How to cache queries to admin-ajax.php in WordPress to improve performance

Hello! Working with wordpress for a while now, we noticed that many actions, whether administrative in nature or building a WordPress query on the front end, are dependent on the built-in admin-ajax.php or WordPress AJAX API. Since many 3rd party plugins depend on this Ajax API to dynamically push and pull data, it is unfortunately a common occurrence to have the performance of a site impacted when many AJAX API calls are happening. One of the tell tale signs of admin-ajax.php performance issues can be seen when inspecting the network connections of rendering a particular page on your WordPress site. If you filter “admin-ajax.php” in your network tab of the developer console in your browser, you should see clearly the admin-ajax.php POST that may be taking too long. In our experience, some post grid plugins that make it easy to render a grid of posts on your page heavily rely […]

How to implement a government ID verification system with Woocommerce and WordPress

  Need this implemented on your site? Click here and fill out our quote form!   Hello! There are many reasons why your Woocommerce store may need a system to accommodate verifying the identity of your customers. Depending on what your selling and the local or federal laws that are in place, having the identity of your consumer verified may be needed for liability or compliance reasons. Additionally under certain conditions within your Woocommerce store (such as orders over a certain amount of money), validating the identity can dramatically reduce the risk of fraud and fraudulent transactions on your site. I’m going to go into details with how to implement a system into your Woocommerce store that will accommodate the following : Provide a section within the Woocommerce “my account” area for end-users to upload a digital image of their ID Add a new field for the user details to […]

How to make bulk changes to WordPress Woocommerce product attributes with PHP

Hello! Sometimes its necessary to make site-wide changes to WordPress posts in order to save time and programmatically propagate changes without having to edit each post one at a time. For bulk manipulation of WordPress data, it is sometimes effective to write a command line PHP script to hook into your WordPress environment and execute changes. One of the main advantages with executing these types of functions on the command line as opposed to a web based interaction is you are not subject to the same execution and other timeout restrictions for web based requests. This means that a command line PHP solution can run longer, which is sometimes needed for complicated efforts. In our example, we will break down the PHP Command line script, how to safely and securely hook into WordPress to take advantage of all the built in functions, and update all the products in our WordPress […]

#DeleteFacebook : How to poison, obfuscate and purge your facebook data before deleting your account

* Update : Thank you Vice for writing an article about my script! Unfortunately it seems as though facebook is actually blocking the ability for anyone to share the article. I wonder why? * Update 2 : Facebook is now allowing the Vice article to be shared, only after about 24 hours of blocking the ability. Hello! Through the course of web design and development, whether it be interacting with frameworks such as Laravel or WordPress, it is sometimes necessary to develop unit, load or stress tests with certain aspects of the user interface. A great set of tools to simulate real world interactions with websites in an automated way is the PhantomJS Webkit. PhantomJS is a “headless” (meaning no actual browser is required) kit that allows you to interact with elements of a rendered webpage. This will allow you to simulate Ajax calls, form submissions and essentially everything that […]

How to use Jenkins and Git to automate code pushes for your Laravel project

Hello! Recently we published guides how to push WordPress sites with Jenkins or how to push WordPress sites with a simple shell script. We thought it might be useful to give an overview of how to streamline your code integration process with Jenkins , GitHub and Bash shell scripting. The script I will outline below is definitely a starting point. There are of course efficiencies that could be made within this script, or perhaps that could be found with porting the logic within the script to Python. The idea behind this process is to automate and streamline code integration across your local development environment and potentially to a “staging” server where unit and other tests can be performed. Lastly a “production” push is included in this script. The strategy is to create a separate git branch for staging and production and to either push code directly or create a pull […]

How to craft an XSS payload to create an admin user in WordPress

Hello! XSS (or cross site scripting) attacks are a common method to maliciously execute actions against a website installation. In particular this type of attack vector is useful when dealing with a CMS like WordPress where you have administrative user accounts to target. This means that if you are able to craft an XSS payload that will ultimately be executed by the administrator of that site, you can essentially do whatever you want. In javascript of course. What I’ll go through in this post is exactly how to capitalize on a particular (old) WordPress plugin vulnerability to deliver a persistent XSS injection (not logged into WordPress) that will later be executed by someone logged into WordPress with higher privileges, such as an administrator. Persistent versus Reflected XSS This is debatable, but to simplify things it would be easiest to describe XSS attacks as being two high level methods : persistent […]

WordPress plugin to get geolocation coordinates from a visitors IP address

Hello! We recently had a requirement from a client to generate content on a page specifically based on the geolocation coordinates of the visitor’s IP address. Now this sort of mechanism isn’t totally new, however we decided to develop a WordPress plugin called Shift8 GeoIP that would obtain this information and set it into an encrypted cookie. The reason why we wanted a plugin to set your coordinates in a cookie was because the mechanism to obtain the geolocation coordinates would never need to change. We could then develop the custom content generation (i.e. finding a “store” nearest to your location) could be done directly in the WordPress theme for the particular page in question. Furthermore, we decided to ensure that the cookie data was encrypted using OpenSSL in PHP to ensure that this geolocation data could not be obtained by third parties by simply reading the cookie data. Below […]

WordPress plugin to integrate Jenkins to streamline your build process

Hello! We love integrating Jenkins into development workflow. Typically Jenkins would be used for custom development projects to streamline the development “push” process in order to seamlessly integrate code changes from a testing / staging environment over to the live environment. For frameworks like Laravel or Django, this works very nicely. Until recently, we haven’t considered integrating Jenkins into our development workflow for WordPress projects simply because it seemed like overkill. It wasn’t until a few larger WordPress projects came along that required a standalone staging site to push changes that we considered actually integrating the push process with Jenkins into the WordPress administrative interface. What this means is that our clients wanted a staging environment to make content and other front facing changes, approve them internally and then initiate a content push from the staging site to the production / live site. From a development perspective we would be […]

IP Address Reputation and intelligence plugin for WordPress

Hello! With WordPress security, there are many methods for hardening and tightening controls, methods for preventing common attack vectors including best practices from a development, systems administration and even 3rd party plugin perspective. Since the rising popularity of “IP Reputation Intelligence” with Corporate networks and streaming services like Netflix, I thought it would be a great opportunity to integrate one of the more powerful machine learning IP Intelligence services into WordPress : Shift8 IP Intel. IP Intelligence is a free service among many paid / commercial alternatives. Though the free tier is limited by a request threshold, the opportunity to significantly reduce malicious traffic from visiting your site is obvious. How this service works is it uses machine learning techniques developed by the service developer to identify your reputation and identify a scoring system associated with your IP. The higher the score, the more likely your IP address is part […]

How to encrypt and execute your PHP code with MCRYPT or OPENSSL

Hello! While the scenario may not necessarily be common in which you would want to encrypt your PHP code and execute it, it is something that I would consider an interesting discussion nonetheless. I fully support free and open source software, however if you are developing an application that manages or monitors systems or services or an application that needs to reside in a “hostile” environment, it might be pertinent to consider encrypting the code before executing it. This protects your code from even being read (and ultimately executed) unless the proper key is passed in order to decrypt it. In the following example & breakdown, we will be (separately) using both the Mcrypt and OpenSSL to encrypt a block of code with a specified key. We will then use that same key to decrypt the encrypted code in order to run it. The reason why I am giving both […]