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Blackhole for Bad Bots – PHP Version

This post summarizes Blackhole for Bad Bots version 4.0+. For older versions, check out the original tutorial. Please read the original tutorial for download, demo, and important information about the standalone PHP version of Blackhole for Bad Bots. The following guide is meant to simplify things for users of Blackhole version 4.0 and better. Read more »

Trying Different Email Clients for Mac

As a professional web developer slash book author, I spend a LOT of time with email. Recently, I discovered that my email client does not provide some of the functionality that I require. So I set out on a mission to find something that works. Something better. Read more »

Tips for Atom Code Editor

For some of my tutorials, I use the Atom Code Editor. It’s not as easy as Coda, but it does provide a LOT more flexibility in terms of configuration and customization. Over the last couple of years, I’ve collected a handful of useful tips and tricks for dialing in the perfect Atom environment. Well, perfect for my own needs — your mileage may vary. So without further ado, let’s jump into some sweet Atom tips. I update this post with new tips as I get them. Read more »

Redirect Query String via .htaccess

In general, redirecting URLs is a piece of cake with Apache’s .htaccess. The only trick is redirecting based on the URL’s query-string value. Doing so requires slightly different directives that many people are not aware of, so it’s common to see a questions like, “why isn’t my redirect working for query strings?” This quick tutorial aims to clear up any confusion and explains how to redirect any URL based on its query string. Read more »

How to use the HTML <base> tag

When every byte counts, you can use the HTML <base /> tag to specify a default href and target attribute for all relative URLs on the page. For smaller sites with a flat directory structure, this isn’t going to help much; but for sites with deeply nested directories, the <base /> tag can potentially shave a lot of extra weight from your web pages, and also help keep URLs cleaner and shorter. So if you’re micro-optimizing for performance, the <base /> tag can help you out. Read more »

How to Redirect URLs

Want to redirect a URL from one location to another? This simple guide shows you how to do it with Apache/.htaccess, PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and more. Each redirect technique is briefly explained and includes ready-to-go, copy-&-paste examples. Just grab the code you need and use it in good health. May the redirects be with you! Read more »

Detect Attacks with PHP and .htaccess

This tutorial explains how to detect and block security threats via .htaccess, and then pass that information to a PHP script for further processing. This is a powerful technique that combines the power of Apache with the flexibility of PHP. Enabling you to do things like log all unwanted traffic, send email reports for blocked requests, create a UI to display logged data, and just about anything else you can imagine. It’s an excellent way to keep a close eye on any malicious activity happening on your site. And a great tool to have in your belt. Read more »

Email Troubleshooting Guide

I often say that email is the “glue” that holds the Internet together. But it’s like the worst possible glue ever. It’s underlying technology is convoluted, complicated, insecure, tedious, sloppy, and archaic. In a nutshell: email sucks but it’s pretty much essential for working online. So what do you do if email is not working, like when you send an email but it never arrives? It can be very frustrating and difficult to figure out what went wrong. To help get you back on track, this article provides a simple guide for troubleshooting some of the most common email issues. Read more »

Customer Anti-Support

Email support can be great or it can suck horribly. It’s a spectrum. For my own products and services, my average email response time is around 1 hour in general, and 5 minutes if I am online. Seriously, I am right there ready to help anyone who needs it. Contrast that strategy to what seems to be the typical email support response time of an entire day or much longer. It’s just crazy to have to wait that long. Read more »

Disable WordPress Responsive Images

WordPress responsive images are awesome. But some people want to use their own methods to implement. This post explains how to disable WordPress responsive image functionality so that you can use your own methods. It makes things easier when you don’t have to wrestle with what WordPress is doing. Read more »

Display bbPress Posts without a Plugin

I recently redesigned my .htaccess site, htaccessbook.com. Before the redesign, I was using bbPress for the forum functionality. It worked okay for a few years, but along the way there were all sorts of really nasty bugs and important things breaking. It seemed like, no matter what, each updated version of the bbPress plugin caused serious problems, like replies not working, permalinks changing, and all sorts of other issues. Eventually, I got tired of spending hours after each bbPress update to try and fix things. It was time to find a better way. Read more »

Redirecting URLs that Include Numbers

Redirecting stuff with .htaccess generally is pretty straightforward, but there can be a lot of confusion when it comes to targeting patterns that include numbers. I think this largely is due to the syntax used for matching numbers in regular expressions. It’s sort of unintuitive until you get the hang of it. So to help in that regard, this tutorial explains the basics of matching numbers with .htaccess, and then provides some useful examples that should get you there. Read more »

Examples of Nested Encoding

Typically malicious scans use some sort of encoding to obscure their payloads. For example, instead of injecting a literal script, the attacker will run it through a PHP encoding function such as base64_encode(), utf8_encode(), or urlencode(). So if and when you need to decode some discovered payload, you can use whichever decoding function will do the job. For example, base64_decode(), utf8_decode(), or urldecode(). Sounds straightforward, but let’s dig a little deeper.. Read more »

Block Greasy Uploads Scanner

Whether you’re running WordPress or not, your site may be getting hit by endless scanning for your site’s uploaded files and similar nonexistent resources. Specifically, the “Greasy Uploads Scanner” endlessly scans sites for nonexistent resources in the /uploads/ directory, even if the directory itself doesn’t exist. Just mindless scanning for all sorts of weird files. It steals your server resources and threatens your site security. We hates them. And we wants to block them. Read more »

How to Block Bad Bots

Suffering from spammers, content scrapers, bandwidth leeches, and other bad bots? Got some loser stalking your chat forum? Site getting scanned by endless malicious requests? In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to block bad bots and users with minimal effort. Keeping the trash away from your site is gonna free up valuable server resources, conserve bandwidth, and improve the overall security and quality of your site. Read more »

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