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Jeff Starr
Author Archive

List of All User Agents for Top Search Engines

Here is a working list of all user agents for the top search engines. I use this information frequently for my plugins such as Blackhole for Bad Bots and BBQ Pro, so I figured it would be useful to post the information online for the benefit of others. Having the user agents for these popular bots all in one place helps to streamline my development process. Each search engine includes references and a regex pattern to match all known user agents. Read more »

6G Firewall 2016

After three years of development, testing, and feedback, I’m pleased to announce the official launch version of the 6G Firewall (aka the 6G Blacklist). This version of the nG Firewall is greatly refined, heavily tested, and better than ever. Fine-tuned to minimize false positives, the 6G Firewall protects your site against a wide variety of malicious URI requests, bad bots, spam referrers, and other attacks. Blocking bad traffic improves site security, reduces server load, and conserves precious resources. The 6G Firewall is entirely plug-n-play with no configuration required. It’s also open source, easy to use, and completely free, providing strong […] Read more »

Protect Against WordPress Brute Force Amplification Attack

It seems the WordPress xmlrpc.php file is the target of another type of attack. Before, it was the XML-RPC Pingback Vulnerability. Now, it is the Brute Force Amplification Attack. This post explains what you need to know and then cuts to the chase with several ways to protect your site against this new malicious exploit, as well as all other related threats. Read more »

WordPress Plugin: Enable WP Database Tools

Here is a lightweight WordPress plugin that enables you to optimize and repair InnoDB and MyISAM database tables. It uses WordPress’ built-in database optimization tools to get the job done. There are lots of great database optimization plugins out there, but this one is aimed specifically at easily optimizing and repairing InnoDB tables. Although it also works on other types of tables, such as MyISAM. Read more »

What to do when your site gets hacked

Over the years, my sites have been hacked numerous times. Each hacking event was somewhat of a miserable experience at first, but ultimately educational and even enlightening. I’m not going to say that getting hacked was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world. In this post, I want to share some important steps to take and things to keep in mind if and when you discover that your site has been hacked. Read more »

s2Member vs. Easy Digital Downloads

s2Member (s2) and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) are two of the top eCommerce plugins for WordPress. I’ve been using both plugins for quite awhile now and would like to explain some of their main differences. Both plugins are awesome in their own right, but there are some clear distinctions that could make one or the other an ideal choice depending on the scope and goals of your project. Hopefully the following comparison will help anyone out there arrive at the best possible choice for their specific needs. Read more »

The Art of Troubleshooting WordPress

If you are new to WordPress, or even if you have some experience, it may seem impossible to figure out why something isn’t working as expected. It would be nice if we could just wave a magic wand and have everything “fixed” automatically, but reality requires a bit more effort to diagnose and resolve issues. It would be impossible to describe troubleshooting steps for every possible issue, so this post stays focused on troubleshooting things in general. The goal here is not to explain how to fix all of your problems, but rather to guide you through the basic process […] Read more »

Free and Open

In response to the nonsense reported here and here. The Web Belongs to Everyone The Web is a beautiful, incredible thing. It enables anyone with a connection to access an entire universe of human knowledge. The Web is like this because it is free and open. We the people built the Internet and it belongs to everyone. Each person may claim their own piece of the Internet, but no one person or group may claim ownership of its entirety. If you feel the need to control or regulate something, do so with your own computers on your own network. Please […] Read more »

Action & Filter Hooks for User Submitted Posts

The free version of my WordPress plugin User Submitted Posts is better than ever, with a wealth of new action and filter hooks, enabling developers to customize everything from shortcode output to post data, alert messages and more. Drop in for a quick summary of all new USP hooks. Read more »

WordPress Enable PHP Strict Error Reporting

When developing WordPress themes and plugins, I like to enable PHP’s strict error reporting. That way all errors and notices can be recognized and dealt with accordingly. Plus, enabling PHP strict error reporting is pretty easy to do using a simple must-use plugin. Here’s how to do it.. Read more »

s2member notes

I use s2member (free version) and s2member Pro on a few of my sites. Have been for several years now. Over the course of time, I have amassed a healthy collection of notes, code snippets and techniques for customizing default functionality, adding features, and so forth. Gonna post the collection online for the benefit of any others who may be seeking for similar modifications and/or related information. Read more »

Redirecting Hash Fragments with .htaccess

During this year’s site redesigns, I noticed in the server logs some 404 errors for various WordPress comments. These 404 requests each involved a fragment identifier (i.e., character string beginning with a pound sign, #) being interpreted as its HTML entity hex equivalent, %23. It may not seem like a big deal, but these days every detail counts, so it’s wise to clean up as many 404 errors as possible. Thus, here is a simple .htaccess technique for redirecting hash-fragment requests to their proper destination. Read more »

Back Into It

This year has been full of change, hard work, and lots of planning. First it was general clean-up, reorganization, and streamlining of online assets (e.g., axing unused domains, consolidating email addresses, closing old social media accounts, etc.). That may not sound like a lot of work, but after 15+ years working online, it was a LOT of stuff to go through and get organized. My goal is to simplify my process down to a focused stream of activity. This post logs some of the steps I’ve taken so far to get there and back into it (again). Read more »

Block revslider Scans

One of the most annoying, persistent scans I’ve seen in a long time are those hunting for the revslider vulnerability. In the five or so months since the exploit was discovered, many sites have been compromised. And based on what I’ve been seeing in my traffic logs, the risk is far from over. Apparently every 2-bit script kiddie and their pet hamster wants a piece of the “revslider action”. Read more »

Updates Galore

Just a quick post to let people know about the updates now available for my various books and plugins. Basically the entire month of May was spent on plugin and book updates, so here is a quick summary of what’s new. Read more »

xyCSS moved to Perishable Press

Recently I’ve been implementing SSL on my domains and have been streamlining and updating some projects along the way. Consolidating properties is a great way to simplify workflow and boost productivity, so I’ve went ahead and moved xyCSS from its own domain,, to its new home here at Perishable Press. Read more »

Latest Tweets Book update! The Tao of WordPress now current with WP 4.5 + Save 20% with code: SPRING2016