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Web Design
Category Archive

Protect Against Malicious POST Requests

Whether you like it or not, there are scripts and bots out there hammering away at your sites with endless HTTP “POST” requests. POST requests are sort of the opposite of GET requests. Instead of getting some resource or file from the server, data is being posted or sent to it. To illustrate, normal surfing around the Web involves your browser making series of GET requests for all the resources required for each web page. HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, et al. But whenever you leave a comment, tweet something, or share on Facebook, the browser is sending your content, along […] Read more »

Protect Against Humans.txt Query-String Scans

I woke up this morning to the sound of thousands of 404 requests hitting the server. It’s sad that there are kiddies out there who have nothing better to do than buy some pathetic $50 script and then sit there like an imbecile harassing people for hours on end. But alas, that is the world we live in — fortunately it’s less than trivial to block the entire scan with just a few lines of good old .htaccess. Read more »

Testing HTTP Requests

Just a quick post with some tips for troubleshooting and testing HTTP requests. For example, if you have a plugin that sends requests behind the scenes via Ajax or cURL or whatever, it’s nice to have a way to view request details such as headers, the response, and everything in between. This article is aimed primarily at WordPress users, but contains more general tips and tricks as well. Read more »

2014 Micro Blacklist

Over the past several months, I’ve assembled a “micro” blacklist to keep some recent threats at bay. Eventually, this will be integrated into the next nG Blacklist, but for now I just wanted to post and share with anyone else who is actively monitoring their server logs and aware of the recent spike in malicious activity. Read more »

jQuery Accordion Menu Tutorial

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to build a jQuery accordion menu from scratch. Most of the time it is possible to create very functional website navigations with just CSS, but this time we are going to need a little jQuery magic to accomplish the accordion functionality. For this tutorial I am going to assume that you have some experience with HTML and CSS. I will go over all the code, but the main focus of this tutorial we be on jQuery stuff. You may download the demo files at the end of the article. Read more »

2013 User Agent Blacklist

The 2013 User Agent Blacklist blocks hundreds of the worst bots while ensuring open-access for normal traffic, major search engines (Google, Bing, et al), good browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, et al), and everyone else. Compared to blocking threats by IP, blocking by user-agent is more effective as a general security strategy. Although it’s trivial to spoof any user agent, many bad requests continue to report user-agent strings that are known to be associated with malicious activity. For example, the notorious “httrack” user agent has been widely blocked since at least 2007, yet it continues to plague sites to this day. […] Read more »

2013 IP Blacklist

When time allows, I like to post my collections of the worst IP addresses for the current year. Certainly, there are pros and cons to using an IP blacklist. In general, IPs are easily spoofed, change frequently, and are therefore unreliable as a general security strategy. But as a short-term solution, IP blacklists serve as an excellent method for dealing with specific and/or ongoing threats and attacks. Read more »

WP-Mix – A fresh mix of code snippets and tutorials

Wrapping up 2012, I finally launched xyCSS.com, which is all about responsive, grid-based design. To showcase xy.css, I used it to design WP-Mix.com, which also serves to house a growing collection of choice code snippets. Currently WP-Mix features over 100 snippets, tutorials, and other useful bits to help with WordPress development and web design in general. The topics are similar to those at Perishable Press (e.g., WordPress, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, etc.), but the posts are less-involved and aimed at intermediate to advanced developers. Read more »

New Site: xyCSS.com – Responsive Grid Design

For the past year or so, I’ve been heavy into responsive, grid-based design. In December, I “soft-launched” my new site, xyCSS.com with a simple tweet: Bringing it all together: http://xycss.com/ As implied (and explained), xy.css is a lightweight CSS template for creating semantic HTML5 designs on a responsive liquid matrix. Read more »

5G Blacklist 2013

Following up on much feedback (and this post), here is an update for the 5G Blacklist for 2013. As explained in the 2012 article (and elsewhere), the 5G Blacklist helps reduce the number of malicious URL requests that hit your website. It’s one of many ways to improve the security of your site and protect against evil exploits, bad requests, and other nefarious garbage. If your site runs on Apache and you’re familiar with .htaccess, the 5G is an effective way to secure your site against malicious HTTP activity. Read more »

Protection for WordPress Pingback Vulnerability

It was recently reported about a WordPress Pingback Vulnerability, whereby an attacker has four potential ways to cause harm via xmlrpc.php, which is the file included in WordPress for XML-RPC Support (e.g., “pingbacks”). In this post, I offer a simple .htaccess technique to lock things down and protect against any meddling via the xmlrpc.php file. Note: this technique is only recommended if you aren’t using XML-RPC for anything (e.g., pingbacks, Blogger, MovableType, etc.). Update: Check out the alternate method to whitelist specific IPs while protecting against threats. Read more »

(Please) Stop Using Unsafe Characters in URLs

Just as there are specifications for designing with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, there are specifications for working with URIs/URLs. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) clearly defines these specifications in numerous documents, including the following: Read more »

Printed .htaccess books

After launching my new book .htaccess made easy back in September, I wanted to allow time to fix any errors or typos before sending the book to the printers. After a couple of months, I had updated the book three times with better code, new techniques, and design improvements. After a few final steps to optimize for print format, the books were ordered, printed and delivered fresh on Christmas Eve :) So to celebrate the event, all printed .htaccess books are on sale for $10 off, and all PDFs are on sale for $5 off. Read more »

CSS Hooks for User Submitted Posts

Here is a list of all CSS hooks available for the User Submitted Posts submission form. If you notice any errors or if I’ve missed anything, please let me know with a comment or by sending an email via my contact form. Thanks! Read more »

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