Category Archives: TECH NOTES

JQuery DataTables

JQuery DataTables with WordPress and Drupal

wordpress and drupal datatables thumbnail imageDataTables is a plug-in for the jQuery Javascript library. DataTables is a very flexible tool for adding advanced interactions to to any HTML table. It adds controls providing searching, sorting and pagination.

DataTables works with most popular CMS and web based CRM systems with plugins available out-of-the-box for many of these, including WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

I’ve recently been using the DataTables JQuery scripts for a couple of tables on a WordPress and a Drupal site, so I’m taking the opportunity to briefly discuss the plugins I’m using, and the differences using DataTables with these 2 content management systems.

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Panopta.com Pest Bot

Checks.Panopta.com – nuisance bot

Panopta.com calls itself “Uptime Management Software for Hosting Providers, SaaS Providers, IT Managers, and Website Owners”.  Well, there’s nothing wrong with the idea. If your website is critical to your business it’s not a bad thing to get alerted if or when your site is offline.

But Did You Subscribe to Panopta.com?

Panopta.com monitoring service allows other people to monitor your website! That’s right, you don’t have to sign up for their service for your domain to be monitored. This means a business competitor can monitor your website status without your permission!

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Massive Number Websites in Botnet

Massive Number of Hacked USA Websites Participate in WordPress Botnet Attack

website botnet thumbnail imageFor the past couple of days we’ve been watching a customers WordPress site being attacked by a botnet of websites trying to access site admin with user name “admin” and a variety of simple passwords.

Most of these attacks are coming from USA based web hosting services. One particular top level service provider, Provo Unified Layer, stands out above the rest as the most hacked network. Many 2nd tier providers use Provo Unified Layer infrastructure including Bluehost and Hostmonster. Of the hosts using Provo Unified Layer infrastructure, Bluehost is ahead of the pack in having hosted sites participating in the botnet. (Read more about Bluehost and the Botnet).

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Nofollowing Tag Cloud Links

A Plugin to Nofollow WordPress Tag Cloud Widget Links

nofollow tag cloud links featured imageSomething about Tag Cloud widgets has always bugged me. They are great for visitors; a very useful navigation feature and convenient to use. But all those links sharing page value…

And a lot of that value goes nowhere – my tag pages are noindexed for search engines to avoid content duplication issues. So why not nofollow the links from tag clouds and get a bit more page juice.

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Built Our Own Link Farms

We Built Our Own Link Farms – Really Bad SEO

A “webmaster” desperate for backlinks decided to build her own link farms for backlinks… No, I’m not talking about 3 or 5 years ago, this was recent, this year in fact. Worse yet, not only one link farm, an entire network of link farms.

“Old McSpammer had a farm, e-i-e-i-oh,
And on that farm he built some links, e-i-e-i-oh

With a backlink here, and a backlink there,
Here a link, there a link,
Everywhere a link, link…”  Video about link farming

Hasn’t the Webmaster Heard About Google Farmer, Panda, Penguin

Maybe because this is a South African webmaster, the news about Google Farmer, Panda and Penguin never reached this far…

Surely, everyone in the web industry knows link farms are useless these days as a source of backlinksBacklinks from link farms can even harm the site. Read the rest of this entry

Broken Links Bad For Website

Will Broken Links Harm Your Google Website Ranking?

The first answer to will broken links harm your Google ranking is no. The second answer is yes.

Broken Links Won’t Harm Your Website

Google says “Generally, 404 errors don’t impact your site’s ranking in Google.” Note the word ‘generally’

404s are a perfectly normal part of the web. You will likely never be able to control every link to your site, or resolve every 404 error listed in Webmaster Tools. Instead, check the top-ranking issues and fix those if possible” Read more…

This is of course only part of the story. Google’s info page doesn’t mention anything about the number of broken links. It’s perfectly normal for Google to find broken links to your website from other websites.

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Helping Zillow and Trulia

Are You Helping Zillow and Trulia Outrank You

Are you helping Zillow and Trulia outrank you in Google SERP? Maybe you are, then again, maybe you’re not. An interesting article by realgeeks.com suggests these well-known real estate industry sites benefit from the links contained in the data widgets they provide for realtors in the USA.

Maybe you even thought you’d try to take advantage of their name recognition, and add one, two, or a few of their widgets to your site. Little did you know that by doing so, you are giving Zillow and Trulia more firepower to outrank your site.
It’s a brilliant scheme, really. Both Zillow and Trulia provide a full range of widgets for agents to use on their independent real estate sites.  Read more

On first glance the article makes sense, but is it the whole story?

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Is Your Website Slow

Website Slow – Look to Your Server

slow website cartoon imageWhen we find problems with our website speed, we look at our website system – Right? We (those of us on shared hosting anyway) have been conditioned by our service providers to think whenever our sites are running slow, it’s our code that’s the problem, not the server provided by the hosting company the site is running on.

Well, sometimes it is. But then again, often it’s not.

When is it the Server?

There are some circumstances when the server is nearly always the problem. Let’s look at some clues:

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WPOnlineStore PHP Fatal Error ‘function.require’

Googlebot Error with WPOnlineStore Plugin

Googlebot triggers a PHP Fatal Error ‘function.require‘ error causing the bot to receive a “500” internal server error when trying to crawl the pages created by the WordPress WPOnlineStore plugin. In my previous post I mentioned this ongoing problem. Today I can provide some additional information.

The problem is not unique to my shop site; initial searches of the internet found only a few references to this problem. for the past two days the hosting company server engineers have been looking into the problem, unfortunately without any success. After disabling Apache mod_secure settings, which appeared to be causing the error, Googlebot still triggered this error.  As previously mentioned in Googlebot has Problems with WPOnlineStore, it is only Googlebot – and there lies the first clue.

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Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials Under Microscope

Microsoft Security Essentials LogoA look at Microsoft Security Essentials, the free anti-virus application from Microsoft. Is Microsoft Security Essentials any good? Will it protect a Windows PC from most common threats? Can MSE compete with commercial security applications?

Over the next few months we will see.

Annoyed with Commercial AV Software.

I have become increasingly annoyed with commercial anti-virus applications. They have become overpriced, use too much system resources, interfere with other applications, or slow down internet access. Worse still, none of the apps are able to detect every virus or malware… An example is Trojan Generic 24, which seems to be only detected by AVG (but doesn’t stop or remove it). Trend Micro Titanium and Norton AV don’t find all versions of this dangerous trojan.

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