I received “New Follower” notification but do not see in followers list

Before you continue reading this article, make sure if these mystery followers are using outlook(dot)com email address? If yes, proceed to read the rest of the article. If not, then this article is not useful for you.

Background

This started circa January 2018 and few WordPress.com users reported this. WordPress.com team swung into action and the attack stopped. This restarted circa April 2018. A few WordPress.com blogs are hit by these spam followers. WordPress.com team is aware and working to resolve this issue. So far, they have been successful in removing these spam followers automatically. However, they are still not able to control the notifications emails pertaining to these spam/ mystery followers.

Is my account hacked?

Thank you for trying to stay safe on the Internet. No, your account is not hacked, as long as your issue is related to receiving these spam outlook email followers only.

What is the purpose of these spammers?

It’s not easy to tell the purpose of these spammers. As one of the WordPress.com staff mentioned in the WordPress.com support forums:

They’re either trying to overload WordPress.com’s email servers to try and take down the service, or they’re hoping people would email them back to thank them for following, thereby giving them new email addresses they can spam or hack.

What are my options

There is nothing much that you can do at the moment. The best option for you is to ignore these spam followers. To avoid the annoyance of receiving email notifications you have few options as listed below:

  1. Quoting a staff from the WordPress.com support forums:

    The best workaround for you is going to be setting up a filter in your actual email for these followers emails. This will prevent them from reaching your inbox, saving you some aggravation.

  2. Disable the email notifications from your WordPress.com account
    1. Go to https://wordpress.com/me/notifications page
    2. Click “V” sign to the right of your site name
    3. Uncheck the box for “Site follows” notifications
    4. Click “Save Settings” button
    5. You can disable the email notifications again when this problem is controlled

What I should not do?

Do not reply to any of the followers as that could expose you to more spam.

Why do I need a WordPress.com account?

Why do I need a WordPress.com account?

Very valid question if you are using WordPress on a web host other than WordPress.com.

One line answer is if you are using or want to use Gravatar, Akismet, JetPack, WooCommerce, VaultPress, Poll Daddy (all of these or any one of these) you would need a WordPress.com account.

A detailed answer would need an explanation of the features/ benefits of all the above. However, that would make this post too long, so we’ll stick to a brief intro of few (taken from their respective websites) of these.

Gravatar: Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

Are you sure that any of the above-mentioned tools are not useful for your WordPress site? If yes, then we would agree that you don’t need a WordPress.com account.

Akismet: Used by millions of websites, Akismet filters out hundreds of millions of spam comments from the Web every day.

JetPack (Affiliate Link): Jetpack augments WordPress core by providing the tools everyone needs to build, manage and secure their websites. JetPack users don’t have to find, evaluate, install, activate, learn, and configure dozens of plugins when Jetpack is included with their WordPress. They also don’t have to worry about security, updates, and other ongoing maintenance tasks.

WooCommerce (Affiliate Link): The most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business. With hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce extensions, spanning all your logistical & technical requirements, you can rest assured there’s an extension for your specific needs.

Are you sure that any of the above-mentioned tools are not useful for your WordPress site? If yes, then we would agree that you don’t need a WordPress.com account.

NextGEN Scroll Gallery on WordPress – Error on page: Warning: Division by zero

NextGEN Scroll Gallery on WordPress – Error on page: Warning: Division by zero

Few days back my hosting company send me a warning that disk space consumption on my server has hit 80%. I was shocked because no new client came on board. I became worried thinking if my server has been compromised or any account on the box has been hacked! I instantly logged into the server and tried to figure out the domain consuming disk space more than the allocated quota. Once I was able to figure out the domain, I instantly started analyzing it’s disk consumption folder wise. All this lead me to a error_log file which grew up to 18 GB in last 15 days time. This site has average 1500 visitors per day. I inspected the error_log to see which page is generating so many errors and to my surprise it was a page with NextGen Scroll Gallery. This gallery page was created two years ago and didn’t had an iota of any error till last 15 days. Now, the page was full of several lines showing following error:

Warning: Division by zero in nggScrollGallery.php on line 296

Of course, it had folder name etc. prepended  to the script name (which I have omitted here due to same security reason). In order to try and solve this error, I created a new gallery page but it worked fine. I compared both the gallery page (the one which was generating errors and the newly created one). Everything was same except the gallery id. I created another page with same gallery id. This time the error showed up. So, the problem was with gallery.

