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IBM TSM dsmc console client use for listing configured backups, checking set scheduled backups and backup and restore operations howto

Friday, March 6th, 2020

tsm-ibm-logo_tivoli-dsmc-console-client-listing-backups-create-backups-and-restore-on-linux-unix-windows

Creating a simple home based backup solution with some shell scripting and rsync is a common use. However as a sysadmin in a middle sized or large corporations most companies use some professional backup service such as IBM Tivoli Storage Manager TSM – recently IBM changed the name of the product to IBM Spectrum.

IBM TSM  is a data protection platform that gives enterprises a single point of control and administration for backup and recovery that is used for Privare Clouds backup and other high end solutions where data criticality is top.
Usually in large companies TSM backup handling is managed by a separate team or teams as managing a large TSM infrastructure is quite a complex task, however my experience as a sysadmin show me that even if you don't have too much of indepth into tsm it is very useful to know how to manage at least basic Incremental backup operations such as view what is set to be backupped, set-up a new directory structure for backup, check the backup schedule configured, check what files are included and which excluded from the backup store etc. 

TSM has multi OS support ans you can use it on most streamline Operating systems Windows / Mac OS X and Linux in this specific article I'll be talking concretely about backing up data with tsm on Linux, tivoli can be theoretically brought up even on FreeBSD machines via the Linuxemu BSD module and the 64-Bit Tivoli Storage Manager RPMs.
Therefore in this small article I'll try to give few useful operations for the novice admin that stumbles on tsm backupped server that needs some small maintenance.
 

1. Starting up the dsmc command line client

Nomatter the operating system on which you run it to run the client run:

# dsmc

tsm-check-backup-schedule-set-time

Note that usually dsmc should run as superuser so if you try to run it via a normal non-root user you will get an error message like:

[ user@linux ~]$ dsmc
ANS1398E Initialization functions cannot open one of the Tivoli Storage Manager logs or a related file: /var/tsm/dsmerror.log. errno = 13, Permission denied

Tivoli SM has an extensive help so to get the use basics, type help
 

tsm> help
1.0 New for IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Version 6.4
2.0 Using commands
  2.1 Start and end a client command session
    2.1.1 Process commands in batch mode
    2.1.2 Process commands in interactive mode
  2.2 Enter client command names, options, and parameters
    2.2.1 Command name
    2.2.2 Options
    2.2.3 Parameters
    2.2.4 File specification syntax
  2.3 Wildcard characters
  2.4 Client commands reference
  2.5 Archive
  2.6 Archive FastBack

Enter 'q' to exit help, 't' to display the table of contents,
press enter or 'd' to scroll down, 'u' to scroll up or
enter a help topic section number, message number, option name,
command name, or command and subcommand:    

2. Listing files listed for backups

A note to make here is as in most corporate products tsm supports command aliases so any command supported described in the help like query, could be
abbreviated with its first letters only, e.g. query filespace tsm cmd can be abbreviated as

tsm> q fi

Commands can be run non-interactive mode also so if you want the output of q fi you can straight use:

tsm> dsmc q fi

tsm-check-included-excluded-files-q-file-if-backupped-list-backup-set-directories

This shows the directories and files that are set for backup creation with Tivoli.

3. Getting included and excluded backup set files

It is useful to know what are the exact excluded files from tsm set backup this is done with query inclexcl

tsm-check-excluded-included-files

4. Querying for backup schedule time

Tivoli as every other backup solution is creating its set to backup files in a certain time slot periods. 
To find out what is the time slot for backup creation use;

tsm> q sched
Schedule Name: WEEKLY_ITSERV
      Description: ITSERV weekly incremental backup
   Schedule Style: Classic
           Action: Incremental
          Options: 
          Objects: 
         Priority: 5
   Next Execution: 180 Hours and 35 Minutes
         Duration: 15 Minutes
           Period: 1 Week  
      Day of Week: Wednesday
            Month:
     Day of Month:
    Week of Month:
           Expire: Never  

tsm-query-partitions-backupeed-or-not

5. Check which files have been backed up

If you want to make sure backups are really created it is a good to check, which files from the selected backup files have already
a working backup copy.

This is done with query backup like so:

tsm> q ba /home/*

tsm-dsmc-query-user-home-for-backups

If you want to query all the current files and directories backed up under a directory and all its subdirectories you need to add the -subdir=yes option as below:

tsm> q ba /home/hipo/projects/* -subdir=yes
   
Size      Backup Date        Mgmt Class A/I File
   —-      ———–        ———- — —-
    512  12-09-2011 19:57:09    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hfs0106
  1,024  08-12-2011 02:46:53    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm41perf
    512  12-09-2011 19:57:09    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm41test
    512  24-04-2012 00:22:56    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm42upg
  1,024  12-09-2011 19:57:09    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hfs0106/test
  1,024  12-09-2011 19:57:09    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hfs0106/test/test2
 12,048  04-12-2011 02:01:29    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm41perf/tables
 50,326  30-04-2012 01:35:26    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm42upg/PMR70023
 50,326  27-04-2012 00:28:15    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm42upg/PMR70099
 11,013  24-04-2012 00:22:56    STANDARD    A  /home/hipo/projects/hsm42upg/md5check  

  • To make tsm, backup some directories on Linux / AIX other unices:

tsm> incr /  /usr  /usr/local  /home /lib

  • For tsm to backup some standard netware drives, use:

tsm> incr NDS:  USR:  SYS:  APPS:  

