Robots dot text

Robots dot text (robots.txt) is a really interesting, conflicted, frequently disrespected – but useful – little file. Its intended purpose is to give me control of how bots visit my site. Depending on the bot though, my robots dot text directives might be obeyed, ignored, partially obeyed, and/or interpreted in different ways.
robots dot text

Read more Robots dot text

Prank contact form emails

My first website, byGosh.comlaunched at the dawn of the millennium – features public domain literature. It includes all the classic stories for kids. I rewrote parts of many kid’s stories to remove the violence. Red Riding Hood is rescued by her grandmother who chases the wolf away with a broom, Jack returns the harp and lets the giant climb back up before cutting down the beanstalk, none of the three little pigs get eaten – even the wolf lives happily ever after, and so on.

Read more Prank contact form emails

CloudFlare Canaries

CloudFlare is awesome – in many ways. Not the least of which is their support for Internet freedom. Twice a year, CF issues a Transparency Report, with the opening statement …

An essential part of earning and maintaining the trust of our customers is being transparent about the requests we receive from law enforcement and other governmental entities. To this end, Cloudflare publishes semi-annual updates to our Transparency Report on the requests we have received to disclose information about our customers.

Read more CloudFlare Canaries

WordPress Lives!

Any question of the demise, or even decline, of WP due to the inexplicably clumsy imposition of the block editor has been resoundingly answered with a thunderous “nope”. WP continues to thrive. In fact, WP just passed a huge milestone – it now powers over one-third of the web!  From about 13% in January 2011, WP use has grown steadily to 33.4% to start 2019. Non-CMS share of the web has correspondingly plummeted, from over 75% in January 2011 to less than 50% today.

The trends appear intractable, so much so that I will make a foolishly reckless prediction – WP web share will surpass non-CMS before the end of calendar year 2019, U.S. Pacific time.

Read more WordPress Lives!

Cloudflare Access

Back in January 2018, Cloudflare introduced a new service, Cloudflare Access. As is their generous habit for many of their features, CF even made it available on the free tier. CF describes Access as “a perimeter-less access control solution for cloud and on-premise applications”. Basically, Access lets me host internal applications on the Internet, where use is controlled, authorized, authenticated, and encrypted. For the end user, it works very similar to two-factor authentication. But it all happens on Cloudflare’s servers.

Read more Cloudflare Access

Facebook Post Optimization

Once in a while I get lucky and someone will ‘like’ or ‘share’ my site on Facebook. By default, the FB post can look crappy, unlikely to drive much if any traffic my way. FB makes guesses about the title and description, and crops an image from my post or page to fit the space allocated on the post – not exactly the best Facebook post optimization.

A crappy-looking Facebook post

Read more Facebook Post Optimization

CloudFlare and Free Speech

CloudFlare, even more so than other tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, has the capability to fight subjective hatred and injustice. That is, to limit free speech in accordance with the highly subjective viewpoints of its executives. A huge amount of web traffic flows through CF. It would be trivial to silence any voices that proliferate truly despicable hate speech and/or offend the easily-offended sensibilities of the cry-baby left.

To CloudFlare’s great credit – unlike other, mostly ultra-left web corporations – they have proven remarkably reluctant to do so.

Read more CloudFlare and Free Speech

CloudFlare Firewall Rules

CloudFlare announced the introduction of firewall rules on October 3, 2018. Surprisingly, five firewall rules are even provided on the free plan. By comparison the Pro plan provides 20 firewall rules. Unlike Page Rules, additional firewall rules can *not* be purchased. I get five, that’s it – but as we will see a single firewall rule can do a bunch of different stuff provided that the final action is the same. Pretty generous of CF, I think, seeing as I use only their free tier.

CloudFlare Firewall Rules

Read more CloudFlare Firewall Rules

Arrg! Me Pirate Form plugin be walkin the plank.

Shiver me timbers! Me favorite contact form plugin – Free and Simple Contact Form by Pirate Forms – be abandoning ship. Pirate Forms was acquired by WPForms, who are retiring my favorite contact form in favor of a migration path to their signature WPForms Lite. Either by remarkable coincidence or due to a wry sense of humor,  the scallywags at WPForms made the announcement on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

When a favorite plugin is lost at sea.

Read more Arrg! Me Pirate Form plugin be walkin the plank.

WP is not ready for CSP

WP is not ready for CSPA Content Security Policy (CSP) relies on code headers to help prevent cross site scripting and other malware, providing a great addition to a layered security approach. I think of it as a reverse firewall. It tells browsers exactly what content should be accepted from my site. All other content – malware for example – should be rejected. So, it doesn’t exactly protect my site. But if my site gets infected, it can prevent the infection from spreading – possibly saving my reputation

A correct CSP is a really good thing, adding to interweb safety. So, why do almost no websites – something incredibly small like 1% of 1% – have a CSP? Partly because it is not very well known yet, but also because it is really complicated to create a correct one. It is much more likely that I will screw up my WP site and deliver false errors to my visitors than it is that my CSP will work properly.

Read more WP is not ready for CSP