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Web Design
Category Archive

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Whitelist & Blacklist Plugins for BBQ

BBQ (Block Bad Queries) is a simple script that protects your website against malicious URL requests. BBQ checks all incoming traffic and quietly blocks bad requests containing nasty stuff like eval( and base64_. The plugin is ultra minimal, so there are no options to configure which strings are blocked or allowed — it’s basically a “set-it-and-forget-it” type plugin. To give the plugin more flexibility, here are two plugins that enable you to whitelist or blacklist your own custom strings. Read more »

Clever Popup Ad? No Thanks.

So these days, I’m seeing more “clever” popups when visiting various websites. For example, do a search, see a result, click to visit.. and then before any content is shown, I’m hit with some annoying popup ad for whatever thing the site is trying to push. Read more »

CSS Dropdown Menu in WordPress

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to build a pure CSS drop down menu in WordPress. I will walk you through the steps of creating a menu in WordPress, customizing it with CSS, and then printing the menu in your theme file. This tutorial requires that you have access to edit your WordPress theme files and also a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. I will walk through the process step-by-step so don’t worry if you have never edited a wordpress theme file before. Read more »

Protect Against Malicious POST Requests

Whether you like it or not, there are scripts and bots out there hammering away at your sites with endless HTTP “POST” requests. POST requests are sort of the opposite of GET requests. Instead of getting some resource or file from the server, data is being posted or sent to it. To illustrate, normal surfing around the Web involves your browser making series of GET requests for all the resources required for each web page. HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, et al. But whenever you leave a comment, tweet something, or share on Facebook, the browser is sending your content, along […] Read more »

Protect Against Humans.txt Query-String Scans

I woke up this morning to the sound of thousands of 404 requests hitting the server. It’s sad that there are kiddies out there who have nothing better to do than buy some pathetic $50 script and then sit there like an imbecile harassing people for hours on end. But alas, that is the world we live in — fortunately it’s less than trivial to block the entire scan with just a few lines of good old .htaccess. Read more »

Testing HTTP Requests

Just a quick post with some tips for troubleshooting and testing HTTP requests. For example, if you have a plugin that sends requests behind the scenes via Ajax or cURL or whatever, it’s nice to have a way to view request details such as headers, the response, and everything in between. This article is aimed primarily at WordPress users, but contains more general tips and tricks as well. Read more »

2014 Micro Blacklist

Over the past several months, I’ve assembled a “micro” blacklist to keep some recent threats at bay. Eventually, this will be integrated into the next nG Blacklist, but for now I just wanted to post and share with anyone else who is actively monitoring their server logs and aware of the recent spike in malicious activity. Read more »

jQuery Accordion Menu Tutorial

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to build a jQuery accordion menu from scratch. Most of the time it is possible to create very functional website navigations with just CSS, but this time we are going to need a little jQuery magic to accomplish the accordion functionality. For this tutorial I am going to assume that you have some experience with HTML and CSS. I will go over all the code, but the main focus of this tutorial we be on jQuery stuff. You may download the demo files at the end of the article. Read more »

Latest Tweets WordPress plugin to enable WP's built-in database tools (for table optimization & repair of InnoDB, MyISAM, et al):…