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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Advanced PHP Error Handling via htaccess

In my previous article on logging PHP errors, How to Enable PHP Error Logging via htaccess, we observed three fundamental aspects of preventing, preserving, and protecting your site’s PHP errors. Continue reading »

Blacklist Candidate Number 2008-01-02

[ Photo: Bob Barker Pointing ]

Welcome to the Perishable Press “Blacklist Candidate” series! In this first post, we begin a new tradition of exposing, humiliating and banishing spammers, crackers and other worthless scumbags.. Every Wednesday, I take a little time to investigate my 404 error logs. In addition to spam, crack attacks, and other deliberate mischief, the 404 logs for Perishable Press contain errors due to missing resources, mistyped URLs, and the occasional bizarre or even suspicious behavior of the search-engine robots. Whenever possible, I […] Continue reading »

Yahoo! Slurp in My Blackhole (Yet Again)

Yup, ‘ol Slurp is at it again, flagrantly disobeying specific robots.txt rules forbidding access to my bad-bot trap, lovingly dubbed the “blackhole.” As many readers know, this is not the first time Yahoo has been caught behaving badly. This time, Yahoo was caught trespassing five different times via three different IPs over the course of four different days. Here is the data recorded in my site’s blackhole log (I know, that sounds terrible): Continue reading »

A Dramatic Week Here at Perishable Press..

..And we’re back. After an insane week spent shopping for a new host, dealing with some Bad Behavior, and transferring Perishable Press to its new home on a virtual private server (VPS), everything is slowly falling back into place. Along the way, there have been some interesting challenges and many lessons learned. Here are a few of the highlights.. Continue reading »

5 Easy Ways to Syntax Highlight PHP Code

[ Screenshot: PHP code snippet in syntax-highlighted form ]

A great to way to share your PHP code with visitors is to display it directly in the browser with automatically generated syntax highlighting. Here is a screenshot showing an example of syntax-highlighted PHP code: Displaying your PHP scripts in syntax-highlighted form is an excellent way to share source code details directly with your readers. Rather than zipping the script and requiring users to download, unzip, and open the file in an editor, displaying your code directly saves you and […] Continue reading »

Protect Your Site Against UserCash and Other Scumbags

In this brief article I explain the atrocity that is UserCash and then provide the JavaScript needed to protect your site. Continue reading »

Stupid htaccess Trick: Enable File or Directory Access to Your Password-Protected Site

In this brief tutorial, we are going to enable users to access any file or directory of a site that is password-protected via htaccess. There are many reasons for wanting to employ this technique, including: Share public resources from an otherwise private site Enable visitors to access content during site maintenance Testing and formatting of layout and design during development As a webmaster, I have used this technique on several occasions. This trick works great for allowing access to any […] Continue reading »

Yahoo! in my Blackhole

Okay, I realize that the title sounds a bit odd, but nowhere near as odd as my recent discovery of Slurp ignoring explicit robots.txt rules and digging around in my highly specialized bot trap, which I have lovingly dubbed “the blackhole”. What is up with that, Yahoo!? — does your Slurp spider obey robots.txt directives or not? I have never seen Google crawling around that side of town, neither has MSN nor even Ask ventured into the forbidden realms. Has […] Continue reading »

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 »

WordPress Spam Battle: 3 Seconds that will Save You Hours of Time

In the hellish battle against spam, many WordPress users have adopted a highly effective trinity of anti-spam plugins: Akismet Bad Behavior Spam Karma This effective triage of free WordPress plugins has served many a WP-blogger well, eliminating virtually 99% of all automated comment-related spam. When spam first became a problem for me, I installed this triple-threat arsenal of anti-spam plugins and immediately enjoyed the results. Although Spam Karma seemed a little invasive and resource-intensive, too much protection seemed far better […] Continue reading »

Fixing Mint after Switching Servers

[ Mint Icon ]

After switching Perishable Press to its current home at A Small Orange, I began noticing an unusual problem with referrer data displayed in Mint. Specifically, the first item recorded in the XXX Strong Mint data panel — for both “Most Recent” and “Repeat” views — displayed several thousand hits for various site resources, all reporting the following IP address: Continue reading »

Hacking WordPress: The Ultimate Nofollow Blacklist

[ Image: Death-metal rocker drunk with power ]

Several days ago, I posted an article explaining how to hack your own WordPress nofollow blacklist. Immediately thereafter, I published an elaborate article focusing on automatic methods of nofollow blacklisting via WordPress plugins. In this article, I expand on the original blacklist hack by incorporating functional differentiation between commentator links, trackbacks, and pingbacks. If anything, think of this as an exercise in hacking WordPress, rewarding in and of itself, if not otherwise entirely impractical. Of course, whenever possible, you should […] Continue reading »

Hacking WordPress: Dofollow Whitelist for Commentator Links

[ Image: Inverted Eye Detail ]

Before repenting of my filthy “nofollow” addiction, I experimented briefly with a “dofollow whitelist” for commentator URL links. The idea behind the whitelist is to reward frequent commentators, feed subscribers, site patrons, and other guests by selectively removing the automatically generated nofollow attributes from their associated comment-author links. For nofollow enthusiasts, a dofollow whitelist is a great way to show appreciation for people who support your blogging efforts. Now, before we go hacking away at WordPress, keep in mind that […] Continue reading »

Hacking WordPress: Nofollow Blacklist for Commentator Links

[ Image: Extreme close-up of an eye (send email  to purchase a full-size version) ]

Previously, in our unofficial “WordPress dofollow upgrade” series, we dished several techniques for removing the antisocial nofollow attributes from default installations of WordPress. After an exhaustive review of available dofollow plugins, we explained how drop-dead easy it is to transform any WordPress blog into a well-standing member of the dofollow community without relying on a plugin to do the job. Our next article detailed a nofollow removal hack that selectively targets pingbacks, trackbacks, and commentator links. Then, we went off […] Continue reading »

Industrial Strength WordPress Dofollow Upgrade

Encourage Comments by Completely Eliminating All Nofollow Links! Want to remove all traces of the hideous nofollow attribute without having to install yet another unnecessary plugin? By default, WordPress generates nofollow links in three different ways — this article will show you how to eliminate all of them.. 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 »
The Tao of WordPress: Become your own WordPress guru.
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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