  • To backup C:\ D:\ E:\ F:\ if TSM is running on Windows

tsm> incr C:  D:  E: F:  -incrbydate 

  • To back up entire disk volumes irrespective of whether files have changed since the last backup, use the selective command with a wildcard and -subdir=yes as below:

tsm> sel /*  /usr/*   /home/*  -su=yes   ** Unix/Linux

7. Backup selected files from a backup location

It is intuitive to think you can just add some wildcard characters to select what you want
to backup from a selected location but this is not so, if you try something like below
you will get an err.

tsm> incr /home/hipo/projects/*/* -su=yes      
ANS1071E Invalid domain name entered: '/home/hipo/projects/*/*'


The proper way to select a certain folder / file for backup is with:

tsm> sel /home/hipo/projects/*/* -su=yes

8. Restoring tsm data from backup

To restore the config httpd.conf to custom directory use:

tsm> rest /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf  /home/hipo/restore/

N!B! that in order for above to work you need to have the '/' trailing slash at the end.

If you want to restore a file under a different name:

tsm> rest /etc/ntpd.conf  /home/hipo/restore/

9. Restoring a whole backupped partition

tsm> rest /home/*  /tmp/restore/ -su=yes

This is using the Tivoli 'Restoring multiple files and directories', and the files to restore '*'
are kept till the one that was recovered (saying this in case if you accidently cancel the restore)

10. Restoring files with back date 

By default the restore function will restore the latest available backupped file, if you need
to recover a specific file, you need the '-inactive' '-pick' options.
The 'pick' interface is interactive so once listed you can select the exact file from the date
you want to restore.

General restore command syntax is:
 

tsm> restore [source-file] [destination-file]


tsm> rest /home/hipo/projects/*  /tmp/restore/ -su=yes  -inactive -pick

TSM Scrollable PICK Window – Restore

     #    Backup Date/Time        File Size A/I  File
   ————————————————————————————————–
   170. | 12-09-2011 19:57:09        650  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm41test/inclexcl.test
   171. | 12-09-2011 19:57:09       2.74 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm41test/inittab.ORIG
   172. | 12-09-2011 19:57:09       2.74 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm41test/inittab.TEST
   173. | 12-09-2011 19:57:09       1.13 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm41test/md5.out
   174. | 30-04-2012 01:35:26        512  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/PMR70023
   175. | 26-04-2012 01:02:08        512  B  I   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/PMR70023
   176. | 27-04-2012 00:28:15        512  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/PMR70099
   177. | 24-04-2012 19:17:34        512  B  I   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/PMR70099
   178. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       1.35 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/dsm.opt
   179. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       4.17 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/dsm.sys
   180. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       1.13 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/dsmmigfstab
   181. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       7.30 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/filesystems
   182. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       1.25 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/inclexcl
   183. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56        198  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/inclexcl.dce
   184. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56        291  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/inclexcl.ox_sys
   185. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56        650  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/inclexcl.test
   186. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56        670  B  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/inetd.conf
   187. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       2.71 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/inittab
   188. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       1.00 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/md5check
   189. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56      79.23 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/mkreport.020423.out
   190. | 24-04-2012 00:22:56       4.27 KB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/ssamap.020423.out
   191. | 26-04-2012 01:02:08      12.78 MB  A   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/PMR70023/70023.tar
   192. | 25-04-2012 16:33:36      12.78 MB  I   /home/hipo/projects/hsm42125upg/PMR70023/70023.tar
        0———10——–20——–30——–40——–50——–60——–70——–80——–90–
<U>=Up  <D>=Down  <T>=Top  <B>=Bottom  <R#>=Right  <L#>=Left
<G#>=Goto Line #  <#>=Toggle Entry  <+>=Select All  <->=Deselect All
<#:#+>=Select A Range <#:#->=Deselect A Range  <O>=Ok  <C>=Cancel
pick> 


To navigate in pick interface you can select individual files to restore via the number seen leftside.
To scroll up / down use 'U' and 'D' as described in the legenda.

 

11. Restoring your data to another machine

In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to restore some, or all, of your data onto a machine other than the original from which it was backed up.

In ideal case the machine platform should be identical to that of the original machine. Where this is not possible or practical please note that restores are only possible for partition types that the operating system supports. Thus a restore of an NTFS partition to a Windows 9x machine with just FAT support may succeed but the file permissions will be lost.
TSM does not work fine with cross-platform backup / restore, so better do not try cross-platform restores.
 Trying to restore files onto a Windows machine that have previously been backed up with a non-Windows one. TSM created backups on Windows sent by other OS platforms can cause  backups to become inaccessible from the host system.

To restore your data to another machine you will need the TSM software installed on the target machine. Entries in Tivoli configuration files dsm.sys and/or dsm.opt need to be edited if the node that you are restoring from does not reside on the same server. Please see our help page section on TSM configuration files for their locations for your operating system. 

To access files from another machine you should then start the TSM client as below:

# dsmc -virtualnodename=RESTORE.MACHINE      


You will then be prompted for the TSM password for this machine.

