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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Perishable Press 3G Blacklist

[ 3G Stormtroopers ]

After much research and discussion, I have developed 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. Over time, these mega-lists 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 by […] Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 5: Improving Site Security by Selectively Blocking Individual IPs

[ 3G Stormtroopers (Red Version) ]

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. Wrapping up the series with this article, I provide the final key to our comprehensive blacklist strategy: selectively blocking individual IPs. Previous articles also focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. In the next article, these five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 4: Improving RedirectMatch in the Original 2G Blacklist

[ 3G Stormtroopers (Team Aqua) ]

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this fourth article, I build upon previous ideas and techniques by improving the directives contained in the original 2G Blacklist. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 3: Improving Security by Blocking Rogue User Agents

[ 3G Stormtroopers (Deep Purple) ]

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this third article, I discuss targeted, user-agent blacklisting and present an alternate approach to preventing site access for the most prevalent and malicious user agents. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G […] Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 2: Improving Security by Preventing Query-String Exploits

[ 3G Stormtroopers (Green Machine) ]

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this second article, I present an incredibly powerful method for eliminating malicious query string exploits. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving Security by Preventing Query String Exploits A vast […] Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 1: Improving Security by Exploiting Server Attack Patterns

[ 3G Stormtroopers (Blue Dream) ]

In this series of five articles, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this first article of the series, I examine the process of identifying attack trends and using them to immunize against future attacks. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving […] Continue reading »

Content Negotiation for XHTML Documents via PHP and htaccess

[ Content Negotiation ]

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 standards1 produced […] Continue reading »

XHMTL/CSS Remix: Creative Commons License

[ Screenshot: Creative Commons Deed - Remixed ]

Not too long ago, I played with the idea of releasing article content under a Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0) License. At the time, I wanted to host my own copies of the two associated CC license pages. During the process of uploading the pages to my own server, several minor adjustments (regarding image paths, etc.) needed to be made to the source code. After tweaking a few things in the XHTML code, I began snooping around in the pages’ CSS […] Continue reading »

Perishable News: Site Upgrades, Upcoming Interview, and PageRank Update

[ Photo: Perishable ]

Ever since writing that last review article, I have been feeling the need to cut loose, relax, and blog about something a little more “down-to-earth,” like recent things that have been happening around here. If you are new to Perishable Press, rest assured that I try to keep these “site/personal news” update posts down to a minimum. Whenever possible, I save up a bunch of interesting off-topic things that I want to talk about, and then cram them all together […] Continue reading »

Minimalist Web Design Showcase: ShaunInman.com

[ Screenshot: Shaun Inman's si10 Design for ShaunInman.com ]

“Exploring Minimalist Thought and Expression in Contemporary Web Design” Welcome to our ongoing series of articles exploring minimalism in modern web (and graphic) design. With this post, we continue our exploration of the Web’s most inspiring and intriguing minimalist presentations. Staying true to the spirit of minimalism, each showcase will be kept as clear and concise as possible, focusing on tangible and practical aspects of each featured site. We will discuss aesthetics and functionality on both sides of the browser, […] Continue reading »

2G Blacklist: Closing the Door on Malicious Attacks

[ 2G Blacklist ]

Since posting the Ultimate htaccess Blacklist and then the Ultimate htaccess Blacklist 2, I find myself dealing with a new breed of malicious attacks. It is no longer useful to simply block nefarious user agents because they are frequently faked. Likewise, blocking individual IP addresses is generally a waste of time because the attacks are coming from a decentralized network of zombie machines. Watching my error and access logs very closely, I have observed the following trends in current attacks: Continue reading »

Over 150 of the Worst Spammers, Scrapers and Crackers from 2007

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 »

Lessons Learned Concerning the Clearfix CSS Hack

I use the CSS clearfix hack on nearly all of my sites. The clearfix hack — also known as the “Easy Clearing Hack” — is used to clear floated divisions (divs) without using structural markup. It is very effective in resolving layout issues and browser inconsistencies without the need to mix structure with presentation. Over the course of the past few years, I have taken note of several useful bits of information regarding the Easy Clear Method. In this article, […] Continue reading »

Minimalist Web Design Showcase: Equivocality

[ Screenshot: Jeff Ngan's Equivocality ]

Exploring minimalist thought and expression in contemporary design Welcome to a new series of articles exploring minimalism in modern web (and graphic) design. With this post, we begin our exploration of the Web’s most inspiring and intriguing minimalist presentations. Staying true to the spirit of minimalism, each showcase will be kept as clear and concise as possible, focusing on tangible and practical aspects of each featured site. We will discuss aesthetics and functionality on both sides of the browser, examining […] Continue reading »

Important Note for Your Custom Error Pages

Just a note to web designers and code-savvy bloggers: make sure your custom error pages are big enough for the ever-amazing <cough> Internet Explorer browser. If your custom error pages are too small, IE will take the liberty of serving its own proprietary web page, replete with corporate linkage and poor grammar. How big, baby? Well, that’s a good question. In order for users of Internet Explorer to enjoy your carefully crafted custom error pages, they need to exceed 512 […] Continue reading »

Coldskins: Custom CSS Skins for Contact Coldform

[ Contact Coldform ]

With the recent release of my latest WordPress plugin, Contact Coldform, I am also creating a series of free, “drop-in” CSS skins for easy, “plug-n-play” customization. These skins employ valid, optimized CSS code designed for the following browsers: 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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