New book on WordPress Theme Development: WordPress Themes In Depth
2008 Feb
Monthly Archive

Minimalist Web Design Showcase: ShaunInman.com

“Exploring Minimalist Thought and Expression in Contemporary Web Design” Welcome to our ongoing series of articles exploring minimalism in modern web (and graphic) design. With this post, we continue our exploration of the Web’s most inspiring and intriguing minimalist presentations. Staying true to the spirit of minimalism, each showcase will be kept as clear and concise as possible, focusing on tangible and practical aspects of each featured site. We will discuss aesthetics and functionality on both sides of the browser, examining elegance and simplicity within a Web-Standards context.. Read more »

2G Blacklist: Closing the Door on Malicious Attacks

Since posting the Ultimate htaccess Blacklist and then the Ultimate htaccess Blacklist 2, I find myself dealing with a new breed of malicious attacks. It is no longer useful to simply block nefarious user agents because they are frequently faked. Likewise, blocking individual IP addresses is generally a waste of time because the attacks are coming from a decentralized network of zombie machines. Watching my error and access logs very closely, I have observed the following trends in current attacks: User agents are faked, typically using something generic like “Mozilla/5.0” Each attack may involve hundreds of compromised IP addresses Attacks […] Read more »

Over 150 of the Worst Spammers, Scrapers and Crackers from 2007

Update 2010/07/07: Please visit the 2010 IP Blacklist for more current information. Over the course of each year, I blacklist a considerable number of individual IP addresses. Every day, Perishable Press is hit with countless numbers of spammers, scrapers, crackers and all sorts of other hapless turds. Weekly examinations of my site’s error logs enable me to filter through the chaff and cherry-pick only the most heinous, nefarious attackers for blacklisting. Minor offenses are generally dismissed, but the evil bastards that insist on wasting resources running redundant automated scripts are immediately investigated via IP lookup and denied access via simple […] Read more »

WordPress Discussion Management: Enable or Disable Comments and Pingbacks via SQL

Continuing my quest to stop comment spam without using plugins, I have decided to disable comments on “old” posts. In my experience, over 90% of comment, trackback and pingback spam occurs on posts that have been online for over a month or so, just long enough to be indexed by the search engines and picked up by spammers. Especially for older posts that have managed to acquire a little page rank, the frequency of spam attempts is far greater than it is for fresher content. Throw dofollow comment status into the mix, and say “hello” to a hellish number of […] Read more »

Improve Site Performance by Increasing PHP Memory for WordPress

During the recent ASO server debacle, I raced frantically to restore functionality to Perishable Press. Along the way, one of the many tricks that I tried while trying to fix the dreaded “white screen of death” syndrome involved increasing the amount of PHP memory available to WordPress. This fix worked for me, but may not prove effective on every installation of WordPress. If you are unsure as to whether or not you need to increase your PHP memory, consult with your host concerning current available memory 1 and overall compatibility with a localized increase. Note that if your blog is running […] Read more »

Quickly Disable or Enable All WordPress Plugins via the Database

Recently, while dealing with the dreaded white screen of death, I found myself unable to login to the WordPress Admin area to manually disable all of the plugins used here at Perishable Press. In the past, I have dealt with this situation by simply deleting all plugin files from the server, however this time, time was of the essence — I had only a few minutes with which to troubleshoot, diagnose, and ultimately resolve the deadly white-screen syndrome. Fortunately, after a few minutes of digging through the WordPress Codex, I had discovered enough information to successfully complete my mission. Now […] Read more »

WordPress Error Fix(?): Increase PHP Memory for cache.php

This trick isn’t guaranteed to prevent all WordPress-generated PHP memory errors, but it certainly seems to help reduce their overall occurrence. For some reason, after my host upgraded their servers to Apache 1.3.41, I began logging an extremely high number of fatal PHP “memory exhausted” errors resulting from the WordPress cache.php script. Here is an example of the countless errors that are generated: Read more »

Error-Free Feed-Validation Links for Feedburner-Redirected Feeds

Just a quick tip on how to create error-free links to feed validation services for feeds that are redirected through Feedburner. For example, let’s say our site’s main feed is originally located at: http://domain.tld/feed/ If we wanted to provide our visitors with a link that would enable them to automatically validate our feed using a free service such as feedvalidator.org 1, we would create the link as follows: Read more »

