Apologies to anyone who tried visiting meyerweb in the very near past and found it broken. I’d noticed that suddenly all kinds of comment spam were getting past Akismet and landing in the moderation queue, and was just preparing to ask the spam-fighters about it when I discovered that the blog portions of the site were throwing a PHP error about not being able to find a function I’d written into a plugin.
At which point I discovered that all my WordPress plugins had been deactivated. I know I didn’t do that, so how they all got turned off remains a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve turned all the ones I need back on, and things appear to be back to normal.
So Akismet wasn’t being evaded by the spam: it was simply switched off. Good thing my non-plugin defenses caught everything that poured in during the outage. Which, come to think of it, must all have been direct-submit spam, since there wouldn’t have been a comment form available on the entire site. So what they were really avoiding was my direct-submission defensive plugin, not Akismet.
Well, either way, other defensive measures protected the site, so all’s well there. I’m certainly not thrilled about the site having been largely offlined for a short period, and again, my apologies to anyone who got blocked from information they wanted.
This episode has actually given me cause to reconsider my usual preference to put site navigation at the end of the document source. When the PHP failed, the navigation was never served up. Had I put it at the top of the page, it would’ve been present even though the blog posts were failing. Getting to the static areas of the site would have been possible. Due to my structural choices, a script failure dramatically affected the usability of the site as a whole.
Something worth thinking about as I slowly work on improving the organization of meyerweb.