Protection from the eye

Protecting your WordPress site from Internet Scum

I've been running my web server and WordPress site nearly a couple of years now. My goto plugins for protection are:

Antispam Bee - Which allows me to leave blogs open for comments, in case someone would ever want to ask something or start a discussion. However, I've found I only seem to get SPAM bots. Having to check all the messages is a pain, so I've also changed the WordPress settings to automatically close comments on articles older than 10 days. 

Shield - If the term "hackers" means anything to you, then this is "the security plugin" you need to have. Just look at the number of attempts to access my site.

30k login blocks and 3k IP bans

Recently the login attempts seemed to have been spiralling upwards. With this many automated attempts, you can't feel safe, and I've been thinking for a while, it's only a matter of time until they find a zero-day vulnerability.

So, this week I decided to block my wp-admin folder where the admin area of WordPress is, this is using the Apache web servers basic authentication with the .htaccess file. What I didn't realise, is that there are some functions there which are needed by other parts of my site such as the booking system. Thankfully, someone was kind enough to inform me about the problem 😉

When I googled this, I found plenty of sites with blogs titled "Don’t Use a Password Protection on wp-admin Folder". I thought it was possible after finding some solutions like this:-

AuthType Basic
AuthName "Restricted Content"
AuthUserFile /var/www/clouded.ch/html/.htpasswd
Require valid-user
<Files admin-ajax.php>
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all
  Satisfy any
</Files>
<Files admin-post.php>
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all
  Satisfy any
</Files>
<Files "\.(css|gif|png|js)$">
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all
  Satisfy any
</Files>

DO NOT USE THE ABOVE .htaccess FILE

I used it for some time, only then to discover newsletter popups were not working. 

Good luck with protecting your sites...

Article on privacy

Goodbye Google Analytics

I don’t remember the exact blog post I read which prompted me to remove Google Analytics just now, of course, it was another one of those concerned with privacy.

The point here is if you have a WordPress site, there are good plugins, like WP Statistics, that can help you with statistics, so you know what content is doing well, and you not having to compromise the personal information of your online visitors.

Example of WP Statistics on https://clouded.ch site.

Having a count on the popular pages, the number of visitors and referral sites is more than enough information for me. You can drag and drop, the panels, so the information you want to see is at the top. I like it a lot more than Google Analytics.

An extra tweak I made on my WP tracking included masking the IP addresses.

So, now I no longer need to worry about the next WordPress update wiping my tracking code because I no longer need it anyway.