Protect Your Site with a Blackhole for Bad Bots

New! Blackhole WordPress plugin now available at the WP Plugin Directory! One of my favorite security measures here at Perishable Press is the site’s virtual Blackhole trap for bad bots. The concept is simple: include a hidden link to a robots.txt-forbidden directory somewhere on your pages. Bots that ignore or disobey your robots rules will crawl the link and fall into the honeypot trap, which then performs a WHOIS Lookup and records the event in the blackhole data file. Once added to the blacklist data file, bad bots immediately are denied access to your site. I call it the “one-strike” […] Read more »

Fixing WordPress Infinite Duplicate Content Issue

Jeff Morris recently demonstrated a potential issue with the way WordPress handles multipaged posts and comments. The issue involves WordPress’ inability to discern between multipaged posts and comments that actually exist and those that do not. By redirecting requests for nonexistent numbered pages to the original post, WordPress creates an infinite amount of duplicate content for your site. In this article, we explain the issue, discuss the implications, and provide an easy, working solution. Understanding the “infinite duplicate content” issue Using the <!–nextpage–> tag, WordPress makes it easy to split your post content into multiple pages, and also makes it […] Read more »

Is it Secret? Is it Safe?

Whenever I find myself working with PHP or messing around with server settings, I nearly always create a phpinfo.php file and place it in the root directory of whatever domain I happen to be working on. These types of informational files employ PHP’s handy phpinfo() function to display a concise summary of all of your server’s variables, which may then be referenced for debugging purposes, bragging rights, and so on. While this sort of thing is normally okay, I frequently forget to remove the file and just leave it sitting there for the entire world to look at. This of […] Read more »

Stupid WordPress Tricks

One of the most popular articles here at Perishable Press is my January 2005 post, Stupid htaccess Tricks. In that article, I bring together an extensive collection of awesome copy-&-paste HTAccess code snippets. Four years later, people continue to tell me how much they enjoy and use the content as a bookmarked reference for many of their HTAccess needs. The article was even published in a book on Joomla! Security. This is very inspiring to me, so I have decided to create a similar post for all of the useful WordPress code snippets, tips and tricks that I have collected […] Read more »

Pimp Your 404: Presentation and Functionality

I have been wanting to write about 404 error pages for quite awhile now. They have always been very important to me, with customized error pages playing a integral part of every well-rounded web-design strategy. Rather than try to re-invent the wheel with this, I think I will just go through and discuss some thoughts about 404 error pages, share some useful code snippets, and highlight some suggested resources along the way. In a sense, this post is nothing more than a giant “brain-dump” of all things 404 for future reference. Hopefully you will find it useful in pimping your […] Read more »

Block Multiple IP Addresses with PHP

Let’s face it. There’s just as much scum on the Internet as there is out there in the “real world.” Maybe even more, who knows. From scammers and spammers to scrapers and crackers, the Web is just crawling with all sorts of pathetic scumbags. As predictably random as much of the malicious activity happens to be, it is virtually guaranteed that you will be hounded by at least a few persistent IP addresses that, for whatever reason, have latched on and just won’t let go. Like satanic parasites, they plague you night and day, haunting you and making your online […] Read more »

9 Ways to Set Dynamic Body IDs via PHP and WordPress

When designing sites, it is often useful to identify different pages by adding an ID attribute to the <body></body> element. Commonly, the name of the page is used as the attribute value, for example: <body id=”about”></body> In this case, “about” would be the body ID for the “About” page, which would be named something like “about.php”. Likewise, other pages would have unique IDs as well, for example: <body id=”archive”> </body><body id=”contact”> </body><body id=”subscribe”> </body><body id=”portfolio”></body> ..again, with each ID associated with the name of the page. This identification strategy is useful for a variety of reasons, including the following: Page-specific […] Read more »

