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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

CSS Hacks for Different Versions of Firefox

[ Firefox ]

In a perfect world, I don’t use CSS hacks, and certainly don’t recommend them. In the unpredictable, chaos of the real world, however, there are many situations where applying styles to particular browsers is indeed the optimal solution. Most of the time, I am targeting or filtering Internet Explorer (because it is so incredibly awesome), but occasionally I need to tweak something in a modern browser like Firefox, Safari, or Opera. In this article, we’ll look at CSS hacks targeting […] Continue reading »

Best Practices for Error Monitoring

Given my propensity to discuss matters involving error log data (e.g., monitoring malicious behavior, setting up error logs, and creating extensive blacklists), I am often asked about the best way to go about monitoring 404 and other types of server errors. While I consider myself to be a novice in this arena (there are far brighter people with much greater experience), I do spend a lot of time digging through log entries and analyzing data. So, when asked recently about […] Continue reading »

4G Series: The Ultimate Referrer Blacklist, Featuring Over 8000 Banned Referrers

You have seen user-agent blacklists, IP blacklists, 4G Blacklists, and everything in between. Now, in this article, for your sheer and utter amusement, I present a collection of over 8000 blacklisted referrers. Shortcut: skip the article and jump to Disclaimer and Download » Referrer Spam Sucks For the uninitiated, in teh language of teh Web, a referrer is the online resource from whence a visitor happened to arrive at your site. For example, if Johnny the Wonder Parrot was visiting the […] Continue reading »

4G Series: The Ultimate User-Agent Blacklist, Featuring Over 1200 Bad Bots

[ Image: Inverted Eclipse ]

As discussed in my recent article, Eight Ways to Blacklist with Apache’s mod_rewrite, one method of stopping spammers, scrapers, email harvesters, and malicious bots is to blacklist their associated user agents. Apache enables us to target bad user agents by testing the user-agent string against a predefined blacklist of unwanted visitors. Any bot identifying itself as one of the blacklisted agents is immediately and quietly denied access. While this certainly isn’t the most effective method of securing your site against […] Continue reading »

The Perishable Press 4G Blacklist

[ 4G Stormtrooper ]

At last! After many months of collecting data, crafting directives, and testing results, I am thrilled to announce the release of the 4G Blacklist! The 4G Blacklist is a next-generation protective firewall that secures your site against a wide range of automated attacks and other malicious activity. Continue reading »

Yahoo! Slurp too Stupid to be a Robot

I really hate bad robots. When a web crawler, spider, bot — or whatever you want to call it — behaves in a way that is contrary to expected and/or accepted protocols, we say that the bot is acting suspiciously, behaving badly, or just acting stupid in general. Unfortunately, there are thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of nefarious bots violating our sites every minute of the day. For the most part, there are effective methods available enabling […] Continue reading »

Building the Perishable Press 4G Blacklist

[ Building the Hoover Dam, Part 1 ]

Last year, after much research and discussion, I built a concise, lightweight security strategy for Apache-powered websites. Prior to the development of this strategy, I relied on several extensive blacklists to protect my sites against malicious user agents and IP addresses. Unfortunately, these mega-lists eventually became unmanageable and ineffective. As increasing numbers of attacks hit my server, I began developing new techniques for defending against external threats. This work soon culminated in the release of a “next-generation” blacklist that works […] Continue reading »

Better WordPress Archives via Dynamic Triple Column Layout

[ Screenshot: Triple Archive Columns ]

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 […] Continue reading »

The Halving Method

Working a great deal with blacklists, I am frequently trying to isolate and identify problematic code. For example, a blacklist implementation may suddenly prevent a certain type of page from loading. In order to resolve the issue, the blacklist is immediately removed and tested for the offending directive(s). This situation is common to other coding languages as well, especially when dealing with CSS. Identifying problem code is more of an art form than a science, but fortunately, there are a […] Continue reading »

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, […] Continue reading »

Custom OpenSearch for Your Website

I recently added OpenSearch functionality to Perishable Press. Now, OpenSearch-enabled browsers such as Firefox and IE 7 alert users with the option to customize their browser’s built-in search feature with an exclusive OpenSearch-powered search option for Perishable Press. The autodiscovery feature of supportive browsers detects the custom search protocol and enables users to easily add it to their collection of readily available site-specific search options. Now, users may search the entire Perishable Press domain with the click of a button. […] Continue reading »

Perfect Rounded Corners with CSS

A great way to enhance the visual appearance of various block-level elements is to use a “rounded-corner” effect. For example, throughout the current design for this site, I am using rounded corners on several different types of elements, including image borders, content panels, and even pre-formatted code blocks. Some of these rounded-corner effects are accomplished via multiple <div></div>s and a few background images, while others are created strictly with CSS. Of these two different methods, extra images and markup are […] Continue reading »

Yahoo! Lies about Obeying Robots.txt Directives

There are two possibilities here: Yahoo!’s Slurp crawler is broken or Yahoo! lies about obeying Robots directives. Either case isn’t good. Slurp just can’t seem to keep its nose out of my private business. And, as I’ve discussed before, this happens all the time. Here are the two most recent offenses, as recorded in the log file for my blackhole spider trap: Continue reading »

IE6 Support Spectrum

IE6 Support Spectrum

I know, I know, not another post about IE6! I actually typed this up a couple of weeks ago while immersed in my site redesign project. I had recently decided that I would no longer support that terrible browser, and this tangential post just kind of “fell out.” I wasn’t sure whether or not to post it, but I recently decided to purge my draft stash by posting everything for your reading pleasure. Thus, you may see a few turds […] Continue reading »

How to Deal with IE 6 after Dropping Support

As announced at IE Death March, I recently dropped support for Internet Explorer 6. As newer versions of Firefox, Opera, and Safari (and others) continue to improve consistency and provide better support for standards-based techniques, having to carry IE 6 along for the ride — for any reason — is painful. Thanks to the techniques described in this article, I am free to completely ignore (figuratively and literally) IE 6 when developing and designing websites. Continue reading »

Blacklist Candidate Series Summary

An ongoing series of articles on the fine art of malicious exploit detection and prevention. Learn about preventing the sneaky mischievous and deceptive practices of some of the worst spammers, scrapers, crackers, and other scumbags on the Internet. 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 »
Digging Into WordPress: Take your WordPress skills to the next level.
Thoughts
LinkedIn decided to replace my popular video course on WordPress security. For a limited time the course is available to *logged-in* users via direct URL.
I enjoy listening to original Star Trek and NG episodes while working online. After a while it feels like I’m working on the ship as part of the crew, going on adventures.
New version (2.6) of my shapeSpace starter theme now available! Always free & open source for everyone :)
Finished updating all of my books! As always, book owners can download the latest versions for FREE :)
W3C.org has a very thorough list of accessibility tools.
The more you wake up, the more you realize you are still asleep.
7G Firewall v1.4 now available!
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