You will probably want to restore to a different destination to the original files to prevent overwriting files on the local machine, as below:

  • Restore of D:\ Drive to D:\Restore ** Windows 

tsm> rest D:\*   D:\RESTORE\    -su=yes 
 

  • Restore user /home/* to /scratch on ** Mac, Unix/Linux

tsm> rest /home/* /scratch/     -su=yes  
 

  • Restoring Tivoli data on old netware

tsm> rest SOURCE-SERVER\USR:*  USR:restore/   -su=yes  ** Netware

12. Adding more directories for incremental backup / Check whether TSM backup was done correctly?

The easiest way is to check the produced dschmed.log if everything is okay there should be records in the log that Tivoli backup was scheduled in a some hours time
succesfully.
A normally produced backup scheduled in log should look something like:

14-03-2020 23:03:04 — SCHEDULEREC STATUS BEGIN
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects inspected:   91,497
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects backed up:      113
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects updated:          0
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects rebound:          0
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects deleted:          0
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects expired:         53
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of objects failed:           6
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Total number of bytes transferred:    19.38 MB
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Data transfer time:                    1.54 sec
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Network data transfer rate:        12,821.52 KB/sec
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Aggregate data transfer rate:        114.39 KB/sec
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Objects compressed by:                    0%
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Elapsed processing time:           00:02:53
14-03-2020 23:03:04 — SCHEDULEREC STATUS END
14-03-2020 23:03:04 — SCHEDULEREC OBJECT END WEEKLY_23_00 14-12-2010 23:00:00
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Scheduled event 'WEEKLY_23_00' completed successfully.
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Sending results for scheduled event 'WEEKLY_23_00'.
14-03-2020 23:03:04 Results sent to server for scheduled event 'WEEKLY_23_00'.

in case of errors you should check dsmerror.log
 

Conclusion


In this article I've briefly evaluated some basics of IBM Commercial Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) to be able to  list backups, check backup schedules and how to the files set to be
excluded from a backup location and most importantly how to check that data backed up data is in a good shape and accessible.
It was explained how backups can be restored on a local and remote machine as well as how to  append new files to be set for backup on next incremental scheduled backup.
It was shown how the pick interactive cli interface could be used to restore files at a certain data back in time as well as how full partitions can be restored and how some
certain file could be retrieved from the TSM data copy.

Block Web server over loading Bad Crawler Bots and Search Engine Spiders with .htaccess rules

Monday, September 18th, 2017

howto-block-webserver-overloading-bad-crawler-bots-spiders-with-htaccess-modrewrite-rules-file

In last post, I've talked about the problem of Search Index Crawler Robots aggressively crawling websites and how to stop them (the article is here) explaning how to raise delays between Bot URL requests to website and how to completely probhit some bots from crawling with robots.txt.

As explained in article the consequence of too many badly written or agressive behaviour Spider is the "server stoning" and therefore degraded Web Server performance as a cause or even a short time Denial of Service Attack, depending on how well was the initial Server Scaling done.

The bots we want to filter are not to be confused with the legitimate bots, that drives real traffic to your website, just for information

 The 10 Most Popular WebCrawlers Bots as of time of writting are:
 

1. GoogleBot (The Google Crawler bots, funnily bots become less active on Saturday and Sundays :))

2. BingBot (Bing.com Crawler bots)

3. SlurpBot (also famous as Yahoo! Slurp)

4. DuckDuckBot (The dutch search engine duckduckgo.com crawler bots)

5. Baiduspider (The Chineese most famous search engine used as a substitute of Google in China)

6. YandexBot (Russian Yandex Search engine crawler bots used in Russia as a substitute for Google )

7. Sogou Spider (leading Chineese Search Engine launched in 2004)

8. Exabot (A French Search Engine, launched in 2000, crawler for ExaLead Search Engine)

9. FaceBot (Facebook External hit, this crawler is crawling a certain webpage only once the user shares or paste link with video, music, blog whatever  in chat to another user)

10. Alexa Crawler (la_archiver is a web crawler for Amazon's Alexa Internet Rankings, Alexa is a great site to evaluate the approximate page popularity on the internet, Alexa SiteInfo page has historically been the Swift Army knife for anyone wanting to quickly evaluate a webpage approx. ranking while compared to other pages)

Above legitimate bots are known to follow most if not all of W3C – World Wide Web Consorium (W3.Org) standards and therefore, they respect the content commands for allowance or restrictions on a single site as given from robots.txt but unfortunately many of the so called Bad-Bots or Mirroring scripts that are burning your Web Server CPU and Memory mentioned in previous article are either not following /robots.txt prescriptions completely or partially.

Hence with the robots.txt unrespective bots, the case the only way to get rid of most of the webspiders that are just loading your bandwidth and server hardware is to filter / block them is by using Apache's mod_rewrite through

.htaccess


file

Create if not existing in the DocumentRoot of your website .htaccess file with whatever text editor, or create it your windows / mac os desktop and transfer via FTP / SecureFTP to server.

I prefer to do it directly on server with vim (text editor)