WordPress Tip: Valid, SEO-Friendly Email Permalink Buttons

In addition to your choice collection of “Share This” links, you may also want to provide visitors with a link that enables them to quickly and easily send the URL permalink of any post to their friends via email. This is a great way to increase your readership and further your influence. Just copy & paste the following code into the desired location in your page template: <a href=”mailto:?subject=Fresh%20Linkage%20@%20Perishable%20Press&amp;body=Check%20out%20<?php the_permalink(); ?>%20from%20Perishable%20Press” title=”Send a link to this post via email” rel=”nofollow”>Share this post via email</a> Within the code, you will need to edit both instances of the string “Perishable%20Press” to reflect […] Read more »

Better WordPress Archives via Dynamic Triple Column Layout

Here at Perishable Press, the number of posts listed in my archives is rapidly approaching the 700 mark. While this is good news in general, displaying such a large number of posts in an effective, user-friendly fashion continues to prove challenging. Unfortunately, my current strategy of simply dumping all posts into an unordered list just isn’t working. I think it’s fair to say that archive lists containing more than like 50 or 100 post titles are effectively useless and nothing more than a usability nightmare. With growing numbers of blogs building up massive collections of posts, finding better ways to […] Read more »

PHP and JavaScript Fallbacks for Your Public Feedburner Count

With the recent Feedburner service outage, many sites across the Web experienced severe drops in their Feedburner subscriber counts. Apparently, Google is requiring all Feedburner accounts to be transferred over to Google by the end of February. In the midst of this mass migration, chaotic subscriber data has been reported to include everything from dramatic count drops and fluctuating reach statistics to zero-count values and dreaded “N/A” subscriber-count errors. Obviously, displaying erroneous subscriber-count data on your site is not a good thing. Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Over at CSS Newbie, author Rob Glazebrook […] 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 »

PHP Short Open Tag: Convenient Shortcut or Short Changing Security?

Most of us learned how to use “echo()” in one of our very first PHP tutorials. That was certainly the case for me. As a consequence, I never really had a need to visit PHP’s documentation page for echo(). On a recent visit to Perishable Press, I saw a Tumblr post from Jeff about the use of PHP’s shortcut syntax for echo() but somewhere deep in my memory, there lurked a warning about its use. I decided to investigate. Read more »

WordPress Custom Fields, Part II: Tips and Tricks

As we have seen in our previous post, WordPress Custom Fields Part I, custom fields provide an excellent way to add flexible content to your posts and pages. By assigning various types of content to different custom fields, you gain complete control over when, where, and how to display the associated information. For example, sub-headings may be displayed in the sidebar, footnotes may be consolidated into a single region, post images may be displayed before the post title, and so on. In this follow-up article, we will review the basics of custom fields and then jump into a few custom-field […] Read more »

WordPress Custom Fields, Part I: The Basics

I recently developed a theme that makes heavy use of WordPress’ custom fields. The custom-field functionality of WordPress makes it possible to rig up just about any customized layout quickly and easily. Custom fields enable designers to organize post content into different sections, making it possible to create non-linear page layouts, with different types of content easily removed from the normal post loop and relocated to different parts of the document. This organizational and design flexibility has the added benefit of making it super-easy to update your content, redesign your theme, and handle blog maintenance in general. In the first […] Read more »

Perfect WordPress Title Tags Redux

In my previous article on WordPress title tags, How to Generate Perfect WordPress Title Tags without a Plugin, We explore everything needed to create perfect titles for your WordPress-powered site. After discussing the functionality and implementation of various code examples, the article concludes with a “perfect” title-tag script that covers all the bases. Or so I thought.. Some time after the article had been posted, Mat8iou chimed in with a couple of ways to improve thie script by cleaning up tag names and specifying page numbers for archive views. Apparently, by replacing the $tag variable with WordPress’ built-in single_tag_title();, titles […] Read more »

Valid, SEO-Friendly Post Translation Links

Ever wanted to provide automatic language translations of your web pages without installing another plugin? Here is a valid, SEO-friendly technique that takes advantage of Google’s free translation service. All you need is a PHP-enabled server and you’re good to go. Just copy and paste the following code into the desired location in your page template and enjoy the results. Once in place, this code will produce translation links for eight common languages for every page on your site. Grab, gulp and go: Read more »

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