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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Ultimate .htaccess Blacklist 2: Compressed Version

[ Image: Lunar Eclipse ]

In our original htaccess blacklist article, we provide an extensive list of bad user agents. This so-called “Ultimate htaccess Blacklist” works great at blocking many different online villains: spammers, scammers, scrapers, scrappers, rippers, leechers — you name it. Yet, despite its usefulness, there is always room for improvement. Continue reading »

How to Verify the Four Major Search Engines

Keeping track of your access and error logs is a critical component of any serious security strategy. Many times, you will see a recorded entry that looks legitimate, such that it may easily be dismissed as genuine Google fare, only to discover upon closer investigation a fraudulent agent. There are many such cloaked or disguised agents crawling around these days, mimicking various search engines to hide beneath the radar. So it’s always a good idea to implement a procedure for […] Continue reading »

htaccess Combo Pack: WordPress Permalinks and non-www Redirect

WordPress users employing permalinks via htaccess to optimize their dynamic URLs transform complicated-looking links such as: http://example.com/blog/index.php?page=33 ..into search-engine friendly links such as: http://example.com/blog/post-title/ Every rewritten URL relies on a common set of htaccess rules to transform the links. The htaccess rules for all WordPress permalinks look like this for root WP installations: # BEGIN WordPress <ifmodule mod_rewrite.c> RewriteEngine On RewriteBase / RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d RewriteRule . /index.php [L] </ifmodule> # END WordPress ..and like this for […] Continue reading »

Eliminate 404 Errors for PHP Functions

Recently, I discussed the suspicious behavior recently observed by the Yahoo! Slurp crawler. As revealed by the site’s closely watched 404-error logs, Yahoo! had been requesting a series of nonexistent resources. Although a majority of the 404 errors were exclusive to the Slurp crawler, there were several instances of requests that were also coming from Google, Live, and even Ask. Initially, these distinct errors were misdiagnosed as existing URLs appended with various JavaScript functions. Here are a few typical examples […] Continue reading »

Temporary Site Redirect for Visitors during Site Updates

[ Image: Abstract Mathematical Diagram ]

In our article Stupid htaccess Tricks, we present the htaccess code required for redirecting visitors temporarily during periods of site maintenance. Although the article provides everything needed to implement the temporary redirect, I think readers would benefit from a more thorough examination of the process — nothing too serious, just enough to get it right. After discussing temporary redirects via htaccess, I’ll also explain how to accomplish the same thing using only a small slice of PHP. It’s like two […] Continue reading »

Permanently Redirect a Specific IP Request for a Single Page via htaccess

Not the most interesting title, but “oh well”.. Recently, a reader named Alison left a comment requesting help with a particular htaccess trick. She wanted to know how to permanently redirect (301) all requests for a specific page when requested from a specific IP address. In other words, when a visitor coming from 123.456.789 requests the page requested-page.html, the visitor will be redirected to just-for-you.html. All visitors not coming from that specific IP address are not redirected, and thus will […] Continue reading »

How to Block IP Addresses with PHP

[ Image: Skeletor Blocks a Move ]

Figuratively speaking, hunting down and killing spammers, scrapers, and other online scum remains one of our favorite pursuits. Once we have determined that a particular IP address is worthy of banishment, we generally invoke the magical powers of htaccess to lock the gates. When htaccess is not available, we may summon the versatile functionality of PHP to get the job done. This method is straightforward. Simply edit, copy and paste the following code example into the top of any PHP […] Continue reading »

Ultimate htaccess Blacklist

[ Image: Solar Eclipse ]

For those of us running Apache, htaccess rewrite rules provide an excellent way to block spammers, scrapers, and other scumbags easily and effectively. While there are many htaccess tricks involving blocking domains, preventing access, and redirecting traffic, Apache’s mod_rewrite module enables us to target bad agents by testing the user-agent string against a predefined blacklist of unwanted visitors. Any matches are immediately and quietly denied access. Continue reading »

Compressed JavaScript Compression

In this article, we extrapolate our favorite CSS-compression technique for JavaScript. Below, we outline the steps required to auto-compress your JavaScript documents via gzip and PHP. Two different compression methods are presented. The first method does not require htaccess, but rather involves the manual editing of JavaScript files. The second method employs htaccess to do all the work for you, thus requiring much less effort to implement. In either case, the result is the same: automatically compressed content delivered only […] Continue reading »

Fast, Effective PHP Compression

PHP compression is an excellent method of conserving bandwidth and reducing client download times. We have already discussed an excellent method for CSS compression, and in this article we share a super-easy technique for compressing all PHP content without editing a single file. Continue reading »

Invite Only: Traffic Control via Whitelist

Web developers trying to control comment-spam, bandwidth-theft, and content-scraping must choose between two fundamentally different approaches: selectively deny target offenders (the “blacklist” method) or selectively allow desirable agents (the “opt-in”, or “whitelist” method). Currently popular according to various online forums and discussion boards is the blacklist method. The blacklist method requires the webmaster to create and maintain a working list of undesirable agents, usually blocking their access via htaccess or php. The downside of blacklisting is that it requires considerable […] Continue reading »

Riding the Wave

del.icio.us

Compared to some of the big players out there on the internet, we here at Perishable Press run a relatively small website. We began this project in September of 2005 with nothing but a domain name and a pocketful of inspiration. During the first several months of development, our traffic statistics looked something like: one unique visitor and 10,000 hits (i.e., nobody but us). And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, everything changed.. Continue reading »

Disobedient Robots and Company

In our never-ending battle against spammers, leeches, scrapers, and other online undesirables, we have implemented several powerful security measures to improve the operational integrity of our perpetual virtual existence. Here is a rundown of the new behind-the-scenes security features of Perishable Press. Continue reading »

Roll your own Apache Rewrite Log

Roll your own Apache Rewrite log! Rocking your own rewrite log is super-helpful for testing .htaccess rewrite rules, WordPress Permalinks, and much more. All you need is Apache 2.2 (or previous), mod_rewrite enabled (very common on most servers), and access to your server configuration file, http.conf. Continue reading »

Block Spam by Denying Access to No-Referrer Requests

What we have here is an excellent method for preventing a great deal of blog spam. With a few strategic lines placed in your .htaccess file, you can prevent spambots from dropping spam bombs by denying access to all requests that do not originate from your domain. Continue reading »

Stop Bitacle from Stealing Content

[ Stop bitacle.org ]

If you have yet to encounter the content-scraping site, bitacle.org, consider yourself lucky. The scum-sucking worm-holes at bitacle.org are well-known for literally, blatantly, and piggishly stealing blog content and using it for financial gains through advertising. While I am not here to discuss the legal, philosophical, or technical ramifications of illegal bitacle behavior, I am here to provide a few critical tools that will help stop bitacle from stealing your content. 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 »
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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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