vim /var/www/sites/your-domain.com/.htaccess

RewriteEngine On

IndexIgnore .htaccess */.??* *~ *# */HEADER* */README* */_vti*

SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Black Hole” bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Titan bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebStripper" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^NetMechanic" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^CherryPicker" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^EmailCollector" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^EmailSiphon" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebBandit" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^EmailWolf" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^ExtractorPro" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^CopyRightCheck" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Crescent" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Wget" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^SiteSnagger" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^ProWebWalker" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^CheeseBot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Teleport" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^TeleportPro" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^MIIxpc" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Telesoft" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Website Quester" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebZip" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^moget/2.1" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebZip/4.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebSauger" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebCopier" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^NetAnts" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Mister PiX" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebAuto" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^TheNomad" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WWW-Collector-E" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^RMA" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^libWeb/clsHTTP" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^asterias" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^httplib" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^turingos" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^spanner" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^InfoNaviRobot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Harvest/1.5" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "Bullseye/1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; BullsEye; Windows 95)" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Crescent Internet ToolPak HTTP OLE Control v.1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^CherryPickerSE/1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^CherryPicker /1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebBandit/3.50" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^NICErsPRO" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Microsoft URL Control – 5.01.4511" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^DittoSpyder" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Foobot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebmasterWorldForumBot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^SpankBot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^BotALot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^lwp-trivial/1.34" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^lwp-trivial" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Wget/1.6" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^BunnySlippers" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Microsoft URL Control – 6.00.8169" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^URLy Warning" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Wget/1.5.3" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^LinkWalker" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^cosmos" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^moget" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^hloader" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^humanlinks" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^LinkextractorPro" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Offline Explorer" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Mata Hari" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^LexiBot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Web Image Collector" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^The Intraformant" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^True_Robot/1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^True_Robot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^BlowFish/1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^JennyBot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^MIIxpc/4.2" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^BuiltBotTough" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^ProPowerBot/2.14" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^BackDoorBot/1.0" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^toCrawl/UrlDispatcher" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^WebEnhancer" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^TightTwatBot" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^suzuran" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^VCI WebViewer VCI WebViewer Win32" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^VCI" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Szukacz/1.4" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^QueryN Metasearch" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Openfind data gathere" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Openfind" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Xenu’s Link Sleuth 1.1c" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Xenu’s" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Zeus" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^RepoMonkey Bait & Tackle/v1.01" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^RepoMonkey" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Zeus 32297 Webster Pro V2.9 Win32" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Webster Pro" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^EroCrawler" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^LinkScan/8.1a Unix" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Keyword Density/0.9" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Kenjin Spider" bad_bot
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^Cegbfeieh" bad_bot

<Limit GET POST>
order allow,deny
allow from all
Deny from env=bad_bot
</Limit>


Above rules are Bad bots prohibition rules have RewriteEngine On directive included however for many websites this directive is enabled directly into VirtualHost section for domain/s, if that is your case you might also remove RewriteEngine on from .htaccess and still the prohibition rules of bad bots should continue to work
Above rules are also perfectly suitable wordpress based websites / blogs in case you need to filter out obstructive spiders even though the rules would work on any website domain with mod_rewrite enabled.

Once you have implemented above rules, you will not need to restart Apache, as .htaccess will be read dynamically by each client request to Webserver

2. Testing .htaccess Bad Bots Filtering Works as Expected


In order to test the new Bad Bot filtering configuration is working properly, you have a manual and more complicated way with lynx (text browser), assuming you have shell access to a Linux / BSD / *Nix computer, or you have your own *NIX server / desktop computer running
 

Here is how:
 

lynx -useragent="Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MegaIndex.ru/2.0; +http://megaindex.com/crawler)" -head -dump http://www.your-website-filtering-bad-bots.com/

Note that lynx will provide a warning such as:

Warning: User-Agent string does not contain "Lynx" or "L_y_n_x"!

Just ignore it and press enter to continue.

Two other use cases with lynx, that I historically used heavily is to pretent with Lynx, you're GoogleBot in order to see how does Google actually see your website?
 

  • Pretend with Lynx You're GoogleBot

lynx -useragent="Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)" -head -dump http://www.your-domain.com/

  • How to Pretend with Lynx Browser You are GoogleBot-Mobile

lynx -useragent="Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)" -head -dump http://www.your-domain.com/


Or for the lazy ones that doesn't have Linux / *Nix at disposal you can use WannaBrowser website

Wannabrowseris a web based browser emulator which gives you the ability to change the User-Agent on each website req1uest, so just set your UserAgent to any bot browser that we just filtered for example set User-Agent to CheeseBot

The .htaccess rule earier added once detecting your browser client is coming in with the prohibit browser agent will immediately filter out and you'll be unable to access the website with a message like:
 

HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden

Just as I've talked a lot about Index Bots, I think it is worthy to also mention three great websites that can give you a lot of Up to Date information on exact Spiders returned user-agent, common known Bot traits as well as a a current updated list with the Bad Bots etc.

Bot and Browser Resources information user-agents, bad-bots and odd Crawlers and Bots specifics

1. botreports.com
2. user-agents.org
3. useragentapi.com

An updated list with robots user-agents (crawler-user-agents) is also available in github here regularly updated by Caia Almeido

There are also a third party plugin (modules) available for Website Platforms like WordPress / Joomla / Typo3 etc.

Besides the listed on these websites as well as the known Bad and Good Bots, there are perhaps a hundred of others that might end up crawling your webdsite that might or might not need  to be filtered, therefore before proceeding with any filtering steps, it is generally a good idea to monitor your  HTTPD access.log / error.log, as if you happen to somehow mistakenly filter the wrong bot this might be a reason for Website Indexing Problems.

Hope this article give you some valueable information. Enjoy ! 🙂

Some standard software programs to install on Windows to make your Windows feel more like a Linux / Unix Desktop host

Friday, March 17th, 2017

linux-freebsd-unix-migration-to-windows-some-useful-customizations-and-program-softwares-to-install-to-make-your-windows-feel-like-more-linux-and-bsd-unix

If you're Windows user like me with a Linux / FreeBSD / OpenBSD / NetBSD – a dedicated Unix user and end up working for financial reasons in some TOP 100 Fortune companies (CSC, SAP, IBM, Hewlett Packard,Enterprise, Oracle) etc.  and forced for business purposes (cause some programs such as Skype for Business Desktop Share does not run fine on Unix like and thus you have to work notebook pre-installed with Windows 7 / 8 or 10 but you're so accustomed to customizations already from UNIX environments and you would like to create yourself the Windows to resemble Linux and probably customize much of how Windows behaves by default.

