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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Building the 5G Blacklist

[ Common Server Responses ]

Protecting your website is more important than ever. There are a million ways to do it, and this is one of them. In fact, it’s what I use to protect Perishable Press and other key sites. It’s called the 5G Blacklist, and it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. The idea is simple enough: analyze bad requests and block them using a firewall/blacklist via .htaccess. Now in its 5th generation, the 5G Blacklist has evolved into a […] Continue reading »

Huge Collection of Code Snippets: HTAccess, PHP, WordPress, jQuery, HTML, CSS

[ WP Cron HTTP Auth ]

Please excuse this self-serving, miscellaneous post, but I’ve just got to purge all of these code snippets and scraps collected over the years. Whenever I update this site, I place any removed/unused code snippets into a giant note file for future reference, just in case. There’s all sorts of different types of code and snippets that just keep growing and growing and.. and finally it gets to a point where I just need to dump everything and start fresh. Welcome […] Continue reading »

Block Tough Proxies

If you want to block tough proxies like hidemyass.com, my previously posted .htaccess methods won’t work. Those methods will block quite a bit of proxy visits to your site, but won’t work on the stealthier proxies. Fortunately, we can use a bit of PHP to keep them out. Continue reading »

Ajax-Powered Error Logs

[ Ajax Error Log - File Structure ]

As an obsessive website administrator, I like to keep a keen eye on my error logs. Once a week, I download my PHP, 404, and other error logs, and analyze them as closely as time allows. Monitoring site errors and other traffic patterns leads to many of the security-related articles I post here at Perishable Press, including resources such as the 5G Blacklist, Ultimate HTAccess Blacklist, and the Blacklist Candidate Series. Easily, one of the best ways to protect your […] Continue reading »

Humans.txt

[ Screenshot: Tweets about humanstxt.org ]

One thing I love about Twitter is the instant feedback. For the past few weeks I’ve been seeing lots of 404 requests like this: https://perishablepress.com/humans.txt https://perishablepress.com/humans.txt https://perishablepress.com/humans.txt At first I thought it was some skript kiddie getting creative, you know as a play on the robots.txt file, which is also located in the root of many websites. So it seemed interesting enough to tweet about: Continue reading »

10 Characters for Your WordPress Blacklist

[ Screenshot: Comment Spam in Moderation ]

Quick WordPress tip for easily and quietly blocking a ton of comment spam. Akismet and other programs are good at catching most spam, but every now and then a bunch of weird, foreign-language spam will sneak past the filters and post live to your site. Here’s a good example of the kind of stuff that’s easy to block: Continue reading »

Ajax RSS Feeds with More Sidebar

After implementing Chris Coyier’s More Sidebar technique here at Perishable Press, I needed a good source of “filler” content for the “more” blocks. After experimenting with multiple loops and template tags, the idea of sliding in RSS feeds seemed like a better solution. Replacing some empty space with great content is a win-win for everyone. For example, I display a few of my recent tweets in the sidebar to help fill a lil’ space. It’s a great way to share […] Continue reading »

Display Latest Tweet with Show/Hide Cookies

[ Twitter Bird ]

My previous theme displays my latest tweet at the top of every page. It turned out to be an excellent technique for getting more followers – visitors see the tweet, click the link, and possibly follow me on Twitter. There is even a cookie-powered “Hide” link for uninterested visitors to hide the tweet for awhile. I received quite a few requests for a tutorial on the technique, so here is how to display your latest tweet with show/hide cookies. For […] Continue reading »

5G Firewall Beta

[ 5G (beta) ]

Updating the 4G Blacklist, the new 5G Firewall is now open for beta testing. The new code is better than ever, providing wider protection with less code and fewer false positives. I’ve had much success with this new firewall, but more testing is needed to ensure maximum compatibility and minimal issues. Continue reading »

What a Malicious Server Scan Looks Like

Like most sites on the Web, Perishable Press is scanned constantly by malicious scripts looking for vulnerabilities and exploit opportunities. There is no end to the type and variety of malicious URL requests. It all depends on the script, the target, and the goal of the attack. Malicious scripts generally seek one of two things: 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 »

Latest Blacklist Entries

Recently cleared several megabytes of log files, detecting patterns, recording anomalies, and blacklisting gross offenders. Gonna break it down into three sections: User Agents Character Strings IP Addresses User Agents User-agents come and go, and are easily spoofed, but it’s worth a few lines of htaccess to block the more persistent bots that repeatedly scan your site with malicious requests. # Nov 2010 User Agents SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "MaMa " keep_out SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "choppy" keep_out SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "heritrix" keep_out SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent […] Continue reading »

How to Deal with Content Scrapers

Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks recently declared that people should do “nothing” in response to other sites scraping their content. I totally get what Chris is saying here. He is basically saying that the original source of content is better than scrapers because: it’s on a domain with more trust. you published that article first. it’s coded better for SEO than theirs. it’s better designed than theirs. it isn’t at risk for serious penalization from search engines. If these things are […] Continue reading »

2010 User-Agent Blacklist

[ 2010 User-Agent Blacklist ]

The 2010 User-Agent Blacklist blocks hundreds of bad bots while ensuring open-access for the major search engines: Google, Bing, Ask, Yahoo, et al. Blocking bad user-agents is an effective addition to any security strategy. It works like this: your site is getting hammered by rogue bots that waste valuable server resources and bandwidth. So you grab a copy of the 2010 UA Blacklist from Perishable Press, include it in your site’s root .htaccess file, and enjoy better security and performance. […] Continue reading »

Protect Your Site with a Blackhole for Bad Bots

[ Black Hole (Vector) ]

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 […] Continue reading »

2010 IP Blacklist

Over the course of each year, I blacklist a considerable number of individual IP addresses. Every day, Perishable Press is hit with countless numbers of spammers, scrapers, crackers and all sorts of other hapless turds. Weekly examinations of my site’s error logs enable me to filter through the chaff and cherry-pick only the most heinous, nefarious attackers for blacklisting. Minor offenses are generally dismissed, but the evil bastards that insist on wasting resources running redundant automated scripts are immediately investigated […] 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 »
WP Themes In Depth: Build and sell awesome WordPress themes.
Thoughts
Making great strides on my new book. Planned release in December :)
To organize my life, I keep it simple. online: plain text files, offline: sticky notes.
Official list of Googlebot IP addresses.
Lot of 1s in today’s date 20211111.
Working on a new book :)
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 :)
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