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WordPress Tip: Remove Spam from the Comment Subscription Manager

After investigating some unusual 404 errors the other day, I found myself digging through the WordPress Admin trying to locate the “Subscribe to Comments” options panel. As it turns out, administrative options for the Subscribe to Comments plugin are split into two different areas. First, the S2C plugin provides configuration options under “Options > Subscribe to Comments”, which enables users to tweak everything from subscription messages to custom CSS styles. New to me was the other half of the S2C administration area: the Subscription Manager! Carefully hidden under “Manage > Subscriptions”, the Subscription Manager provides several useful ways to filter your email subscribers: Read more »

Blacklist Candidate Number 2008-03-09

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.. Imagine, if you will, an overly caffeinated Bob Barker, hunched over his favorite laptop, feverishly scanning his server access files. Like some underpaid factory worker pruning defective bobble heads from a Taiwanese assembly line, Bob rapidly identifies and isolates suspicious log entries with laser focus. Upon further investigation, affirmed spammers, scrapers and crackers are swiftly blacklisted from future access. For the most heinous offenders, we suddenly hear Rod Roddy’s guzzling voice echo throughout […] Read more »

Unobtrusive JavaScript Dynamic Clock

In this tutorial, I present an easy way to add a little extra flair to your site by adding some dynamic clock functionality. Using unobtrusive JavaScript, a bit of (X)HTML markup, and a dash of PHP (optional), we will create a dynamic clock that degrades gracefully to a static date/time-stamp when JavaScript is unavailable. No need to get all verbose with this one, so let’s dive right in.. 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Blacklist Candidate Number 2008-01-02

Come one, come all — today we officially begin a new series of posts here at Perishable Press: the public exposure, humiliation, and banishment of spammers, crackers, and other site attackers. Kicking things off for 2008: blacklist candidate number 2008-01-02! Every Wednesday, I take a little time to investigate my 404 error logs. In addition to spam, crack attacks, and other deliberate mischief, the 404 logs for Perishable Press contain errors due to missing resources, mistyped URLs, and the occasional bizarre or even suspicious behavior of the search-engine robots. Whenever possible, I attempt to resolve a majority of the “fixable” […] Read more »

WordPress Tip: Reduce the Size of the WP-ShortStat Database Table

In this article, I present a simple method for dramatically decreasing the size of your WordPress database by partially emptying old data from the WP-ShortStat table via the following SQL command: DELETE FROM `wp_ss_stats` ORDER BY `id` ASC LIMIT n That is the point of this entire article, which dips into just about everything one might need to know before employing such strategy. If you are familiar with SQL and understand the purpose and functionality of this command, feel free to grab, gulp and go. Otherwise, read on for the full story.. A little context, please.. Many WordPress users enjoy […] Read more »

How to Enable PHP Error Logging via htaccess

In this brief tutorial, I will show Apache users how to suppress PHP errors from visitors and enable PHP error logging via htaccess. Tracking your site’s PHP errors is an excellent way to manage and troubleshoot unexpected issues related to plugins and themes. Even better, monitoring PHP errors behind the scenes via private log is far better than trying to catch them as they appear at random visits. Thanks to the magical powers of htaccess, there is an easy way to implement this effective strategy. Hide PHP errors from visitors In our article, , we discuss a technique whereby PHP […] Read more »

Focus on the Details: Optimizing Images for Humans and Machines

In this article, I discuss how to get the most out of your site’s images by optimizing them for both people and search engines.. For many sites, images play an important role in the communication process. If used correctly, images have the power to make your articles come alive with clarity and vibrancy. Some visitors may merely notice the image and continue reading, while others will want to know more about your images and dig deeper. While checking out your images, inquisitive guests will explore any clues available to them: alt tags, title tags, and captions, for example. Likewise, when […] Read more »

Quick JavaScript Tip: Auto-Highlight Form Inputs and Textareas

I realize that probably everybody already knows this elementary and absolutely dead-simple JavaScript tip, but I was surfing around the other day and encountered a page that made great use of some auto-highlighted textarea content. The idea is simple, include a snippet of JavaScript to enable users to automatically highlight/select upon focus any chunk of text located within a form input or textarea element. I would imagine this trick works with just about any element — buttons, links, you name it. With the following code in place, content within a textarea will be highlighted/selected when the user hovers over or […] Read more »

5 Easy Ways to Display Syntax Highlighted PHP Code

A great to way to share your PHP code with visitors is to display it directly in the browser with automatically generated syntax highlighting. Here is a screenshot showing an example of syntax-highlighted PHP code: Displaying your PHP scripts in syntax-highlighted form is an excellent way to share source code details directly with your readers. Rather than zipping the script and requiring users to download, unzip, and open the file in an editor, displaying your code directly saves you and your visitors time, effort, and hassle. Plus, in my opinion, looking at syntax-highlighted PHP code is a beautiful sight, day […] Read more »

Three Ways to Allow Hotlinking in Specific Directories

After implementing any of the hotlink-prevention techniques described in our previous article, you may find it necessary to disable hotlink-protection for a specific directory. By default, htaccess rules apply to the directory in which it is located, as well as all subdirectories contained therein. There are (at least) three ways to enable selective hotlinking: Place hotlink images in an alternate directory This method works great if your hotlink-protection rules are located in a directory other than the site root. Simply create another directory outside of the directory containing the htaccess rules and place your hotlink-allowed images into that directory. Create […] Read more »

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