Sysadmins of the North

Technical blog, where topics include: computer, server, web, sysadmin, MySQL, database, virtualization, optimization and security

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How to block BaiduSpider bot User-Agent?

The Baidu spider (BaiduSpider user agent) can be a real pain to block, especially since it does not respect a robots.txt as it should. This post shows you how to block Baidu Spider bot, using IIS URL Rewrite Module based on its User-Agent string.

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How to optimize PHP OPcache configuration

Tune OPcache and make PHP OPcache perform even better! Now that you’ve optimized PHP realpath_cache_size, it’s time to fine-tune OPcache. With just a few tweaks you can tune PHP OPcache to make it perform much better, and here is how…

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Multiple critical vulnerabilities in PHP File Manager

Revived Wire Media’s PHP File Manager got some issues…

Sijmen Ruwhof, who also analysed the malware spread through NU.nl back in 2012, found some serious security vulnerabilities in a PHP web application called “PHP File Manager”. One, among others, is a backdoor for Revived Wire Media to use. How sick is that?! Another vulnerability makes it easy to download confidential files.

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How to add conditional analytics tracking code in WordPress Multisite

In my WordPress multisite, I use one theme for three sites and a tracking code for analytics on my websites. Whether it is Google Analytics or Piwik doesn’t matter. Here is how you can conditionally add tracking codes to your WordPress Multisite: Use a condition in functions.php to add the tracking code for Piwik/Matomo Analytics or Google Analytics.

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Add a delay to your WordPress login form

Or why *not* to add a delay … !

It is important to protect your WordPress website from brute-force attacks, and various security plugins exist in doing so. For the purpose of this article, I modified the WordPress Login Delay plugin with a fixed delay of three seconds for my wp-login.php page. This provides you with an easy to use method of protecting your WordPress login form (but do read the caveats!).

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My WordPress web.config

Do you host your WordPress website on Windows Server IIS? And are you having trouble with your web.config? I often receive questions about how to use a web.config file in WordPress on Windows Server, and which settings are important for a WordPress site. Maybe it’s because I’m a WordPress on IIS enthusiast, so here is my web.config for your convenience (really, it’s not that special).

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How to enable HTTP Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) on IIS

Set up HTTP Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) in Windows Server IIS. Scott Hanselman wrote a great post on how to enable HTTP Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) on IIS web servers, and here is some more technical information about HSTS in IIS (and other security headers)

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Load Transposh Translation Filter over HTTPS

Transposh Translation Filter is the translation filter for WordPress, Transposh helps you multi-lingualize your blog with ease by translating your posts automagically. Unfortunately, Transposh plugin doesn’t load over HTTPS, which is easy to fix…

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Tunnel RDP through SSH & PuTTY

How to tunnel Remote Desktop (RDP) over SSH with PuTTY.

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to perform remote administration on a Windows Server, and the RDP port 3389 is blocked on a firewall? Did you know you can tunnel RDP over SSH with PuTTY? This particularly comes in handy when there is no VPN available to the remote network… Here is how to set up a RDP SSH tunnel with PuTTY.

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Send authenticated email over TLS from Zen Cart

Zen Cart is an open source shopping cart software. Unfortunately, Zen Cart has had some difficulties in the past sending authenticated SMTP email from a website. Here is how to let Zen Cart send email over an encrypted TLS connection, when the following condition is met: StartTLS is required. Since Zen Cart v1.5.2 StartTLS support is available.

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Secure WordPress uploads folder, disable PHP execution

Deny direct access to PHP files in wp-content/uploads/

The following PHP function secures your WordPress website by disabling the execution of PHP scripts in wp-content/uploads, on Windows Server IIS web servers. It creates a web.config file for this purpose.

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Vevida Optimizer WordPress plugin

Installing WordPress is one thing, keeping it up to date is something else. Each week brings new bugs or potential attack scenarios that will make a WordPress website vulnerable to hacks. Enabling automatic updates for all or at least most parts of WordPress solves a large number of problems with irregularly maintained WordPress websites.

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Monitor Windows services with PowerShell

How to monitor Windows Servers with PowerShell

As a Windows Server and IIS administrator, you want your Windows services to run at all times. One can monitor Windows services in many, many, ways. Some of our customers websites may depend on certain services, which may be hard to monitor externally. For those Windows services that need local monitoring, I like to schedule a PowerShell script. Here is one…

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PowerShell Get-FsrmQuota and Set-FsrmQuota

To get and set File Server Resource Manager NTFS quota, you now have to use PowerShell‘s FileServerResourceManager cmdlets. In the past, I used to get and set NTFS directory quota with the dirquota command, which is deprecated. A behavioral change for me (and you?) I can live with: it’s pretty easy to get directory information with Get-FsrmQuota and change dirquota using Set-FsrmQuota.

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Set IIS Application Pool recycle defaults to Specific Times, not Regular Time Interval

By default, an IIS application pool (or “AppPool”) recycles on a regular time interval of 1740 minutes, or 29 hours. One reason for this time interval is that application pools don’t recycle at the same moment every day (every day at 07.00 for example). However, sometimes you want to change this regular time interval to specific times. And when you try to configure this in IIS Manager, it gives you an error. Luckily, AppCmd and PowerShell come to the rescue!

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