Category Archives: Website Design

Disable Directory Browsing To Increase Security In WordPress

This article came through my email box recently. It’s from the informative website, tutzone.org.  I just couldn’t resist entering it here since I’ve not only actioned this advice myself for my blogs, but plan to use it on my clients’ sites as well. Thank you, tutzone, for another useful, recommended article.

When my blog was hacked, I realized that my directories were accessible to anyone, even bots, which is really a big loophole for security. As then the other person trying to hack in to your blog knows which plugins or what important files you have kept safe in your directories.

To avoid anyone access your installation folders or reveal loophole in security this simple hack comes in handy.

Note:  Do take backup of your .htaccess(hypertext access) file.

01.   Search for a file named .htaccess(hypertext access) in the webroot of your server (FTP) and can be easily edited using any text editor (like Notepad). Open it and add below code in it:

Options All -Indexes

02.   Save and you are done.


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Enhanced Browsing Speed Tweak

It is possible to tweak your Microsoft Windows operating system’s settings so that your Internet connection and your browser can be optimized giving an enhanced browsing speed.

Please note that any changes you make are directly associated with the registry settings; I therefore recommend that you do this in one uninterrupted sitting, possibly either making notes or taking screenshots at intervals if necessary.

1.     Click on START menu (bottom left-hand corner of screen).
2.     Click on RUN, and then type in “gpedit.msc”.  Click on ENTER.
3.     Click on ADMINISTRATIVE TEMPLATES under COMPUTER CONFIGURATION.
4.     Click on NETWORK under ADMINISTRATIVE TEMPLATES.
5.     Click on QOS PACKET SCHEDULERS under NETWORK.

Look at LIMIT RESERVABLE BANDWIDTH in the right-hand column. Under the STATE column (on the same row as and to the right of LIMIT  RESERVABLE BANDWIDTH) you should find the entry NOT CONFIGURED. This means that Windows operating system is still using the default settings, i.e. keeping 20% of the total bandwidth available for itself.

6.     Double-click on LIMIT RESERVABLE BANDWIDTH. In the window that opens up,  check the ENABLED option and reduce the percentage selector drop-down box to 0%.
7.     Click on APPLY to keep the newly tweaked settings.
8.     Click on OK.

Restart your computer; once you log in you should experience an enhanced browsing speed.

Bear in mind that this is only one tweak of many to enhance the Windows operating system, in this particular case it works on maximising your existing browsing speed.  Note that it doesn’t do magic and make the Mozilla Firefox browser any faster! 😉


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The difference between a netbook and a notebook

Large, Medium, and Small Laptop
There are three main differences between a netbook and a notebook:

  • Netbooks are smaller and more portable than notebooks. The screen size ranges from around eight to 11 inches, while a standard ntebook will have a screen measuring around 15 inches.
  • Netbooks use lower powered processors, such as Intel’s Atom Processor, which are good at preserving battery life, but not so good at dealing with intensive applications such as video editing.
  • To save space, netbooks do not have an optical drive, so you won’t be able to play CDs or DVDs on it. Almost all notebooks come with an optical drive.

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Update on how to edit the Meta links in WordPress

I wrote a post a short while back on how to edit the Meta links in WordPress to remove the references to Entries RSS, Comments RSS, etc. That post has now become relevant only to WordPress versions prior to WordPress 2.8.

The solution now for all WordPress 2.8 versions is to edit the default_widgets.php file which is in the wp-includes folder. Open up the widgets.php file with Notepad (or whatever other software you would normally use to edit php files). Find the following lines in the widget.php file:

<li><a href=”<?php bloginfo(‘rss2_url’); ?>” title=”<?php echo esc_attr(__(‘Syndicate this site using RSS 2.0’)); ?>”><?php _e(‘Entries <abbr title=”Really Simple Syndication”>RSS</abbr>’); ?></a></li>
<li><a href=”<?php bloginfo(‘comments_rss2_url’); ?>” title=”<?php echo esc_attr(__(‘The latest comments to all posts in RSS’)); ?>”><?php _e(‘Comments <abbr title=”Really Simple Syndication”>RSS</abbr>’); ?></a></li>

And delete them. Afterwards make sure that you save this edited widgets.php file, and upload it into the wp-includes folder overwriting the original file. Note that the above example is shown only to remove the references to the Entries RSS and Comments RSS. If you want to also remove the reference to WordPress.Org, then you must also delete the following line:

<li><a href=”http://wordpress.org/” title=”<?php echo esc_attr(__(‘Powered by WordPress, state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform.’)); ?>”>WordPress.org</a></li>


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How to quickly re-start your PC

Sometimes you might notice that you’re browsing the Internet or, say, in the middle of doing a PowerPoint presentation or compiling a spreadsheet, and….. your PC has slowed down so much that you become frustrated. This can happen because memory usage increases and slows down the applications and processes on your PC. When this happens I used to re-start my PC, and go make a cup of coffee while I’m waiting for my PC to re-boot.

However, I found this tip on one of the forums I visit regularly. You can re-start your PC with just one click in virtually 3-4 seconds, following these simple instructions.

  1. Right click on an empty area your desktop and select New, Shortcut.
  2. In the box,  type the following text:   %windir%system32rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
  3. Press Next.
  4. Save this Shortcut with a name, e.g. “Restart-Hack”.
  5. Press Finish.

And now….. whenever your computer starts slowing down, close all applications and double-click on this desktop shortcut  to get your computer running at a normal pace again.

Please note that on some occasions your PC might have slowed down also if your antivirus software is actively doing a full scheduled scan. If this is the case, you will be able to see that this is happening because your antivirus programme will have informed you that a scan is now live. If you are in the middle of something important that needs to be done quickly you can always pause the scan – or even stop it – whilst you finish your work.


