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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 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 »

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 »

Bulletproof Sitemap Redirects via .htaccess

Sitemaps have been shown to help search engines and other visitors understand and navigate your website. This tutorial gives you a simple yet powerful .htaccess technique for ensuring that search engines and other visitors can easily find your sitemap files. So even if they are looking for your sitemap in the wrong location, they’ll always be redirected to the actual, existing sitemap for your site. This strategy helps to improve consistency, minimize 404 errors, and save server resources. So it’s good for performance and SEO. Read more »

WordPress .htaccess file

The WordPress core uses .htaccess for two things: Permalinks and Multisite. This means that .htaccess is only required if you have enabled either of these features. Otherwise, .htaccess is entirely optional for default WordPress installations. Beyond the WP core, many plugins also use the .htaccess file for custom directives involving rewrites, redirects, custom headers, file compression, and much more. In many cases, such plugins add their .htaccess rules to your .htaccess file automatically, behind the scenes. Read more »

Worst IPs: 2016 Edition

A little late this year, but following tradition here is my list of the absolute worst IP addresses from 2016. All in nice numerical order for easy crunching. These IPs are associated with all sorts of malicious activity, including exploit scanning, email harvesting, brute-force login attacks, referrer spam, and everything in between. Really obnoxious stuff that degrades your site’s performance and potentially threatens security. Read more »

.htaccess Cleanup

Once again I am cleaning up my sites’ .htaccess files. I do this from time to time to remove old redirects, refresh blacklists, and update security and SEO-related directives. It’s tedious work, but the performance and security benefits make it all worthwhile. This post shares some of the techniques that were added, removed, or replaced from .htaccess, and explains the reasoning behind each decision. I do this for the sake of reference, and hopefully it will give you some ideas for your own .htaccess cleanups. Read more »

Stop WordPress from modifying .htaccess

By default, depending on file permissions, WordPress automatically will modify the contents of your site’s .htaccess file. It does this on several occasions, adding and/or updating the rewrite rules required for WP’s permalink functionality. This post explains how this works, why it can be dangerous, and how to stop it from happening. Read more »

Block nuisance requests for .well-known, apple-app, etc.

Anyone who is paying attention to their server access and error logs has probably noticed that Google and other bots have been making endless requests for .well-known, apple-app-site-association, and various related files. This quick post explains how to save some server bandwidth and resources by blocking such repetitive requests, and also looks at a related problem with certain search engines <cough> not respecting a standard “410 Gone” server response. Read more »

Stop User Enumeration in WordPress

This tutorial explains how to block user-enumeration scans in WordPress. As explained in greater depth here, user enumeration happens when some malicious script scans a WordPress site for user data by requesting numerical user IDs. For example, requests for ?author=1 through some number, say, ?author=1000, may reveal the usernames for all associated users. With a simple enumeration script, an attacker can scan your site and obtain a list of login names in a matter of seconds. Read more »

They’re Scanning for Your Backup Files

Just a reminder to keep your backup files offline. Do not store them in any publicly accessible space. It’s just not worth the risk man. And if you’re working online, you should know this already. If not, then continue reading to learn why it’s absolutely mission critical. Read more »

Brute-Force Login Drip Attack

I’ve been noticing a new strategy for brute-force login attacks: the slow, incremental “drip” attack. Instead of slamming a login page with hundreds or thousands of brute-force login attempts all within a few minutes, some attackers have been taking a more low-key approach by slowing down the rate of login attempts in order to bypass security measures. The “drip” brute-force attack is extremely annoying, and possibly dangerous if any of your registered users are using weak login credentials. Read more »

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