Here is what I personally did on my work Windows 7 Enterprise on my HP Elitebook notebook to give myself the extra things I'm used to my Debian Linux Desktop.


1. Downloaded and instaled standard gnome-terminal xterm like immediately (E.g. check MobaXterm great alternative to Putty),
2. Changed cutomize Windows 7 appearance to be more like classical Windows XP,  change Windows 8 / 10 start menu appearance to be more like in classic Windows 2000
3. Installed following bunch of softwares

  • VIM Text Editor for Windows
  • Thunderbird Mail Client
  • OpenVPN client
  • Oracle VM Virtualbox
  • Opera
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Password Safe
  • Ext2FS / Ext3FS (support programs)
  • F.lux (to auto adjust screen brightness day and night for better sleep)
  • install ActivePerl for Windows
  • Install GNUWin Tools (and perhaps most importantly)
  • CygWin,  (to provide Windows with most needed console Linux tools), Clink.
  • WinSCP
  • Swish (to be able to remotely mount your Linux partitions and see them as local Windows drives)
  • dosbox (to play some of the good old Dos games :))
  • Windirstat (to easily check the size of complete directory and subdirectories)
  • SpaceSniffer (to be able to see which directory or files are taking the most space on the system)


Along with all above goodies here is also some good software I find essential for every web developer / system administrator / network administrator or java,  C, php pprogrammer out there that's using Windows as his Desktop platrofm.

Another thing I prefer  on Windows 7 when used as workstation is to change the default Windows 7 LogonUI screen background as well check out how here

Perhaps there is plenty of other goodprograms to install on Windows to make it feel even more like a Linux / Unix Desktop host, if you happen to somehow stuck to this article and you've migrated from Llinux / BSD desktop to Windows for work purposes please share with me any other goodies you happen to use that is from *Unix.

Improve Apache Load Balancing with mod_cluster – Apaches to Tomcats Application servers Get Better Load Balancing

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

improve-apache-load-balancing-with-mod_cluster-apaches-to-tomcats-application-servers-get-better-load-balancing-mod_cluster-logo


Earlier I've blogged on How to set up Apache to to serve as a Load Balancer for 2, 3, 4  etc. Tomcat / other backend application servers with mod_proxy and mod_proxy_balancer, however though default Apache provided mod_proxy_balancer works fine most of the time, If you want a more precise and sophisticated balancing with better load distribuion you will probably want to install and use mod_cluster instead.

So what is Mod_Cluster and why use it instead of Apache proxy_balancer ?
 

Mod_cluster is an innovative Apache module for HTTP load balancing and proxying. It implements a communication channel between the load balancer and back-end nodes to make better load-balancing decisions and redistribute loads more evenly.

Why use mod_cluster instead of a traditional load balancer such as Apache's mod_balancer and mod_proxy or even a high-performance hardware balancer?

Thanks to its unique back-end communication channel, mod_cluster takes into account back-end servers' loads, and thus provides better and more precise load balancing tailored for JBoss and Tomcat servers. Mod_cluster also knows when an application is undeployed, and does not forward requests for its context (URL path) until its redeployment. And mod_cluster is easy to implement, use, and configure, requiring minimal configuration on the front-end Apache server and on the back-end servers.
 


So what is the advantage of mod_cluster vs mod proxy_balancer ?

Well here is few things that turns the scales  in favour for mod_cluster:

  •     advertises its presence via multicast so as workers can join without any configuration
     
  •     workers will report their available contexts
     
  •     mod_cluster will create proxies for these contexts automatically
     
  •     if you want to, you can still fine-tune this behaviour, e.g. so as .gif images are served from httpd and not from workers…
     
  •     most importantly: unlike pure mod_proxy or mod_jk, mod_cluster knows exactly how much load there is on each node because nodes are reporting their load back to the balancer via special messages
     
  •     default communication goes over AJP, you can use HTTP and HTTPS

1. How to install mod_cluster on Linux ?


You can use mod_cluster either with JBoss or Tomcat back-end servers. We'll install and configure mod_cluster with Tomcat under CentOS; using it with JBoss or on other Linux distributions is a similar process. I'll assume you already have at least one front-end Apache server and a few back-end Tomcat servers installed.

To install mod_cluster, first download the latest mod_cluster httpd binaries. Make sure to select the correct package for your hardware architecture – 32- or 64-bit.
Unpack the archive to create four new Apache module files: mod_advertise.so, mod_manager.so, mod_proxy_cluster.so, and mod_slotmem.so. We won't need mod_advertise.so; it advertises the location of the load balancer through multicast packets, but we will use a static address on each back-end server.

Copy the other three .so files to the default Apache modules directory (/etc/httpd/modules/ for CentOS).
Before loading the new modules in Apache you have to remove the default proxy balancer module (mod_proxy_balancer.so) because it is not compatible with mod_cluster.

