All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.
It’s episode 208 and we’ve got plugins for Stopping Spam, Conditional Logic, Simple Shortcodes and an awesome new plugin to embed a PDF as easily as an image. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, plugins I’ve got this week are all related to keeping spammers off your website. So, the first one I’ve got here is called Flip it on Spammers: Be the Aggressor. It’s the WP spam hammer is what it is and this plugin here, if you’re looking for a way to block spammers from across the globe, this one is great. You just simply install it. You choose the countries or continents you want to completely block from being able to submit comments and it’s done.
One of the great things I’ve found on it was it also slows down spammers in that it turns the submit button for comments into a timer, and you can set that timer for however long you want. The default is 15 seconds. But if you have a real person going to leave a comment, they’ll have to read your article generally before they can comment, so it’ll take them 15 seconds to get to the bottom of the page anyway, so they won’t even notice the timer.
But all in all, this turned out to be a really great plugin. It works well in conjunction with a couple of other spam plugins I tested out this last week, and I gave this one a top 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: I love the timer.
Marcus: It’s like, “Hey, where do you think you’re going, spammer?” You can’t go down there and hit submit. No way!
John: Well that’s exactly what it does. It prevents the spam bots from popping in and trying to submit immediately.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s awesome. All right, this first one from me is a great plugin. It’s brand new, called GTH Simple Short Codes. And much like what I discussed I guess in the news segment, this plugin gives you fast access to some of the most popular template mods that you can use right in your WordPress editor without knowing anything about templates, themes, PHP — any of that stuff.
What do I mean by that? Well John, here it is: if you want it to do something like the post’s title, right? Just insert the post title somewhere within the post. That’s GTHSS_pagetitle, right? If you want it to display the current user that’s logged in, instead of guest, you could do _username or _displayname, as far as their real name.
If you wanted — now this is where I like it — it displays the current year and month, so I have something that I have to go and update every single month when it’s a new month, and it’s content — it’s actually listing coupons and it’s saying that it’s current for that particular month.
Marcus: Now that helps out for search engine optimization because people are typically looking for the most current ones, so they’ll put the month and year in, so I want it to have that functionality. But I always — always — have to go and update it manually. Now I only have to update it one place, because I’m using the My Short Codes, which I gave a 5 out of 5 on a previous show. But now this way, I don’t ever have to do it again. So it is called GTH Simple Short Codes. It does a lot of the cool things that you would expect to build within a theme, but now you have the power to do that within a post, and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Oh, very nice. All right, the next one I’ve got here is Stop Media Comments Spamming. Now this is something that a lot of people don’t think about in their WordPress website. Every media item you put up, it creates its own page in WordPress. Most of the time we never notice it because we never go to those pages. Or occasionally we might remember to disconnect those pages from the media that’s put up there. But a lot of people don’t realize that and so if you click on a media item and an image or something, it’ll pop open another WordPress page. And at the bottom of that page will be just the media item and then a comment block.
The problem is the spammers have discovered that comment block sitting there and they’ve started to attack that comment block in a place that nobody ever pays attention to. So what this plugin does is it goes in, it’s very simple. You install it, activate it, and it turns off commenting for all media that is uploaded to your WordPress website. A very simple one, it works very well. Gotta like it and I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice! And that’s something, John, that yeah, you don’t know about but the spammers know about it —
Marcus: — because all they have to do is do a Google search. And this is something out there maybe you guys don’t know about. You just type site:http and then whatever your domain is. And it will show you all of the indexed content that is on your site, and that’s actually something that you can keep a personal score of every single month to make sure that Google is indexing more and more of your content.
But when you do that, it exposes all the holes too, so it sees everything that Google sees throughout its navigational crawl. And if you start seeing those attachment pages, those things that come up because of uploading images, then this is definitely one that you’re gonna have to install right away, because it’s gonna get exploited and you’re gonna have wasted traffic going to your site.
So the next plugin I’ve got, John, is called Conditional Logic Solutions. Now I’m a huge fan of being able to hide stuff in the dashboard. What about you?
John: Oh, I love doing that. It’s really important, especially for some clients.
Marcus: So that’s exactly right, because I don’t need clients tinkering around with things in WordPress that they have no business touching. So just like it’s called, CLS, it stands for Conditional Logic Design, which allows you to put control over almost everything in the back end of WordPress. Now what am I talking about, John? I’m talking about first off, groups. So you can say if this person’s an administrator, don’t do any of this stuff. If they’re a regular client, account role access, whatever, a customer, things like that, shut these things off.
Now I’m gonna tell you what these things are. John, you could shut off feature images. You could shut off — not only just shut off, like, “Okay, only this access level can’t see the featured images thing.” Or, you know, it’s infinite as far as what you can shut down in the sidebar. You can remove plugins, you can remove anything you want as far as different options within that administrative menu so that they don’t see it whatsoever.
