Blacklist Candidate Number 2008-04-27

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.. Since the implementation of my 2G Blacklist, I have enjoyed a significant decrease in the overall number and variety of site attacks. In fact, I had to time-travel back to March 1st just to find a candidate worthy of this month’s blacklist spotlight. I felt like Rod Roddy looking over the Price-is-Right audience to announce the next name only to discover a quiet, empty room. And then like Bob gets pissed that nobody […] Read more »

Drop-Dead Easy Random Images via PHP

Recently, while restoring my collection of Perishable Press themes, I needed a fast, effective way to randomize a series of images. After playing around with several likely candidates, I finally devised the following drop-dead easy technique: <img src=”http://domain.tld/path/random/image_<?php $random = rand(1,n); echo $random; ?/>.png” alt=”[ Random Image ]” height=”50″ width=”50″ /> This single line of code facilitates the random display of n number of images (image_1.png, image_2.png, image_3.png, etc.) located in the target directory (http://domain.tld/path/random/). For those of you that understand how this works, great! That’s pretty much the entire purpose of this article. However, for those that would appreciate […] Read more »

Three Unsolved WordPress Mysteries

After several years of using WordPress, I have at least three unanswered questions: What’s up with the WordPress PHP Memory Error? Why do certain phrases trigger “Forbidden” errors when saving or publishing posts? What happened to the Plugin Pages in the WordPress Codex? Let’s have a look at each one of these baffling mysteries.. Read more »

Content Negotiation for XHTML Documents via PHP and htaccess

In this article, I discuss the different MIME types available for XHTML and explain a method for serving your documents with the optimal MIME type, depending on the capacity of the user agent. Using either htaccess or PHP for content negotiation, we can serve complete, standards-compliant markup for our document’s header information. This is especially helpful when dealing with Internet Explorer while serving a DOCTYPE of XHTML 1.1 along with the recommended XML declaration. According to the RFC standards 1 produced by IETF 2, web documents formatted as XHTML 3 may be served as any of the following three MIME types: Read more »

Custom HTTP Errors via htaccess

We all know how important it is to deliver sensible, helpful 404 error pages to our visitors. There are many ways of achieving this functionality, including the well-known htaccess trick used to locally redirect users to custom error pages: # htaccess custom error pages ErrorDocument 400 /errors/400.html ErrorDocument 401 /errors/401.html ErrorDocument 403 /errors/403.html ErrorDocument 404 /errors/404.html ErrorDocument 500 /errors/500.html ..and so on. These directives basically tell Apache to deliver the designated documents for their associated error types. Many webmasters and developers employ this trick to ensure that visitors receive customized error pages that are generally more user-friendly or design-specific than […] Read more »

WordPress Tip: Careful with that Autosave, Eugene

After upgrading WordPress from version 2.0.5 to 2.3.3, I did some experimenting with the “post autosave” feature. The autosave feature uses some crafty ajax to automagically save your post every 2 minutes (120 seconds by default). Below the post-editing field, you will notice a line of text that displays the time of the most recent autosave, similar to the following: Surely, this relatively new feature provides an added layer of protection against lost work, but all is not perfect (yet) in the world of automatically saved content. Several months ago, I lost several hours of work because the autosave feature […] 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 »

Improve Site Performance by Increasing PHP Memory for WordPress

During the recent ASO server debacle, I raced frantically to restore functionality to Perishable Press. Along the way, one of the many tricks that I tried while trying to fix the dreaded “white screen of death” syndrome involved increasing the amount of PHP memory available to WordPress. This fix worked for me, but may not prove effective on every installation of WordPress. If you are unsure as to whether or not you need to increase your PHP memory, consult with your host concerning current available memory 1 and overall compatibility with a localized increase. Note that if your blog is running […] Read more »

WordPress Error Fix(?): Increase PHP Memory for cache.php

This trick isn’t guaranteed to prevent all WordPress-generated PHP memory errors, but it certainly seems to help reduce their overall occurrence. For some reason, after my host upgraded their servers to Apache 1.3.41, I began logging an extremely high number of fatal PHP “memory exhausted” errors resulting from the WordPress cache.php script. Here is an example of the countless errors that are generated: 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 »

Optimizing Google Analytics Performance

It has occurred to me lately that I no longer use Google Analytics for Perishable Press. Instead, I find myself keeping an eye on things using Mint almost exclusively. So, the question now is: do I continue serving the GA JavaScript to keep the profile active just in case I ever need the additional stats? I mean, Mint already does a great job at recording all of information I could ever need, so I no longer see the use for Google Analytics. I do wonder, however, if Google ranks GA-enabled sites a bit higher than non-GA sites. Hmmm.. it seems […] Read more »

Advanced PHP Error Handling via PHP

In my previous articles on PHP error handling, I explain the process whereby PHP error handling may be achieved using htaccess. Handling (logging, reporting) PHP errors via htaccess requires the following: Access/editing privileges for htaccess files A server running PHP via Apache, not CGI (e.g., phpSuExec) 1 Ability to edit/change permissions for files on your server If you are having trouble handling PHP errors using htaccess, these three items are the first things to check. If it turns out that you are unable to use htaccess to work with PHP errors, don’t despair — this article explains how to achieve the […] Read more »

Advanced PHP Error Handling via htaccess

In my previous article on logging PHP errors, How to Enable PHP Error Logging via htaccess, we observed three fundamental aspects of preventing, preserving, and protecting your site’s PHP errors: Prevent public display of PHP errors via htaccess # supress php errors php_flag display_startup_errors off php_flag display_errors off php_flag html_errors off php_value docref_root 0 php_value docref_ext 0 Preserve (log) your site’s PHP errors via htaccess # enable PHP error logging php_flag log_errors on php_value error_log /home/path/public_html/domain/PHP_errors.log Protect your site’s PHP error log via htaccess # prevent access to PHP error log <files PHP_errors.log> Order allow,deny Deny from all Satisfy All […] 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 »

Optimize WordPress: Pure Code Alternatives for 7 Unnecessary Plugins

In this article, my goal is to help you optimize WordPress by replacing a few common plugins with their correspondingly effective code equivalents. As we all know, WordPress can be a very resource-hungry piece of software, especially when running a million extraneous plugins. Often, many common plugins are designed to perform relatively simple tasks, such as redirect a feed, display a random image, or return a database value. For those of us comfortable with editing PHP and htaccess code, there is no need to bloat WordPress with additional plugins for the sake of a few routine tasks. For each of […] Read more »

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