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Web Dev + WordPress + Security
138 posts

A Few Steps Back

I have been doing some non-design-related work recently and have not been saturated with anything even computer-related for the past several weeks. Mostly I have been just enjoying life, but also drawing quite a bit and going around taking photos of old, decrepit homesteads and factories. Needless to say, it’s been a much-needed respite from the usual crunch and grind. Taking a few steps back like this from the Web — even for such a short period of time — […] Continue reading »

Should We Support Old Versions of Good Browsers?

I mean, basically anything except for Internet Explorer, which is a debate in and of itself. Here I’m referring to old versions of good browsers, like Firefox 2, Safari 2, Opera 8, and so on. It seems that older versions of these browsers are not as common as older versions of IE, so should we bother supporting them when designing our websites? Most agree that we shouldn’t support old versions of crappy browsers like IE, but what about older versions […] Continue reading »

Tell Google NOT to Index Certain Parts of Your Web Pages

There are several ways to instruct Google to stay away from various pages in your site: Robots.txt directives Nofollow attributes on links Meta noindex/nofollow directives X-Robots noindex/nofollow directives ..and so on. These directives all function in different ways, but they all serve the same basic purpose: control how Google crawls the various pages on your site. For example, you can use meta noindex to instruct Google not to index your sitemap, RSS feed, or any other page you wish. This […] Continue reading »

Another Boring Personal Update

It’s been awhile since I have taken some time to just blog a little bit about what’s been happening in this crazy little world of mine. Normally, I like to keep my articles focused on web design, social media, and other online topics, but every now and then I like to take some time out and share some personal news. Needless to say, lots of awesome stuff has been happening both online and in my personal life, so here’s a […] Continue reading »

Find a Diamond in the Rough

Getting the best possible web hosting is for obvious reasons something that all website owners aim to do. However, you might know what type of web hosting you are looking to get but still do not know what provider to partner up with. Many of the web hosting top lists you find on the web today look the same as they all take the same things into account. These guides usually take into account similar factors and cost usually is […] Continue reading »

Digging Into WordPress

Our recent quest to find a publisher has finally paid off. After spending a few weeks checking out different publishers and myriad publishing options, Chris Coyier and I have decided to go the DIY-route and publish the book ourselves as a PDF. The book is titled “Digging into WordPress,” and is due out late Summer or early Fall of this year. It’s going to be packed full of juicy WordPress goodness and I hope that you check it out when […] Continue reading »

Best Practices for Error Monitoring

Given my propensity to discuss matters involving error log data (e.g., monitoring malicious behavior, setting up error logs, and creating extensive blacklists), I am often asked about the best way to go about monitoring 404 and other types of server errors. While I consider myself to be a novice in this arena (there are far brighter people with much greater experience), I do spend a lot of time digging through log entries and analyzing data. So, when asked recently about […] Continue reading »

4G Series: The Ultimate Referrer Blacklist, Featuring Over 8000 Banned Referrers

You have seen user-agent blacklists, IP blacklists, 4G Blacklists, and everything in between. Now, in this article, for your sheer and utter amusement, I present a collection of over 8000 blacklisted referrers. Shortcut: skip the article and jump to Disclaimer and Download » Referrer Spam Sucks For the uninitiated, in teh language of teh Web, a referrer is the online resource from whence a visitor happened to arrive at your site. For example, if Johnny the Wonder Parrot was visiting the […] Continue reading »

4G Series: The Ultimate User-Agent Blacklist, Featuring Over 1200 Bad Bots

As discussed in my recent article, Eight Ways to Blacklist with Apache’s mod_rewrite, one method of stopping spammers, scrapers, email harvesters, and malicious bots is to blacklist their associated user agents. Apache enables us to target bad user agents by testing the user-agent string against a predefined blacklist of unwanted visitors. Any bot identifying itself as one of the blacklisted agents is immediately and quietly denied access. While this certainly isn’t the most effective method of securing your site against […] Continue reading »

The Perishable Press 4G Blacklist

At last! After many months of collecting data, crafting directives, and testing results, I am thrilled to announce the release of the 4G Blacklist! The 4G Blacklist is a next-generation protective firewall that secures your site against a wide range of automated attacks and other malicious activity. Continue reading »

Yahoo! Slurp too Stupid to be a Robot

I really hate bad robots. When a web crawler, spider, bot — or whatever you want to call it — behaves in a way that is contrary to expected and/or accepted protocols, we say that the bot is acting suspiciously, behaving badly, or just acting stupid in general. Unfortunately, there are thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of nefarious bots violating our sites every minute of the day. For the most part, there are effective methods available enabling […] Continue reading »

Building the Perishable Press 4G Blacklist

Last year, after much research and discussion, I built 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. Unfortunately, these mega-lists eventually 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 […] Continue reading »

The Halving Method

Working a great deal with blacklists, I am frequently trying to isolate and identify problematic code. For example, a blacklist implementation may suddenly prevent a certain type of page from loading. In order to resolve the issue, the blacklist is immediately removed and tested for the offending directive(s). This situation is common to other coding languages as well, especially when dealing with CSS. Identifying problem code is more of an art form than a science, but fortunately, there are a […] Continue reading »

Year-End Rambling, Boring Personal Stuff, Etc.

Sometimes I just need to type. To get it out. Small ideas, news, and other mental slices of personal relevance. If this just “ain’t your thing,” by all means, please move on to the next item in your reader. Otherwise, if I may ramble on for a moment with the privileged luxury of your gracious attention, I will attempt to elaborate a few of the recent mysteries swirling throughout the rushing vortex that is my life. First of all, the […] Continue reading »

Feedburner Alternative: Homegrown Feed Statistics for Your Blog

If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use Feedburner to track your feed statistics, this article describes a relatively simple, “roll-your-own” alternative. Instead of redirecting your feed traffic through Feedburner, keep your original feed URLs and place the following code into a file named “feed_stats.php” (or whatever) and upload to your server: Continue reading »

Miscellaneous Code Snippets for WordPress, Windows, and Firefox

One of the original purposes of Perishable Press involved serving as a “virtual dumpster” for all of my miscellaneous code snippets. Over time, I continued elaborating to greater degrees on the various code recipes that I was posting, until eventually those brief snippet posts evolved into complete, richly detailed articles (at least from my point of view). Now that I enjoy the luxury of writing for an incredible audience, I try to avoid posting anything that doesn’t include an accompanying […] 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: Master the art of WordPress.
Thoughts
This new Admin Page Framework looks pretty good. Can't wait to check it out.
Two great places to find awesome plugins: pluginsearch.com and WP's browse new.
2 things I hate to see in stylesheets: _ and #
Love VLC media player but it fails miserably when it comes to randomizing large collections of mp3 and other files.
Dashlane redesigned, stating proudly they "removed all filigree". Should have kept it; the app now looks generic and boring. Killed your identity.
Working on integration for setaPDF + EDD on the new books subdomain. Good times.
Toggle visibility of hidden files on Mac: Cmd + Shift + .