I went to manage gallery option and re-generated the thumbnails but this didn’t solve the problem. Then I imported meta data for all the images in gallery. The next moment the gallery was working fine. Seems, somehow the meta data information for images in the gallery got corrupted or deleted. Re-importing this information solved the issue. After that I deleted the error_log and my disk consumption status also went back to normal.

New exciting changes in upcoming wordpress 3.9

WordPress 3.9 is due for release in mid-April. While the RC 1 was released last week, we take a look at some improved / new exciting features of WordPress 3.9:

  • Updated TinyMCE – The software powering the visual editor has been updated to 4.0 (latest version).
  • Added widget management to live previews –  You can now test editing, adding, and rearranging widgets.
  • Ability to upload, crop, and manage header images, without needing to leave the preview.
  • Drag-and-drop images – Now, you can drag drop images directly onto the editor to upload them.
  • Improved image editing capabilities Making changes to an image after inserting it into a post is lot easier now.
  • New audio/video playlists feature – More details are awaited on this.

If you are the adventoures type soul, download and use WordPress Beta Tester plugin or you can download the release candidate (Zip version) and test it on a test site. Beware it’s not final version so using it on a production site may be dangerous.

US$ 15500 as cash prize in 2010 .INFO awards

Afilias, the registry operator for the .INFO domain, had lanched .INFO Awards 2007 . For initial two years (2007 and 2008) awards were conducted in Germany only. However, increasing popularity and success made Afilias expand the program internationally in 2009. Now in 2010, .Info awards program is open to all .INFO site owners, anywhere around the world.

2010 .INFO Awards

The call for entry ends on September 10, 2010. A panel of experts in the fields of website design and media will review submitted sites and determine a shortlist of the ten best .INFO websites. Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Presentation of content
  • Functionality of the site
  • Design
  • Usability
  • Originality

The short list will be published on October 5, 2010. The public may vote on their favorte .INFO site on the short list from October 5, 2010 until November 2, 2010. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter. A number of cash prizes are on for the winners.

Entry Requirements

  1. Entrants for the .INFO Awards must be the valid Registrant of the .INFO Domain Name submitted.
  2. The contact information of the Entrant must match one of the Registrant contacts in the .INFO Whois.
  3. The submitted website can represent institutions, associations, corporations, blogs, or individuals. The site may not violate the .INFO Domain Name Abuse Policy. Websites containing content that is pornographic, illegal, or otherwise deemed by the panel in its sole discretion to be offensive will not be considered.
  4. Staff members of Afilias, its holding companies, and ELEMENT C are excluded from participation. Previous winners of the .INFO Awards are not eligible.
  5. All address data will be stored with Afilias database. Multiple entries and automatically generated data will be excluded from participation.
  6. Winners will be announced on or before November 8, 2010.
  7. Winners must possess a valid physical address and phone number.
  8. This program is governed by the laws of the Republic of Ireland. Participation in this program is void where prohibited by law.

Prizes
The winners of the 2010 .INFO Awards will be awarded the following cash prizes:

  1. 1st Prize: US$7500
  2. 2nd Prize: US$5000
  3. 3rd Prize: US$3000

To participate in the .INFO awards, visit http://www.info-award.info/

About .INFO

Registrations in .INFO first became available in 2001. INFO Domains are currently available in ten Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) scripts. For more information on .INFO please visit www.info.info.

Win Rs.30,000 and a trip to the Mumbai IndiBlogger Meet!

As per an announcement received from IndiaBlogger team, all the Indian Bloggers stand a chance to Win Rs 30,000/- and a chance to fly to Mumbai (and back) on August 15th for the Mumbai IndiBlogger Meet! All you have to do is:

  • Take a quick pledge to fight heart disease at the Billion Hearts Beating website.
  • Blog about your pledge and encourage your readers to take a pledge themselves. That’s right, you only need to submit one post, not five as in early contests organized by IndiBlogger!

Check out the rules, other prizes and nominate your blog now at IndiBlogger website

If you have already taken a pledge and nominated your blog, you don’t have to do so again. Your nomination is still valid.

Good luck, and keep blogging!

