16+1 lessons I learned from my hacked blog

LGR Hacked
LGR Hacked

A few days ago, Stratos’ Sphere was hacked, or «defaced». I’m guessing that’s what it was, because the attached image was what visitors would see, instead of my blog. This was quite ironic, actually, since I had just attended a security seminar (at work) where the «I’m safe because I’m small» attitude was found to be one of the most frequent reasons leading to hacked sites.

Here’s my account of what I had done wrong to end up with a hacked blog and what I did wrong while trying to recover, which may help others to avoid this situation or to make a faster and easier comeback.

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Livefyre

I’m currently trying out the livefyre comment management system, but it’s taking loads and loads of time for its first time run – particulartly to import all pre-existing comments. New comments are possible, older comments will appear when the process is complete. Sorry about that.

Upd: Now fixed!

Make your blog super fast with W3 Total Cache plugin

I have recently installed the W3 Total Cache plugin, and it has made a tremendous difference. I have no specific metrics, but the feeling I have is as if it loads at least three times faster!! WOW!

What makes the biggest contribution is CDN (content delivery network), which I set up on a subdomain. It is not the easiest thing to do and it took a couple hours of tweaking to get it just right. I mostly followed the instructions found here:

I also got some hints from How To Install W3 Total Cache Tutorial – Setup Guide and How To Install W3 Total Cache 0.9 Setup Guide.

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How to set up «Your Own URL Shortener» (YOURLS)

Keeping up appearances

There was something that annoyed me for some time: whenever I tried to copy-paste an Internet address written in Greek, the copied text would not appear in Greek; it would appear in some weird coding, where non-Latin characters were replaced by the ASCI code equivalent of the characters. That would (a) take up too much space and (b) appear gibberish and no-one could tell what it meant.

For example, what do you make of the following mess?

Original:

https://laspas.gr/2010/02/04/βιταμίνη-d3-το-καλύτερα-κρυμμένο-μυστικ/

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WordPress CKEditor with native browser spelling

If you’re using WordPress for blogging, then you should check out the plugin CKEditor for WordPress. There’s a nice demo of what it looks like

Regarding spelling, CKEditor has its own spell checker and also SCAYT. However, some bloggers may prefer to use the browser‘s embedded spell checker. For example, I use the «English & Greek» dictionary with Firefox, which really saves time as it checks spelling in two languages at once.

In order to be able to use the functionality of the embedded spell checker, you need two things: re-enable the embedded spell checker, which is disabled by default after CKEditor’s installation and then re-enable the browser’s original right-click context menu. That’s how you do it:

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