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How to safeguard your WordPress blog

I recently had to research how to protect my own weblogs and those of my clients after one got badly hacked.

To protect my weblogs I have ended up installing even more plugins than I had before. I’m not keen on doing this, since invariably there crops up a plugin that one installs that all of a sudden makes the simplest action no longer possible. For example, I recently tried to help a friend out who was having problems with his polls plugin. I did some research and ultimately, after testing the WP-Polls plugin on one of my sites,  suggested he tried it. I left the WP-Polls plugin on my site, but found that I was unable to insert a hard break (a line) in between my photos in a post. This was a bit of a disaster since this site is a photo gallery site. I tried all sorts of options – including the html route which I prefer – all to no avail. Suddenly my WordPress photo gallery site decided that it no longer liked paragraphs, nor did it want to display my photos neatly with a line in between each of the series of photos. I knew this was due to the WP-Polls plugin because it’s the only major back-end change I have made in the last few days. At some point I will probably uninstall the WP-Polls plugin, but for the time being I might make use of it.  🙂 To make the page break reappear I had to install – yet another plugin – the TinyMCE Advanced plugin. Continue reading How to safeguard your WordPress blog


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How To Recognize Signs Of Spyware

Spyware is the software that collects information about your online activities and preferences. The information is then sent to another computer with the intention of selling it to online advertisers.

Adware is software that displays advertisements like banners and pop-ups on your computer. It may also track the preferences of the user without his knowledge. If adware keeps building up on your computer you may face a deluge of pop-ups, banners and search tool bars, making it difficult for you to work. Adware infection may change your homepage repeatedly. Mysterious toolbars may appear on your browser. Your computer may run at a noticeably slower speed or there may be other mysterious changes on your computer. Continue reading How To Recognize Signs Of Spyware


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First Encounters with WordPress

May/June 2009

Although I was first there to open a blogger account and use it – albeit temporarily – I’m finding the concept of using WordPress as a fully integrated website not so easy-going. After spending a couple of weeks just diving into it, with only a small amount of research and reading, I have realised that I need to make a plan! I have agreed with a ‘new’ client (who will be named AW) what he wants out of the website, and now it’s up to me to implement it. That is, firstly choose the most suitable theme. And this is for me so far the most difficult part. The World Wide Web seems to be inundated with WordPress templates – both free and premium – and the more of them I see, the less unsure I become of which one to use! I’ve opted for a paid theme (or at least AW has since he’s the one with the money); unfortunately there is quite a steep learning curve here. Now for someone who is au fait and more reaxed than me with CSS coding, this would be a doddle. After all I have a manual and a good support forum at hand to help me out. In some ways it’s like learning a new language: I’m finding that slowly I’m not needing my translating dictionary so much! *sighs*

Hush now, I need to get back to work….

P.S I really am enjoying myself, but wish I could devote much more time to the learning process. I have a feeling I will have finished AW’s website BEFORE I find the time to read the three supposedly-helpful e-books I’ve bought to guide me.

Firstly, I have to say that one of the reasons it’s taking me so long to design and get AW’s WordPress website up and running is because I keep getting distracted! Distracted by visiting other links – some relevant to the work I’m doing, and others possibly not, but all quite interesting on the whole… and divertive. For example, I knew I had to open accounts with Youtube, Flickr, AdSense, Twitter (?) and let Technorati know about the ‘blog’. But then I discovered such websites as Scribd (check it out). It was new to me, persuaded me to open an account and led me naturally into a quite different direction. But it was fun, and has countless possibilities for me in both work and play areas.

Another thing which slowed me down was having to design the banner for AW’s website: the right photo, the right dimensions and resolution. I was quite proud of myself when I uploaded it… only to find that it contrasted badly with the white title header. I’m going to live with it for a while though, until I get inspired to come up with a solution – and have a couple of spare hours. The banner and title are bearable, and perhaps it may be only me who is being too pendantic about it.

I’ve more or less sorted out the layout of the site. What helped me today was the fact that I actually drew on paper my proposed design for it, taking into account that soon I will be adding videos and photos (a slideshow or gallery) to it. I’m happy with it at the moment, but who knows what will happen when I download and add more Plugins and Widgets?!

I’m also getting more to grips with the CSS stylesheet and the PHP footer, header, sidebars, etc. files. I am gradually re-theming the original theme I chose!

Time to do a backup now….

I’m spending time this evening fine-tuning the site by tweaking the theme template. I was pleased to note that AW’s site received its first legitimate comment today. This made me realise that, although the comment was listed in the left sidebar under “Recent Comments”, there was no comments label on the post where the comment was made. This appears to be a glitch or, most probably, just accidentally omitted from the theme template. After a while I manged to change the code in the theme’s index.php file to show the number of comments – or not – in each post. However, I did this on my site which I use as a guinea pig for testing. It works here, but not on AW’s site. I’m rather all over the place at the moment trying to find the right code to change, but it is rather puzzling that it would work on this site and not on the other. After all, I’m using the same theme for both sites – temporarily. The only thing that comes to mind is that I upgraded to WordPress 2.6.2 on my client’s site, but not on this one…. yet. Perhaps some a file or two have not uploaded correctly?

I feel a headache coming on from spending so much time staring at code on the screen; I shall carry on just a little longer tonight till I get this obstacle out of the way. Will report back tomorrw, hopefully positively!

I was also pleased to see that we are getting visitors to both sites. Although anyone visting this site (mine) needs to know that at present I am only using it for test purposes to improve AW’s site.

I’ve definitely become addictive to WordPress, but still can’t determine whether I prefer it more than just an “ordinary” website. There are pros and cons, and personally I see more cons, but perhaps because I am still at the learning stage…, or expecting too much.


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