Install health check plugin to see if you are ready for WordPress 3.2

In a recent announcement WordPress team has announced that version 3.2 of WordPress will not support PHP 4 and MySQL 4. WordPress 3.1, which is due in late 2010, will be the last version of WordPress to support PHP 4.

WordPress 3.2, due in the first half of 2011, the minimum required PHP version will be raised to 5.2. The new required MySQL version for WordPress 3.2 will be 5.0.15.

Since the vast majority of WordPress users are using PHP 5.2 and it offers substantial improvements over earlier PHP 5 releases. It is also the minimum PHP version that the Drupal and Joomla projects will be supporting in their next versions, both due out this year.

WordPress users will not be able to upgrade to WordPress 3.2 if their hosting environment does not meet these requirements. The built-in updater will prevent the upgrade process in case it find PHP or MySQL to be below the required version.

To determine which versions your host provides WordPress team has created the Health Check plugin. Right now, Health Check will only tell you if you’re ready for WordPress 3.2. In a future release it will provide all sorts of useful information about your server and your WordPress install, so hang on to it!

In summary: WordPress 3.1, due in late 2010, will be the last version of WordPress to support PHP 4 and MySQL 4. WordPress 3.2, due in the first half of 2011, will require PHP 5.2 or higher, and MySQL 5.0.15 or higher. Install the Health Check plugin to see if you’re ready!

How to solve Avast freezing computer problem?

I was working on my computer when all of sudden it stopped working. Ctrl+Alt+Del won’t help. Power off button won’t do anything. At last I had to switch off the power supply to restart it. Again after few minutes of working same thing happened and in a span of 2 hours I had to restart my computer for more than 15 times. I was going crazy as I had replaced my hard disk few weeks back and switching off power too frequently could cause damage to it.

My first doubt went on some virus which might have sneaked in my system, though I am using Avast home edition since long and never had any problem. I started scanning my computer and it froze again. I restarted the system again and thought of updating Avast first. I know, it updates itself automatically but sometimes I go fanatic. Run of “Update engine and virus definitions” went fine. I thought of running “Update Program” too. As soon as I select this option computer froze again. My doubt on some smart Trojan / Malware / Virus was getting stronger. But when after 5 reboots and attempt to run “Update program” went fruitless, I uninstalled and reinstalled Avast. No use, still same problem. I googled and came to know about Avast clean uninstall utility. I went through the instructions given on the utility page at avast website, downloaded, uninstalled avast using this utility and then did a fresh installation of Avast.

After this all the updates went just fine and it has been four hours continuous work without any reboot :).

“Thelonious” (WordPress 3.0) released

WordPress 3.0, codenamed “Thelonious”, the thirteenth major release of WordPress and the culmination of half a year of work by 218 contributors, is now available for download. Major new features in this release include a new sexy default theme called Twenty Ten (2010). Theme developers have new APIs that allow them to easily implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies. Twenty Ten theme shows all of that off for ease of use. Developers and network admins will appreciate the long-awaited merge of MU and WordPress, creating the new multi-site functionality which makes it possible to run one blog or ten million from the same installation. As a user, you will love the new lighter interface, the contextual help on every screen, the 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements, bulk updates so you can upgrade 15 plugins at once with a single click, and blah blah blah just watch the video.(In HD, if you can, so you can catch the Easter eggs.)

http://v.wordpress.com/wp-content/plugins/video/flvplayer.swf?ver=1.21

For more details go to WordPress Blog announcement.

Renew your domain (.COM and .NET) now!!!

Come July 1st, and after an increase in domain name prices in 2008, Verisign will again exercise its contractual right to raise domain name prices. The base registration price for .com domain names will be hiked by at least 7% and that of .net will be hiked by 10% for all registrars. This price hike is being made under VeriSign’s contract (which runs through 2012) with ICANN. No doubt that like always, registrars will pass the price increase on to customers.

It helps to note that the ICANN has given VeriSign a monopoly over the .com and .net TLDs, allowing the company to hike prices up each year. Assuming that VeriSign continues the 7 percent rise each year (which seems reasonable as per the company’s history), registrars will be looking at $9.00 for .com domains by the time the current contract ends in 2012—a 50 percent increase in six years.

If you plan to register / renew a domain name, do it now before price increase. You will save some money or  regret later.