Let WordPress (not) snow
January 3, 2015
Have a wordpress blog? Is it still snowing? Would you like to turn it off? It’s really quite easy. Login to your Admin Settings General Uncheck “Show falling snow on my blog until January 4th.” Save Oh, yea, it’ll automagically turn itself off tomorrow anyways. However this way you won’t be surprised by the snow next year. Enjoy your Winter!
Using Cloudflare as a Banhammer
December 23, 2014
These days “Snowulf” has become a loosely knit network of sites and projects. Most of the hosting is for myself, projects I’m involved with, or friends. Since I already pride myself in keeping my server online for the Snowulf Blog, adding a few other sites to the same server isn’t much of an issue. However the major headache of any site addition is… security. Every site and piece of software is slightly different. Most of the work is offloaded to Cloudflare’s Web Application Firewall however they’re not 100%. With some cheap tricks (and PHP), I’ve taught Cloudflare how to be a big banhammer.
Snowulf Mobile lives again!
March 8, 2013
Snowulf.com with Jetpack Mobile theme on iPhone 5 This past week or so has been pleasantly quiet for me at work, so I’ve actually had some time to myself. Additionally, I managed to spend a fair amount of time on the blog this weekend, both writing and doing miscellaneous site maintenance. One of the site maintenance related items was the discovery that the mobile site was horribly, horribly broken. Currently the site’s traffic is roughly 13% mobile, up from 7% mobile this time 2012. I’d hate to disappoint all those loyal (albeit mobile) readers so I set about to fix it.
WordPress 3.5 and mod_pagespeed do NOT play well together
March 6, 2013
WordPress 3.5 may look cool, but it has found a dozen new and clever ways in which to break itself. Last week, I figured out how to fix the “Add Media” button. This week, I discovered that I could no longer select any drop-downs in the admin screens, add tags, or click most buttons. I dug around and found the “Troubleshooting WordPress 3.5 Master List” which lead me to discover that mod_pagespeed was my most recent grief giver. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix.
“Add Media” broken in WordPress 3.5
February 25, 2013
A little while back I upgraded to WordPress 3.5.X like a good little server admin. Sometime shortly thereafter I noticed the “Add Media” button stopped working, or it would work randomly for one post and not another. Very strange and very annoying since that is the one button I actually need (I write in HTML format, so I don’t need the rest of the WYSIWYG interface to work). After a bit of Googling, checking forum posts, and a little luck, I found my two pronged solution.
WordPress: Updates without FTP/SFTP
June 5, 2012
I’ve been using WordPress on Snowulf for almost two years. In that time, one of the most important things I learned was how to enable updates via SSH/FTP. Today, I bring you something that may very well relegate that post to an amusing anecdote. It turns out that the more recent versions of WordPress, with a little bit of tweaking, can update themselves without any FTP/SFTP access at all!
MediaWiki spam is such a headache
February 2, 2012
MediaWiki, like any other popular software product (that accepts user input), has become a massive target for spam. Now I’m not talking about vandals running around on Wikipedia trying to convince you that African Elephant population has tripled in 6 months. I’m talking about plain old spammers. Just like email spammers and comment spammers on blogs. These automated bots run around and slam small wikis with all sorts of dumb advertisements… and they drive me nuts.
Serendipity to WordPress – Importer version 1.5
November 29, 2010
I should have posted this sooner, but I forgot. My Serendipity to WordPress post importer (v1.4) has been upgraded! Simone Tellini took it (in the spirit of which this software was originally released, way back when) and updated the importer to support nested categories (and of course re-released it). To make sure the software continues to be available, I’ve taken (with permission) Simone’s updated version and checked it into my Google Code SVN repo (SVN direct).
Spotting comment spam
July 1, 2010
Here at Snowulf, we get a LOT of comment spam. On average we receive 48 spam comments a day (Thanks Akismet for the stats), most of these are to old articles and immediately dropped. However, a few are to newer articles and we manually review them. Most are fairly obviously spam, with links to hideous domain names or text that just makes no sense. On rare occasion a spam message makes it to us that isn’t obviously spam and we investigate. Just a few days ago we got one like that and it caught my attention because it seemed valid. Here’s a screen shot of it (Click to enlarge): So the English sucks, but this is the internet. It also talks about wanting to “Stumble” a link and not being able to. As our social media bookmark is fairly fancy, I could see someone having issues with it. That being said… why wouldn’t you just submit it directly to Stumble or use their toolbar? If you were to check their website (which I’m not linking), it looks like a fairly valid WordPress blog. However, it stuck me as curious, so I did some digging.
