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Tag 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 »

(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 »

HTTP Headers for ZIP File Downloads

You know when you you’re working on a project and get stuck on something, so you scour the Web for solutions only to find that everyone else seems to be experiencing the exact same thing. Then, after many hours trying everything possible, you finally stumble onto something that seems to work. This time, the project was setting up a secure downloads area for Digging into WordPress. And when I finally discovered a solution, I told myself that it was definitely something I had to share here at Perishable Press. Apparently, there is much to be desired when it comes to […] Read more »

Disable Trace and Track for Better Security

The shared server on which I host Perishable Press was recently scanned by security software that revealed a significant security risk. Namely, the HTTP request methods TRACE and TRACK were found to be enabled on my webserver. The TRACE and TRACK protocols are HTTP methods used in the debugging of webserver connections. Although these methods are useful for legitimate purposes, they may compromise the security of your server by enabling cross-site scripting attacks (XST). By exploiting certain browser vulnerabilities, an attacker may manipulate the TRACE and TRACK methods to intercept your visitors’ sensitive data. The solution, of course, is disable […] Read more »

Temporary PHP Redirect: Allow Multiple IP Access and Redirect Everyone Else

In my previous article on temporarily redirecting visitors during site updates, I present numerous PHP and HTAccess methods for handling traffic during site maintenance, updates, and other temporary periods of downtime. Each of the PHP methods presented in the article allow for access from a single IP while redirecting everyone else. In this article, we modify our previous techniques to allow access for multiple IP addresses while temporarily redirecting everyone else to the page of our choice. Plus, while we’re at it, we’ll explore a few additional ways to adapt and use the general technique. Read more »

Three Unsolved WordPress Mysteries

After several years of using WordPress, I have at least three unanswered questions: What’s up with the WordPress PHP Memory Error? Why do certain phrases trigger “Forbidden” errors when saving or publishing posts? What happened to the Plugin Pages in the WordPress Codex? Let’s have a look at each one of these baffling mysteries.. Read more »

Custom HTTP Errors via htaccess

We all know how important it is to deliver sensible, helpful 404 error pages to our visitors. There are many ways of achieving this functionality, including the well-known htaccess trick used to locally redirect users to custom error pages: # htaccess custom error pages ErrorDocument 400 /errors/400.html ErrorDocument 401 /errors/401.html ErrorDocument 403 /errors/403.html ErrorDocument 404 /errors/404.html ErrorDocument 500 /errors/500.html ..and so on. These directives basically tell Apache to deliver the designated documents for their associated error types. Many webmasters and developers employ this trick to ensure that visitors receive customized error pages that are generally more user-friendly or design-specific than […] Read more »

Temporary Site Redirect for Visitors during Site Updates

In our article Stupid htaccess Tricks, we present the htaccess code required for redirecting visitors temporarily during periods of site maintenance. Although the article provides everything needed to implement the temporary redirect, I think readers would benefit from a more thorough examination of the process — nothing too serious, just enough to get it right. After discussing temporary redirects via htaccess, I’ll also explain how to accomplish the same thing using only PHP. Read more »

Harvesting cPanel Raw Access Logs

Harvesting Raw Logs For those of us using cPanel as the control panel for our websites, a wealth of information is readily available via cPanel ‘Raw Access Logs’. These logs are perpetually updated with data involving user agents, IP addresses, HTTP activity, resource access, and a whole lot more. Here is a quick tutorial on accessing and interpreting your cPanel raw access logs. Part One: Grab ‘em To grab a copy of your raw access logs, log into cPanel and click on the "Raw Access Logs" icon. Within the Raw Access Log interface, scroll through the list of available log […] Read more »

HTTP Error Codes

A list of HTTP Error codes and corresponding definitions: Informational Codes 100 — Continue 101 — Switching Protocols Successful Client Requests 200 — OK 201 — Created 202 — Accepted 203 — Non-Authorative Information 204 — No Content 205 — Reset Content 206 — Partial Content Client Request Redirected 300 — Multiple Choices 301 — Moved Permanently 302 — Moved Temporarily 303 — See Other 304 — Not Modified 305 — Use Proxy 307 — Temporary Redirect Client Request Errors 400 — Bad Request 401 — Authorization Required 402 — Payment Required (not used yet) 403 — Forbidden 404 — […] Read more »

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