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How to Enable PHP Error Logging via htaccess

In this brief tutorial, I will show Apache users how to suppress PHP errors from visitors and enable PHP error logging via htaccess. Tracking your site’s PHP errors is an excellent way to manage and troubleshoot unexpected issues related to plugins and themes. Even better, monitoring PHP errors behind the scenes via private log is far better than trying to catch them as they appear at random visits. Thanks to the magical powers of htaccess, there is an easy way to implement this effective strategy. Hide PHP errors from visitors In our article, , we discuss a technique whereby PHP […] Read more »

Focus on the Details: Optimizing Images for Humans and Machines

In this article, I discuss how to get the most out of your site’s images by optimizing them for both people and search engines.. For many sites, images play an important role in the communication process. If used correctly, images have the power to make your articles come alive with clarity and vibrancy. Some visitors may merely notice the image and continue reading, while others will want to know more about your images and dig deeper. While checking out your images, inquisitive guests will explore any clues available to them: alt tags, title tags, and captions, for example. Likewise, when […] Read more »

Quick JavaScript Tip: Auto-Highlight Form Inputs and Textareas

I realize that probably everybody already knows this elementary and absolutely dead-simple JavaScript tip, but I was surfing around the other day and encountered a page that made great use of some auto-highlighted textarea content. The idea is simple, include a snippet of JavaScript to enable users to automatically highlight/select upon focus any chunk of text located within a form input or textarea element. I would imagine this trick works with just about any element — buttons, links, you name it. With the following code in place, content within a textarea will be highlighted/selected when the user hovers over or […] Read more »

5 Easy Ways to Display Syntax Highlighted PHP Code

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 your visitors time, effort, and hassle. Plus, in my opinion, looking at syntax-highlighted PHP code is a beautiful sight, day […] Read more »

Three Ways to Allow Hotlinking in Specific Directories

After implementing any of the hotlink-prevention techniques described in our previous article, you may find it necessary to disable hotlink-protection for a specific directory. By default, htaccess rules apply to the directory in which it is located, as well as all subdirectories contained therein. There are (at least) three ways to enable selective hotlinking: Place hotlink images in an alternate directory This method works great if your hotlink-protection rules are located in a directory other than the site root. Simply create another directory outside of the directory containing the htaccess rules and place your hotlink-allowed images into that directory. Create […] Read more »

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 number of files, directories, and/or combination of both. We will begin with a generalized example, proceed with an explanatory discussion, […] Read more »

Easily Adaptable WordPress Loop Templates

In this article, I present several heavily commented examples of WordPress loops. I have found that many readers appreciate these types of loop examples, as it helps them to understand how the loop works while enabling them to easily copy, paste, and adapt the code for their own purposes. In our first example, we examine a basic WordPress loop. When implemented, this loop will display “x” number of posts, where “x” represents the number specified via the WordPress Admin reading options panel. To use this code, simply copy & paste into your WordPress theme’s index.php file 1 and customize accordingly. Read more »

Prevent JavaScript Elements from Breaking Page Layout when Following Yahoo Performance Tip #6: Place Scripts at the Bottom

By now, everyone is familiar with the Yahoo Developer Network’s 14 “best-practices” for speeding up your website. Certainly, many (if not all) of these performance optimization tips are ideal for high-traffic sites such as Yahoo or Google, but not all of them are recommended for smaller sites such as Perishable Press. Nonetheless, throughout the current site renovation project, I have attempted to implement as many of these practices as possible. At the time of this writing, I somehow have managed to score an average 77% (whoopee!) via the YSlow extension for Firebug. Of the handful of these tips that I […] Read more »

Ultimate htaccess Blacklist 2 (Compressed Version)

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. For example, as reader Greg suggests, a compressed version of the blacklist would be very useful. In this post, we present a compressed version of our Ultimate htaccess Blacklist that features around 50 new agents. Whereas the original blacklist is approximately 8.6KB in size, the compressed version is only 3.4KB, even with […] Read more »

Fixing Mint after Switching Servers

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 from the following IP address: 127.255.255.255 zxw59eit.emirates.net.ae Apparently, this particular location represents an invalid “loopback address.” The requested resources appear valid, indicating typical traffic patterns, but the loopback address is not the actual referrer. This issue was preventing Mint from accurately recording mountains of vital referral […] Read more »

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 subdirectory WP installations: Read more »

Absolute Horizontal and Vertical Centering via CSS

Recently, a reader named Max encountered some scrolling issues while implementing our absolutely centered layout technique. Of course, by “absolutely centered” we are referring to content that remains positioned dead-center regardless of how the browser is resized. After noticing the scrollbar deficiency, Max kindly dropped a comment to explain the issue: …the div solution works well, only one problem maybe somebody can help: if you make the browser window smaller then the div is -> the scrollbar doenst fit right und you cant scroll over the whole area… Apparently, because the horizontal/vertical centering method outlined in our original article employs […] Read more »

Super Loop: Exclude Specific Categories and Display any Number of Posts

Readers occasionally ask for help with their WordPress loops. Usually, these requests involve modifying the loop with some customized functionality. Frequently, such customization involves one of these popular behaviors: Exclude a specific category Exclude multiple categories Display only one post or excerpt Display some fixed number of posts Play nice with additional loops on the same page In this article, I present the swiss-army knife of WordPress loops. This highly versatile, “super” loop is standard WordPress code, easily implemented, and fully equipped to handle all of the custom behaviors mentioned above. Further, the PHP employed is self-contained, making it ultra-easy […] Read more »

MySQL Magic: Find and Replace Data

Recently, I needed to find and replace all instances of “http://website” in the wp_comments table of the WordPress database. Fortunately, SQL provides a simple way to find and replace data with its wonderful UPDATE function. General Example Using the SQL UPDATE command is straightforward. Here is the general syntax: UPDATE table_name SET field_name = replace( field_name, ‘string_to_find’, ‘string_to_replace’ ) ; Simply replace the table_name and both instances of field_name with your specific information, and then edit string_to_find, and string_to_replace with the desired values. This is pretty standard stuff, but it is always a good idea to backup your database before […] Read more »

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 see the originally requested page. Further, the redirect must apply only to requested-page.html, such that every visitor — including the […] Read more »

CSS Throwdown: Preload Images without JavaScript

Clean, easy, effective. You don’t need no stinking JavaScript to preload your images. Nope. Try some tasty CSS and (X)HTML instead! Here’s how.. (only two steps!) Step 1 — Place this in your CSS file: div#preloaded-images { position: absolute; overflow: hidden; left: -9999px; top: -9999px; height: 1px; width: 1px; } Step 2 — Place this at the bottom of your (X)HTML document: <div id=”preloaded-images”> <img src=”https://perishablepress.com/image-01.png” width=”1″ height=”1″ alt=”” /> <img src=”https://perishablepress.com/image-02.png” width=”1″ height=”1″ alt=”” /> <img src=”https://perishablepress.com/image-03.png” width=”1″ height=”1″ alt=”” /> </div> ..and that’s a wrap! All images are preloaded and ready for calling as you please. Completely valid, […] Read more »

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