WordPress: Smart backups BackWPup and Amazon S3
June 30, 2010
WordPress being as popular as it is, is a very common target for all sorts of evil and dastardly hacks. As such, you should make sure to back it up on a very regular basis. Sometimes we don’t backup because we’re lazy, cheap, or it simply takes too much work. Well, let me tell you about a way to backup your WordPress easily, cheaply, and completely automated: BackWPup. This is a plugin I found that does one thing, and does it well, it runs backups. You can very easily setup BackWPup to backup your all your WordPress files and database to a file on your server. This is a great start, but not the best idea. Now, for those who aren’t in the “know” the best place to have your backups is “offsite” (or not on the same server or in the same physical location as your original data). This means that after the backup files are created, they need to be pushed somewhere else. BackWPup offers you the ability to FTP said files, but if you don’t have another server…this doesn’t help you much. What BackWPup offers, that is a fantastic feature, is the ability to push to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). The basic idea is: “Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.” Most importantly, it is cheap! It is only 15 cents per Gigabyte/Month.
WordPress: Enabling SSH/SFTP Updates
June 29, 2010
The first time I dealt with WordPress was when I first started doing IT administration for FanHistory. At that point in time I knew nothing about it and it was breaking horribly. Luckily I managed to fix the issues (which turned out to be Varnish proxy related) and get it standing mostly on its own two feet. One of “minor annoyances” I ran into then and absolutely had to figure out during my migration, was the lack of SSH or SFTP based updates. By default when you go into add or update the plugins (or the software itself) you have only two options FTP and FTPS (SSL). I run neither of these, FTP is majorly old and very insecure. FTPS is just not common. I thought I was stuck doing things manually, until I found out…. You can enable SSH2 based updates in WordPress. Better yet, it is SUPER easy.
Tags versus Categories – Tags AND Categories
June 23, 2010
Tag, Microsoft Tag - Bad pun, I know. For a long time we were running Serendipity here on Snowulf. S9y had no built in support for tags, and as such we didn’t use them. Now that we’ve migrated to WordPress, we have the ability to use tags, so the question seemed simple enough: Should we use tags? Should we abandon categories?
Serendipity to WordPress – Changing table prefix
June 17, 2010
While this isn’t strictly part of the migration process from S9y to WordPress, I decided to take some advice I read on the net and change the prefix for WordPress tables. Most use this feature for when they have to share a database, but the suggestions I read said to do it to help prevent from SQL injection hacks. Basically the majority of these injections presume a default of ‘wp_’ prefix.
Serendipity to WordPress – Rewriting URLs
June 14, 2010
So the second most important thing to for a S9Y to WordPress migration, after you import the posts, is to make sure as many of the old links work as possible. It doesn’t actually require all that much work to get 90% of the old links working. With Apache & mod_rewrite you can be up and running in just a few minutes. The example below is what I’m actually using and should cover most everything if you were using the /archives/1234-Post-name-here.html format (in S9y). The only reason it requires so many rules and doesn’t cover all the links is because S9y is REALLY BAD about cleaning up the URLs. It basically has no internal mechanism for redirecting people to the proper final name.
Serendipity to WordPress – Post import
June 11, 2010
The first thing you need to do in migrating from Serendipity to WordPress, is to move the post content. Luckily for all of us, at some point in time an importer was written (and shared). It has floated around the internet for a while and been updated a number of times. The version I used was verison 1.3, last updated by a German fellow. While his updates were good, I needed a little more out of it. Two pieces that were lacking were the handling of drafts vs published posts (John and I have a number of drafts, as has been previously mentioned) and the most important, matching up post id numbers. Without that one piece, you can’t move between the two platforms and maintain any links.
Houston, We have WordPress
June 9, 2010
If you are seeing this, you probably realize things look a bit different around the blog. Not terribly different, but different none the less. It is slightly more than changing the theme this time, though I managed to find one that was close to what it previously was. Today’s change is slightly bigger. We’re running WordPress 3.0 (RC).
A possible migration to WordPress
June 7, 2010
Don’t get me wrong, Serendipity is a fine piece of software. It has served this blog and my needs well for the last 5 years. I’ve talked about it a number of times over those years. I’ve even migrated away and back to S9y. The problem is, it’s starting to feel a bit dated. I’ve noticed that over the last year or two, updates to S9y are getting more and more infrequent.