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Web Dev + WordPress + Security
138 posts related to: Tools to check your site’s health

Redesign #25: Performance Over Perfection

[ Previous site design: the X theme ]

Welcome to the 2020 (25th!) redesign for Perishable Press. Like many of the previous designs, the new design is super minimal and organic. The #1 goal this time around was to find an optimal balance between performance and aesthetics. Or put another way.. Continue reading »

Metamorphosis

[ Perishable Theme (from 2008) ]

After 9 grueling weeks, I am happy to say that the 2018 Perishable Press redesign is complete. There are still a few small details that I am contemplating, but overall the work is finished and the site is back to full production capacity. From the old Wire theme rolled out in 2013 (five years ago!), to the minimalist, lightweight X Theme, Perishable Press has metamorphosed into a lean, mean, content sharing machine. This is the 24th time Perishable Press has […] Continue reading »

New WordPress Security Plugin: Host Header Injection Fix

[ HHIF (Host Header Injection Fix) ]

Since version 2.3, WordPress has been vulnerable to a Host Header Injection attack in certain server environments. Over the years, there has been some discussion about fixing the vulnerability, but as of WP 4.9 (beta) nothing has been implemented. So to help those in the WP community who may be concerned (including myself), I developed a new security plugin that fixes the issue: Host Header Injection Fix (HHIF). Continue reading »

Blackhole for Bad Bots – Quick Start

[ Black Hole (Figurative) ]

Welcome to the Quick Start Guide for the standalone PHP version of Blackhole for Bad Bots. This post basically is a condensed summary of the original Blackhole tutorial. So if you are new to the concept of blocking bad bots, check out the original tutorial. Otherwise, for those that are familiar, the following guide should simplify things and help you get started with Blackhole as quickly as possible. Continue reading »

How to use the HTML <base> tag

[ How to use the base tag ]

When every byte counts, you can use the HTML <base /> tag to specify a default href and target attribute for all relative URLs on the page. Like a virtual shortcut. For smaller sites with a flat directory structure, this isn’t going to help much; but for sites with deeply nested directories, the <base /> tag can potentially shave a lot of extra weight from your web pages, and also help keep URLs cleaner and shorter. So if you’re micro-optimizing […] Continue reading »

Email Troubleshooting Guide

[ Email Troubleshooting Guide ]

I often say that email is the “glue” that holds the Internet together. But it’s like the worst possible glue ever. It’s underlying technology is convoluted, complicated, insecure, tedious, sloppy, and archaic. In a nutshell: email sucks but it’s pretty much essential for working online. So what do you do if email is not working, like when you send an email but it never arrives? It can be very frustrating and difficult to figure out what went wrong. To help […] Continue reading »

.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 […] Continue reading »

WordPress Performance Issue Revisited

[ Google Webmaster Tools: WP-Mix.com ]

Following up on my recent performance report with essentially some conclusive results. Turns out that the reported issue is related more directly to the version of PHP than to the version of WordPress. So in other words, WordPress runs a bit faster on newer versions of PHP. As explained previously, after I upgraded my sites to WordPress 4.4, Googlebot reported slightly longer load times for my pages. The slower loading average was seen across numerous sites, and it looked like […] Continue reading »

WordPress Performance Issue?

[ Google Webmaster Tools: WP-Mix.com ]

Just wanted to share a mysterious trend reported for my sites by Google Webmaster Tools, and ask if anyone else is seeing the same pattern. It looks like it’s related to the WordPress 4.4 update, but I’m not 100% sure, so putting the data out there in hopes that others can help shed some light on the issue.. Continue reading »

xy.css moved to Perishable Press

[ xyCSS ]

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, xy.css, to its new home here at Perishable Press. Continue reading »

2013 User Agent Blacklist

[ 2013 User Agent Blacklist ]

The 2013 User Agent Blacklist blocks hundreds of the worst bots while ensuring open-access for normal traffic, major search engines (Google, Bing, et al), good browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, et al), and everyone else. Compared to blocking threats by IP, blocking by user-agent is more effective as a general security strategy. Although it’s trivial to spoof any user agent, many bad requests continue to report user-agent strings that are known to be associated with malicious activity. For example, the notorious […] Continue reading »

WP-Mix – A fresh mix of code snippets and tutorials

[ WP-Mix ]

Wrapping up 2012, I finally launched xyCSS, which is all about responsive, grid-based design. To showcase xy.css, I used it to design WP-Mix.com, which also serves to house a growing collection of choice code snippets. Currently WP-Mix features over 100 snippets, tutorials, and other useful bits to help with WordPress development and web design in general. The topics are similar to those at Perishable Press (e.g., WordPress, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, etc.), but the posts are less-involved and aimed at intermediate […] Continue reading »

xy.css – Responsive Grid Design

[ xy.css - Homepage ]

For the past year or so, I’ve been heavy into responsive, grid-based design. In December, I “soft-launched” my new site, xyCSS with a simple tweet: Bringing it all together: https://perishablepress.com/xycss/ As implied (and explained), xy.css is a lightweight CSS template for creating semantic HTML5 designs on a responsive liquid matrix. Continue reading »

Prevent Duplicate Content in cPanel

[ cPanel Addon-Domain Fix ]

In this guest-post, Jon Brown shares a solution to the age-old problem of preventing duplicate content from addon-domains in cPanel. Jon explains the issue and shares his methodology in crafting an elegant solution applied via .htaccess. If you’re using cPanel and want to improve your SEO, this will help. Here is the table of contents: Continue reading »

PayPal Phishing Spam

[ PayPal Phishing Spam Email ]

Just a heads up to anyone else getting the occasional PayPal phishing spam.. Usually it’s pretty easy to spot one of those crafty phishing emails, just hover over any links before clicking to view the real URL in the status bar. You know, the link says something like, “click here to restore your PayPal account,” but you know that’s garbage and could easily prove it by checking the actual link URL, which is usually something completely bonkers, like: Continue reading »

Canonical URLs and Subdomains with Plesk

I am in the process of migrating my sites from A Small Orange to Media Temple. Part of that process involves canonicalizing domain URLs to help maximize SEO strategy. At ASO, URL canonicalization required just a few htaccess directives: # enforce no www prefix <ifmodule mod_rewrite.c> RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^domain\.tld$ [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://domain.tld/$1 [R=301,L] </ifmodule> When placed in the web-accessible root directory’s htaccess file, that snippet will ensure that all requests for your site are not prefixed with www. There’s […] Continue reading »

Welcome
Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
.htaccess made easy: Improve site performance and security.
Thoughts
Playing the long game.
They have weaponized the idiots.
Good software never steals focus from the user. Even during startup.
After 10 years running my own business, I still manage schedules and tasks using old school post-it notes, sometimes simple sometimes very elaborate.
You know those sites, where you're trying to just grab a quick bit of information but the page is shifting all over the place as it loads up 3 million advertisements.
Selling two of my top WordPress domains, wp-zen.com & zen-wp.com $300 for both. Aged 9 years. Drop a line if interested.
Never force your users to type out a password (or any long string of characters) by blocking the paste function. Typing long strings leads to MORE errors than simple copy/paste.