Transfer Autometa Plugin Data into All in One SEO Pack

During my last redesign and site overhaul, I finally made the leap from WP 2.0 to 2.3. In the process of synchronizing data and removing unecessary plugins, I managed to replace several keyword- and meta-related plugins with the incredible All in One SEO Pack (AiOSEO). One of the plugins replaced by AiOSEO is Autometa, an otherwise very useful meta-keywords management tool. Over the course of a year or so, Autometa had accumulated a significant number of meta keywords in its associated database table. Thus, to keep these keywords, I needed an effective way of transfering them from Autometa to AiOSEO. […] Read more »

Three Must-Have Icons for Better Branding

I am going out on a limb here, but my guess is that most bloggers are not taking advantage of Gravatars. Most of the sites that I visit do, however, take full advantage of the opportunity to sport a favicon. Understandably, favicons have been around for much longer than Gravatars and therefore are much more prevalent. Still, I can’t help but wonder why more people aren’t taking advantage of the free personalized avatar service provided by gravatar.com. For every Gravatar-enabled site there are many opportunities to build brand recognition. And there are many Gravatar-enabled sites from which to choose. Just […] Read more »

Perishable Press Upgraded to WordPress 2.3.3

Just a note to announce a site upgrade to WordPress 2.3.3. The upgrade went well, but overall server performance continues to suffer. I am aware that some people are experiencing difficulties leaving comments and even accessing the site in general. Rest assured, I am working with my hosting company, A Small Orange, to get everything back on track and running smooth. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the issues, restore full functionality, and return to reliable performance. Please share any helpful observations regarding the site here. — Thanks! Read more »

Blacklist Candidate Number 2008-02-10

Welcome to the Perishable Press “Blacklist Candidate” series. In this post, we continue our new tradition of exposing, humiliating and banishing spammers, crackers and other worthless scumbags.. Scumbag number 2008-02-10, “COME ON DOWN!!” — you’re the next baboon to get banished from the site! Like many bloggers, I like to spend a little quality time each week examining my site’s error logs. The data contained in Apache, 404, and even PHP error logs is always enlightening. In addition to suspicious behavior, spam nonsense, and cracker mischief, this site frequently endures automated and even manual attacks targeting various XSS exploits, WordPress […] Read more »

Permalink Evolution: Customize and Optimize Your Dated WordPress Permalinks

How to streamline and maximize the effectiveness of your WordPress URLs by using htaccess to remove extraneous post-date information: years, months, and days.. Recently, there has been much discussion about whether or not to remove the post-date information from WordPress permalinks 1. Way back during the WordPress 1.2/1.5 days, URL post-date inclusion had become very popular, in part due to reports of potential conflicts with post-name-only permalinks. Throw in the inevitable “monkey-see, monkey-do” mentality typical of many bloggers, and suddenly an entire wave of WordPressers had adopted the following permalink structure: /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ The benefits of using this format are primarily organizational […] Read more »

Lessons Learned Concerning the Clearfix CSS Hack

I use the CSS clearfix hack on nearly all of my sites. The clearfix hack — also known as the “Easy Clearing Hack” — is used to clear floated divisions (divs) without using structural markup. It is very effective in resolving layout issues and browser inconsistencies without the need to mix structure with presentation. Over the course of the past few years, I have taken note of several useful bits of information regarding the Easy Clear Method. In this article, I summarize these lessons learned and present a (slightly) enhanced version of the clearfix hack.. Read more »

Optimizing Google Analytics Performance

It has occurred to me lately that I no longer use Google Analytics for Perishable Press. Instead, I find myself keeping an eye on things using Mint almost exclusively. So, the question now is: do I continue serving the GA JavaScript to keep the profile active just in case I ever need the additional stats? I mean, Mint already does a great job at recording all of information I could ever need, so I no longer see the use for Google Analytics. I do wonder, however, if Google ranks GA-enabled sites a bit higher than non-GA sites. Hmmm.. it seems […] Read more »

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