WordPress plugin to remotely manage and automate multiple WordPress sites

Hello! Being a Toronto based web design and development agency means that we interact with a significant number of WordPress sites. This tends to happen when a project starts (obviously), but often continues after a site is launched. This is something that we offer along the lines of “post launch maintenance”. By no means once a site is launched is our job done, and I’m sure a lot of other people in the industry can relate. If you follow the WP Vulnerability database notifications (if you don’t, you should), then you will see many notifications per day with various plugin or core vulnerability announcements. For this reason, among many others, we found ourselves struggling to automate and streamline the management of many client websites. We’re a fan of automation and have published articles on our efforts to integrate WordPress with Jenkins. With that particular plugin, we were able to automate […]

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 Woocommerce plugin to disable payment methods based on zip or postal codes

Hello! Woocommerce is a great easy-to-implement and versatile e-commerce platform. With the robust development community, expanding the core functionality can be relatively straight forward with the availability of a wide assortment of 3rd party plugins for Woocommerce. One of the things that we felt was missing, but a simple requirement, was the ability to manipulate the payment methods available based on the zip or postal code of the customer. This means that under certain conditions, the end-user will have a catered list of payment methods available to them. The system would need to have the ability to “Remember” the user, and subsequently the available payment methods, even if they came back later to purchase with a different postal or zip code. Why is this necessary? There could be many different justifications for this type of behavior with Woocommerce. If you are offering products and services to customers on a national […]

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 […]