 000webhost and create your first website in it. You can search through google about tutorial to create website with 000webhost.

  • Create index.php file.
    You can just copy paste this code below.

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    <?php
    // Set Response Content-Type Header
    header('Content-Type: application/json');
    // look file from url parameter name content
    if(isset($_GET['content'])) {
    // set dirname content
    $dirname = "content";

    // decode url parameter content
    $file = urldecode($_GET['content']);

    // if dir not exist then create it
    if(!is_dir($dirname)) {
    mkdir($dirname, 0777);
    }

    // check the file is exists or not
    if(file_exists($dirname.'/'.$file)) {
    // if exist then read it
    readfile($dirname.'/'.$file,"r");
    } else {
    // if not found then send message not found
    echo '{"message":"not found!"}';
    }
    } else {
    // default message for page
    echo '{"message":"Welcome to my website"}';
    }
  • Create robots.txt to block all search engine bots.
    You can just copy paste this line below

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    User-Agent: *
    Disallow: /
  • Upload index.php and robots.txt above to public_html.
    Go to files manager, go to directory public_html then upload this index.php and robots.txt file.

  • Create new directory and name it with content.
    This directory is for your-json-source.json.

  • Create new directory and name it with images.
    This directory is for your images.

  • Setup Webserver is Done.

2. Generate Json Source

  • Go to ImgFo and generate your images content json source from there.
  • Press submit and you will get result of your json source.
  • Save it as your-json-source.json.
  • Upload your your-json-source.json into content directory.
  • Done
  • Now browse to https://your-website.000webhostapp.com/?content=your-json-source.json.
  • Generate Link to get hash link from ImgFo with above url.
  • Now copy the result of hash link and browse it.
  • Done

4. Directory Structure

Your directory structure is must like this:

  • content/
    • your-json-source.json
  • images/
    • 001.jpg
    • 002.jpg
  • index.php
  • robots.txt

Note:

  • Your images url would be https://your-domain.000webhostapp.com/images/001.jpg.
  • Your json source link would be https://your-domain.000webhostapp.com/?content=your-json-source.json.

All is done, now you can share your link to everyone.

Tips:

  • If you haven’t any content yet, you can just copy paste from this url and save it as your-json-source.json.
  • You have to upload images into your webserver.
  • To save bandwidth you can use CDN Cloudflare.
  • To avoid auto deletion from 000webhost make sure there is 10 visitor per month.

Conclusion

ImgFo is the great free service for us to monetize our original work through internet. But you must consider about this :

  • Not for small image under 600px
    If you put small image with ImgFo, they will display it inline. In my opinion, ImgFo intended to work as alternative PDF so you have to use image size higher than 600px.

  • No Guarantees
    ImgFo is free service so they have no uptime and support guarantees.

  • Maybe Slow Update
    ImgFo protection is very strong, I fail to scrape using headless browser, sniffing the json source, etc. But technology is always update, as free service I doubt they will fast to update their security.

  • Adblocker
    ImgFo is non profit, they live from donation and advertiser, so they put some ads in view content page of your works. If your visitor using Adblocker, they must disable it to view your content.

  • Is this really safe?
    I don’t think so, because ImgFo is still new and the community is small. But if you still worries, it is better to put watermark on your original content at least for first year using ImgFo.

ImgFo says that you are able to upload your json source to GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, etc. But please don’t do this, because your works can be indexed and searchable by crawler search engine. The right way is to upload to your own server hosting, because you can set robots.txt to block all search engine crawlers.

To create a private webserver is very easy and all above tutorial is free, but if you are serious with your works, you have to buy premium domain and hosting.

Actualy you are able to use Google Drive or Google Photos for your images storage, but this way is not easy because you have to setup an oauth login and there is a request limit.

Thank you for your time to reading my article. Hope this will benefit for you.