Quick Tip: Be mindful of your 404s

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The SEO overlords say “Thou shalt provide links on your 404 page”, or something to that effect. Consider this quick tip simply a word of caution for you power users.

Typically a WordPress 404 page will not be cached by your performance plugin of choice or even Varnish in most cases. And a typical 404 page template may look something like:

  • wp_list_pages( 'title_li=' );
  • wp_list_categories( 'sort_column=name&title_li=' );
  • wp_list_authors( 'exclude_admin=0&optioncount=1' );
  • wp_get_archives( 'type=monthly' );
  • wp_get_archives( 'type=postbypost );

All fair and good, right? 95% no harm no foul. Except in possibly these two following circumstances:

  1. Your site has 500, 1000, or even 10,000 posts/authors/categories/tags etc.
  2. Your permalinks get botched by a plugin, and everything but your homepage is 404’ing. (We see this at Page.ly from time to time; some plugins just love to rewrite permalinks — poorly.)

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Dear theme designers: Consider yourselves on notice

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EDIT: The premise of this post is to specifically call attention to the nefarious practice of using base64_ and other php methods to hide links to 3rd party sites in a theme file. The average user has no idea what is going on: a base64_ function in a footer.php or sidebar.php file is a very very strong indicator that their theme designer is up to no good. It is only an indicator though. When in doubt contact your host or the theme designer and ask them to explain what’s going on. – strebel

We see a lot of themes at Page.ly. We see good themes and we see bad themes.

From our vantage point, hosting thousands of WordPress sites, we literally see everything.

MoPappy will host anything under the sun and could care less what app is running or what it is doing. At Page.ly we only manage WordPress, and we have a keen interest in the performance aspect of WordPress at scale.

Stop the base64_ shit. You are a douchebag if you don’t.

A two hundred character string of HTML in order to encode and hide two backlinks is 75k. That is a relatively big file, and also adds overhead to the PHP process when it is decoded every time the page loads.

I would like to take a moment to tell all theme designers, everywhere: stop the base64_encode shit. You are a douchebag if you do this.

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Is Tumblr the new WordPress?

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Today’s editorial has been contributed by Joshua Strebel, co-founder of Page.ly, the Managed WordPress Hosting company.

Yes, this post title is filled will juicy controversy. Intentionally so. However consider it from the following point of view.

In the rare cases someones cancels their service at Page.ly we ask them to share with us a reason why. The following is real feedback from a recent corporate customer that is part of the Viacom media conglomerate.

…[We] just want a blog we can easily theme and post to, not [run] a site primary off it. WordPress is over-complicated over-kill for this, Tumblr works fine and is much easier to deal with…

Wow.

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