Edit the Apache configuration file (/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf) and remove the line

LoadModule proxy_balancer_module modules/mod_proxy_balancer.so


Create a new configuration file and give it a name such as /etc/httpd/conf.d/mod_cluster.conf. Use it to load mod_cluster's modules:

LoadModule slotmem_module modules/mod_slotmem.so
LoadModule manager_module modules/mod_manager.so
LoadModule proxy_cluster_module modules/mod_proxy_cluster.so

In the same file add the rest of the settings you'll need for mod_cluster something like:

And for permissions and Virtualhost section

Listen 192.168.180.150:9999

<virtualhost  192.168.180.150:9999="">

    <directory>
        Order deny,allow
        Allow from all 192.168
    </directory>

    ManagerBalancerName mymodcluster
    EnableMCPMReceive
</virtualhost>

ProxyPass / balancer://mymodcluster/


The above directives create a new virtual host listening on port 9999 on the Apache server you want to use for load balancing, on which the load balancer will receive information from the back-end application servers. In this example, the virtual host is listening on IP address 192.168.204.203, and for security reasons it allows connections only from the 192.168.0.0/16 network.
The directive ManagerBalancerName defines the name of the cluster – mymodcluster in this example. The directive EnableMCPMReceive allows the back-end servers to send updates to the load balancer. The standard ProxyPass and ProxyPassReverse directives instruct Apache to proxy all requests to the mymodcluster balancer.
That's all you need for a minimal configuration of mod_cluster on the Apache load balancer. At next server restart Apache will automatically load the file mod_cluster.conf from the /etc/httpd/conf.d directory. To learn about more options that might be useful in specific scenarios, check mod_cluster's documentation.

While you're changing Apache configuration, you should probably set the log level in Apache to debug when you're getting started with mod_cluster, so that you can trace the communication between the front- and the back-end servers and troubleshoot problems more easily. To do so, edit Apache's configuration file and add the line LogLevel debug, then restart Apache.
 

2. How to set up Tomcat appserver for mod_cluster ?
 

Mod_cluster works with Tomcat version 6, 7 and 8, to set up the Tomcat back ends you have to deploy a few JAR files and make a change in Tomcat's server.xml configuration file.
The necessary JAR files extend Tomcat's default functionality so that it can communicate with the proxy load balancer. You can download the JAR file archive by clicking on "Java bundles" on the mod_cluster download page. It will be saved under the name mod_cluster-parent-1.2.6.Final-bin.tar.gz.

Create a new directory such as /root/java_bundles and extract the files from mod_cluster-parent-1.2.6.Final-bin.tar.gz there. Inside the directory /root/java_bundlesJBossWeb-Tomcat/lib/*.jar you will find all the necessary JAR files for Tomcat, including two Tomcat version-specific JAR files – mod_cluster-container-tomcat6-1.2.6.Final.jar for Tomcat 6 and mod_cluster-container-tomcat7-1.2.6.Final.jar for Tomcat 7. Delete the one that does not correspond to your Tomcat version.

Copy all the files from /root/java_bundlesJBossWeb-Tomcat/lib/ to your Tomcat lib directory – thus if you have installed Tomcat in

/srv/tomcat

run the command:

cp -rpf /root/java_bundles/JBossWeb-Tomcat/lib/* /srv/tomcat/lib/.

Then edit your Tomcat's server.xml file

/srv/tomcat/conf/server.xml.


After the default listeners add the following line:

<listener classname="org.jboss.modcluster.container.catalina.standalone.ModClusterListener" proxylist="192.168.204.203:9999"> </listener>



This instructs Tomcat to send its mod_cluster-related information to IP 192.168.180.150 on TCP port 9999, which is what we set up as Apache's dedicated vhost for mod_cluster.
While that's enough for a basic mod_cluster setup, you should also configure a unique, intuitive JVM route value on each Tomcat instance so that you can easily differentiate the nodes later. To do so, edit the server.xml file and extend the Engine property to contain a jvmRoute, like this:
 

.

<engine defaulthost="localhost" jvmroute="node2" name="Catalina"></engine>


Assign a different value, such as node2, to each Tomcat instance. Then restart Tomcat so that these settings take effect.

To confirm that everything is working as expected and that the Tomcat instance connects to the load balancer, grep Tomcat's log for the string "modcluster" (case-insensitive). You should see output similar to:

Mar 29, 2016 10:05:00 AM org.jboss.modcluster.ModClusterService init
INFO: MODCLUSTER000001: Initializing mod_cluster ${project.version}
Mar 29, 2016 10:05:17 AM org.jboss.modcluster.ModClusterService connectionEstablished
INFO: MODCLUSTER000012: Catalina connector will use /192.168.180.150


This shows that mod_cluster has been successfully initialized and that it will use the connector for 192.168.204.204, the configured IP address for the main listener.
Also check Apache's error log. You should see confirmation about the properly working back-end server:

[Tue Mar 29 10:05:00 2013] [debug] proxy_util.c(2026): proxy: ajp: has acquired connection for (192.168.204.204)
[Tue Mar 29 10:05:00 2013] [debug] proxy_util.c(2082): proxy: connecting ajp://192.168.180.150:8009/ to  192.168.180.150:8009
[Tue Mar 29 10:05:00 2013] [debug] proxy_util.c(2209): proxy: connected / to  192.168.180.150:8009
[Tue Mar 29 10:05:00 2013] [debug] mod_proxy_cluster.c(1366): proxy_cluster_try_pingpong: connected to backend
[Tue Mar 29 10:05:00 2013] [debug] mod_proxy_cluster.c(1089): ajp_cping_cpong: Done
[Tue Mar 29 10:05:00 2013] [debug] proxy_util.c(2044): proxy: ajp: has released connection for (192.168.180.150)


This Apache error log shows that an AJP connection with 192.168.204.204 was successfully established and confirms the working state of the node, then shows that the load balancer closed the connection after the successful attempt.

You can start testing by opening in a browser the example servlet SessionExample, which is available in a default installation of Tomcat.
Access this servlet through a browser at the URL http://balancer_address/examples/servlets/servlet/SessionExample. In your browser you should see first a session ID that contains the name of the back-end node that is serving your request – for instance, Session ID: 5D90CB3C0AA05CB5FE13121E4B23E670.node2.

