Bad Bot Honeypot

Jeff Starr of Perishable Press offers what appears to be an excellent, free Blackhole for Bad Bots. Unfortunately it does not work with all cache setups, and I use some pretty crazy aggressive caching to boost site speed. I have not been able get Jeff’s plugin to work for me. I decided to make a very much simplified, less automated version, that will require an ongoing bit of my time but hopefully will thwart naughty bots.

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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.

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MDD Hosting and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

or, How to Destroy an Entire Data Center with a Typo

First, MDD Hosting is awesome. I’ve been with them for about a year and a half, and will likely stay for decades if they stay awesome. Uptime – with the one big exception described below, has been good. Speed is great. Price is reasonable. They check all my must-have and nice-to-have features: LiteSpeed server; cPanel; free Let’s Encrypt SSL; CloudLinux account isolation technology; SSD storage; Softaculous Autoinstaller; PHP version selector; Not associated with Endurance International Group (EIG); No obnoxious up-selling or other BS marketing games. Most impressive is help service – always prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable.

But last September (2018), MDD and its clients endured a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day – several days actually.

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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

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Coming Soon: CloudFlare as a Registrar

For awhile now, CloudFlare has been quietly advertising “coming-soon” no-added-fees registrar services for CloudFlare customers – even those like me on the free tier. According to the sales pitch, CF will charge exactly $0 for this service, adding no fee at all to the Wholesale Registry fee (currently $7.85 for dot com) + the $0.18 ICANN fee. So, CF will register a dot com domain for the bargain annual cost of $8.03.

 

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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.

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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

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WP dot com or WP dot org?

The interwebs are full of comparisons of WordPress dot org and pretty much everything else, including its sibling WordPress dot com. Basically WP dot org is free, open-source CMS software that I self-host using my own domain name and a commercial hosting provider of my choice. It has a bit of a learning curve but limitless possibilities. WP dot com is a commercial entity that offers to host my blog on its servers. It is easy to use and offers a free tier but is somewhat limited – especially on the free tier. It is frequently compared to Google Blogger.

Really no need for me to add more – except for my point of view.

WP dot com or WP dot org

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2018: The year of the missing theme

Every year since 2009, the good people at WP have released a new default theme. Until now. The default theme is usually released in November, and is named for the upcoming year. So, the Twenty Ten theme was released late in 2009.  The tradition continued through Twenty Seventeen, released in late 2016, then ground to a screeching, unplanned, embarrassing halt. This is the year of the missing theme.

The year of the missing Theme

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2FA

Two factor authentication (2FA) is an extremely strong security measure to keep bad guys, gals, and bots from hacking into my important accounts – WP admin, email, registrar, cPanel, and so on. And … I’m just not a fan.

2fa

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