You could actually get down to the widget groups in different parts of the sidebar, so you could let them have access to one sidebar area where the widgets are but not the other ones, so they only have access to the good stuff. Or, you know, they don’t have access to the good stuff. And it’s a dream come true for any designer that has to deal with their clients in the back end and you really kind to want to shut them out of all the different areas that they could probably cut themselves or burn themselves on.
Marcus: So I gave this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice. It’s always nice to be able to do that. You don’t have to do it too often, but occasionally you just gotta do it.
Marcus: Yes and you know, it’s nice to — this is why I love CMS Commander, John.
Marcus: We always talk about CMS Commander, which is WPPluginsatoz.com/CMSCommand, if my memory serves me correctly. And what’s nice is I set up now — I have a stage site that I use as a template that I just clone over to any new site that I do for a customer. And now I have this, so I can lock down all of the settings, as far as in Conditional Logic Solutions and know that everything from then on is copied with that particular visibility of those different sections in WordPress, completely hidden from view, so it’s very nice.
John: All right, well the final one I’ve got here is a return back to what I did last week, which is the Stop Spammers. Got a little foot-in-mouth disease here, whereas last week I misspoke a little bit about it blocking comment spammers with a message. Well, that was AntiSpam B Plugin that was doing that. But at any rate, this plugin here, aside from what I’m gonna talk about here, I’ve also created a video or a screen capture on how to set this plugin up correctly. You can check it out on my YouTube page, WPPro.ca/YouTube.
And what we’ve got here with this plugin, what it does is the additional things that just made it so much more viable was its connections to the additional honeypot APIs, the Botscout APIs. You could use your WordPress API from a kismet if you wanted to use it for stopping spammers. It’s got numerous checks in there. Some of them dig deep into things like the DNS blacklists that spamhouse.org runs. It checks against the list of spam server IPs, it checks to see if the website visiting you is coming from a TOR server, and on and on.
It helps produce a great anti-spam blacklist of its own. It’ll produce a blacklist of IP addresses, it’ll produce a whitelist of IP addresses — usually your own. So if you log in from different computers or different locations, every place you login from, it’ll track that IP and throw it into the whitelist, keeping you from ever being blacklisted on your own website.
All in all, this plugin just turns out to be fantastic. The Stop Spammers Plugin, a great plugin. Give it a checkout. I had to — I’m not sure if I gave it a 5 last time, but just in case, we’re going to give it a 5-Dragon rating this time.
Marcus: Hmm…I like it. I like it a lot.
John: I do. I put it on my sandbox page and I haven’t seen an inch of spam since I put it on my sandbox page, which used to get just pummeled with spam.
Marcus: Huh…very nice. That’s very nice. I’d love for Google to know that we have all these anti-spam things on. Wouldn’t that be a nice thing to put in a quality score?
John: Hey, it could be.
Marcus: We’re protected over here, you know. Give us a little higher ranking. That’s never gonna happen.
Marcus: But what is gonna happen, John, what seemed like an impossibility is now reality. PDF Embedder is here. John, here’s what it lets you do. It allows you to upload PDFs and embed them straight into your WordPress installation, just like adding images. So it’s just like putting in a featured image. It’s just that easy and they’re automatically sized to the natural shape and size. They’ll just fill the width that’s whatever is available, whether you have a sidebar or a fullscreen or anything like that. Or optionally, you can set the width yourself and the height just gets constrained proportionately automatically.
The nice thing is it’s also responsive, so if a user is looking at it in a different view or perspective or device, then it accommodates accordingly. So this makes it essentially like Slide Share. You’ve seen Slide Share, John.
John: Oh yes.
Marcus: Well, this is exactly what it does is it embeds the PDF just like this. It’s a great thing out there for you designers that have needs of your client to embed PDFs or include PDFs, and that’s anybody that’s a public company that has to put shareholder information or even menus or takeout menus for restaurants, catering menus, things like that — a lot of uses for this. It’s called PDF Embedder, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Holy smokes, we had a perfect deck this time! But yeah —
Marcus: Didn’t we?
John: It’s about time that’s come to pass. I’ve been wanting something like that for ages.
John: So anyway —
Marcus: Yeah, it’s good because now it kind of eliminates Slide Share completely and allows you to house your content on your site, rather than someone else’s.
John: Yes, no doubt. All right, so I covered up in this Flip in on Spammers, which I gave a 5 to, Stop Media Comments Spamming, which I gave a 5 to, and Stop Spammers, which I gave a 5 to.
Marcus: And I reviewed GLS Simple Short Codes and gave that one a 5, Conditional Logic, gave that one a 5, and we just talked about PDF Embedder, which I also gave a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Yes, we did it. We hit a perfect deck this time. Been a while.
Marcus: Yeah, it has.