Next, through the servlet's web form, create different session attributes. If you have a properly working load balancer with sticky sessions you should always (that is, until your current browser session expires) access the same node, with the previously created session attributes still available.

To test further to confirm load balancing is in place, at the same time open the same servlet from another browser. You should be redirected to another back-end server where you can conduct a similar session test.
As you can see, mod_cluster is easy to use and configure. Give it a try to address sporadic single-back-end overloads that cause overall application slowdowns.

WordPress Plugins to monitor and debug WP enabled plugins – Find Errors / Warnings and Remove WP problematic plugins slowing down your Website (blog) database

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

plugins-to-monitor-debug-wordpress-enabled-plugins-how-to-track-find-errors-and-warnings-and-remove-problematic-wp-extensions-that-slow-down-your-website

Recent days, I'm spending a lot of time again trying to optimize my wordpress blog. Optimizing WP for better efficiency is becoming harder and harder task day by day as the website file content data is growing along with SQL databases. Moreover situation gets even worse because the number of plugins enabled on my blog is incrementally growing with time because, there is more and more goodies I'd like to add.
Optimizing WordPress to run for Speed on a server is a whole a lot of art and its a small universe in itself, because as of time of writting this post the count (number) of WordPress available PLUGINS is 36,197 ! 

1. Manually Tracking WordPress  Plugins causing Slow SQL Queries (MySQL bottleneck) issues directly using console / SSH

Because of its open source development and its nice modular design wordpress has turned into a standard for building small, middle sized and large websites (some WordPress based blogs and sites have from 50 000 to 100 000 unique pages!). My blog is still a small WordPress site with only 1676 posts, so I still haven't reached the high volume traffic optimization requirements but still even though I have a relatively good server hardware  8GB RAM / (2×2.70 Ghz Intel CPU) / 500 GB (7400 RPM HDD) at times I see Apache Webservers is unable to properly serve coming requests because of MySQL database (LEFT JOIN) requests being slow to serve (taking up to few seconds to complete) and creating a MySQL table lock, putting all the rest SQL queries to stay in a long unserved queues line, I've realized about this performance issue by using a a mysql cli (command) client and few commands and console command (tool) called mytop (also known as mtop). MyTop refreshes every 3 seconds, so the slow query will immediately stay on screen to view moer info about it press "f" and type the  in query ID.

mysql-top-running-on-gnu-linux-server-tracking-sql-queries-in-console-screenshot.png

mysql-top-running-on-gnu-linux-server-tracking-sql-queries-in-console-screenshot2

Finally it is very useful to run  for a while MySQL server logging to /var/log/mysql/slow-query.log:
Slow query is enabled (on my Debian 7 Wheezy host) by adding to /etc/mysql/my.cnf
after conf section

vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf
#
# * Logging and Replication
#
# Both location gets rotated by the cronjob.
# Be aware that this log type is a performance killer.
# As of 5.1 you can enable the log at runtime!
#general_log_file        = /var/log/mysql/mysql.log
#general_log             = 1
#
# Error logging goes to syslog due to /etc/mysql/conf.d/mysqld_safe_syslog.cnf.
#
# Here you can see queries with especially long duration

Paste:

slow_query_log = 1
slow_query_log_file = /var/log/mysql/slow-query.log
long_query_time = 2
log-queries-not-using-indexes

And then to make new mysql configuration load restarted mysql server:

debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart
Stopping MySQL database server: mysqld.
Starting MySQL database server: mysqld ..
Checking for tables which need an upgrade, are corrupt or were
not closed cleanly..

Leaving mysql-slow.log to be enabled for 30 minutes to an 1 hrs is a good time to track most problematic slow queries and based on this queries, I took parts of  SQL UPDATE / SELECT / INSERT etc. Db queries which was problematic and grepped throughout /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugin files in order to determine which WordPress Plugin is triggering the slow query, causing blog to hang when too many clients try to see it in browser.

My main problematic SQL query having long execution time  (about 2 to 3 seconds!!!) most commonly occuring in slow-query.log was:

SELECT DISTINCT post_title, ID, post_type, post_name FROM wp_posts wposts LEFT JOIN wp_postmeta wpostmeta ON wposts.ID = wpostmeta.post_id LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wposts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) LEFT JOIN wp_term_taxonomy ON (wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id = wp_term_taxonomy.term_taxonomy_id) WHERE (post_type='page' OR (wp_term_taxonomy.taxonomy = 'category' AND wp_term_taxonomy.term_id IN(11))) AND post_status = 'publish' AND LENGTH(post_title)>=5 ORDER BY LENGTH(post_title) ASC LIMIT 500

Because above query uses SQL Column names and Tables which are not hard coded in PHP code, to find out which plugins is most probably to launch this complex LEFT JOIN query, I used a quick bash one-liner:

# cd /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugins

# for i in $(grep -rli 'SELECT DISTINCT' *); do grep -rli 'LEFT JOIN' $i; done 
./seo-automatic-links/seo-links.php
./wp-postviews/wp-postviews.php
./yet-another-related-posts-plugin/classes/YARPP_Cache_Tables.php

I wanted to put less load on CPU during grep so looked for string only in .PHP extensioned files with:

 # for i in $(find . -iname '*.php' -exec grep -rli 'SELECT DISTINCT' '{}' \;); do grep -rli 'LEFT JOIN' $i; done
./seo-automatic-links/seo-links.php
./wp-postviews/wp-postviews.php
./yet-another-related-posts-plugin/classes/YARPP_Cache_Tables.php


