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WP-Ban WordPress Plugin Problem

I have already written about recieving more than a hundred spams a day from two ip addresses in recent days. Most of my spams came from only these two ip addresses, and as I was really annoyed, I decided to ban these two ip addresses. I looked for a way to ban these ip addresses, and finally found a plugin, wp-ban. It is easy to install and does its job efficiently. Once I installed the plug in, the spam count falls to less than five a day. That is very good.I can now finally get rid of the spammer from these two ip addresses.

A few days later, one of the Burmese bloggers Thet Htoo, blog about my sites. While writing about my sites, he mentioned about my site not being able to access by proxy software. He also mentioned the proxy software was also banned by ebay. I thought it was because the proxy software he used was using the same ip addresses that the spammers used to spam my site, and I wrote a post warning about using proxy softwares and sites.

Yesterday, when I open my blog from my home, I was really surprised to find that I was greeted with the message “You are banned”!!! I was really really surprised. I was sure I am not banning myself, and a brief check on my ip address showed that my ip address is different from the ones I banned. I refreshed the page but still greeted with the same banned message. I tried to log in and I was easily able to log in without any difficulty. After I log in, I was able to see my blog again! I was busy yesterday morning, and could not think of it anymore.

Another day, another blogger PKay left a comment in my blog post mentioning he could not access my blog from Myanmar. He said he was not using any proxy software to read my blog. In order to be able to read my posts, he said he had to use a freedom software. At this point, I realize there was something wrong with my wp-ban plugin. Somehow, my wp-ban plugin was showing the banned message to my visitors. I looked for the bug or problem report about the wp-ban plugin, and found a number of discussions about this in the wordpress forum.

Here is the problem. There is no bug or anything wrong with the wp-ban plugin. It did the job properly, and banned the ip addresses the spammers used. Unfortunately, I was also using the wp-cach plugin to cache the dynamic pages in order to reduce the workload on the server, and to reduce the loading time. The problem was, whenever the spammer tried to assess my pages, he was greeted with the banned message. However, this was cached by the wp-cache and the next time a normal visitor visited my site, he was greeted with the “You are banned” message, not by the wp-banned, but by the wp-cache. Thus, anyone who visited the site after the spammer sees only the cached page. This is bad. If google visited my page after the spammer, it will only read my cached page, and will record it as the normal page. It will severely damage my search engine standing.

So what is the solution. You have two options: to disable the wp-ban which will leave you vulnerable to the spam attacks from the specific ip addresses, or to disable the wp-cache which will make your pages load slower. You cannot have both. You can have only one. It is the choice you have to make. So, next time you want to install wp-ban, make sure you are not running the wp-cache or wp-super cache plugin together. In case you really need to ban somebody, you can disable the wp-cache/super-cache so that your regular visitors are not confronted with the banned message.

My sincere apology to all of my visitors who had been greeted with the unintentional “You are banned” message. It will never occur again.

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