As you can see the complex query is being called from PHP file belonging to one of 3 plugins

  • SEO Automatic Links – this is SEO Smart Links WP plugin (Does internal bliog interlinking in order to boast SEA)
  • WP PostViews – WordPress Post Views plugin (Which allows me to show how many times an article was read in WP Widget menu)
  • Yet Another Related Posts – Which is WP plugin I installed / enabled to show Related posts down on each blog post


2. Basic way to optimize MySQL slow queries (EXPLAIN / SHOW CREATE TABLE)

Now as I have a basic clue on plugins locking my Database, I disabled them one by one while keeping enabled mysql slow query log and viewing queries in mytop and I figure out that actually all of the plugins were causing a short time overheat (lock) on server Database because of LEFT JOINs. Though I really like what this plugins are doing, as they boast SEO and attract prefer to disable them for now and have my blog all the time responsible light fast instead of having a little bit better Search Engine Optimization (Ranking) and loosing many of my visitors because they're annoyed to wait until my articles open

Before disabling I tried to optimize the queries using MySQL EXPLAIN command + SHOW CREATE TABLE (2 commands often used to debug slow SQL queries and find out whether a Column needs to have added INDEX-ing to boast MySQL query).

Just in case if you decide to give them a try here is example on how they're used to debug problematic SQL query:
 

  1. mysql> explain SELECT DISTINCT post_title, ID, post_type, post_name
  2.     -> FROM wp_posts wposts LEFT JOIN wp_postmeta wpostmeta
  3.     -> ON wposts.ID = wpostmeta.post_id LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships
  4.     -> ON (wposts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) LEFT JOIN wp_term_taxonomy
  5.     -> ON (wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id = wp_term_taxonomy.term_taxonomy_id)
  6.     -> WHERE (post_type='page'
  7.     -> OR (wp_term_taxonomy.taxonomy = 'category'
  8.     -> AND wp_term_taxonomy.term_id IN(11,15,17)))
  9.     -> AND post_status = 'publish'
  10.     -> AND LENGTH(post_title)>=5
  11.     -> ORDER BY LENGTH(post_title) ASC
  12.     -> LIMIT 500;
  13. +—-+————-+———————–+——–+——————+———+———+———————————————+——+———————————————-+
  14. | id | select_type | table                 | type   | possible_keys    | key     | key_len | ref                                         | rows | Extra                                        |
  15. +—-+————-+———————–+——–+——————+———+———+———————————————+——+———————————————-+
  16. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wposts                | ALL    | type_status_date | NULL    | NULL    | NULL                                        | 1715 | Using where; Using temporary; Using filesort |
  17. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wpostmeta             | ref    | post_id          | post_id | 8       | blog.wposts.ID                              |   11 | Using index; Distinct                        |
  18. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wp_term_relationships | ref    | PRIMARY          | PRIMARY | 8       | blog.wposts.ID                              |   19 | Using index; Distinct                        |
  19. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wp_term_taxonomy      | eq_ref | PRIMARY          | PRIMARY | 8       | blog.wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id |    1 | Using where; Distinct                        |
  20. +—-+————-+———————–+——–+——————+———+———+———————————————+——+———————————————-+
  21. 4 rows in set (0.02 sec)
  22.  
  23. mysql>
  1. mysql> show create table wp_posts;
  2. +———-+————————–+
  3. | Table    | Create Table                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 |
  4. +———-+————————–+
  5. | wp_posts | CREATE TABLE `wp_posts` (
  6.   `ID` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  7.   `post_author` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  8.   `post_date` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  9.   `post_date_gmt` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  10.   `post_content` longtext NOT NULL,
  11.   `post_title` text NOT NULL,
  12.   `post_excerpt` text NOT NULL,
  13.   `post_status` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'publish',
  14.   `comment_status` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'open',
  15.   `ping_status` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'open',
  16.   `post_password` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  17.   `post_name` varchar(200) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  18.   `to_ping` text NOT NULL,
  19.   `pinged` text NOT NULL,
  20.   `post_modified` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  21.   `post_modified_gmt` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  22.   `post_content_filtered` longtext NOT NULL,
  23.   `post_parent` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  24.   `guid` varchar(255) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  25.   `menu_order` int(11) NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  26.   `post_type` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'post',
  27.   `post_mime_type` varchar(100) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  28.   `comment_count` bigint(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  29.   PRIMARY KEY (`ID`),
  30.   KEY `post_name` (`post_name`),
  31.   KEY `type_status_date` (`post_type`,`post_status`,`post_date`,`ID`),
  32.   KEY `post_parent` (`post_parent`),
  33.   KEY `post_author` (`post_author`),
  34.   FULLTEXT KEY `post_related` (`post_title`,`post_content`)
  35. ) ENGINE=MyISAM AUTO_INCREMENT=12033 DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8 |
  36. +———-+———————-+
  37. 1 row in set (0.00 sec)
  38.  
  39. mysql>
  40.  


By the way above output is a paste from the the new PasteBin Open Source (Stikked powered) service I started on pc-freak.net – paste.pc-freak.net (p.pc-freak.net) 🙂

Before I took final decision to disable slow WP plugins, I've experimented a bit trying to add INDEX to Table Column (wposts) in hope that this would speed up SQL queries with:

mysql> ALTER TABLE TABLE_NAME ADD INDEX (wposts);

But this didn't improve query speed even on the contrary it make execution time worse.

3. Tracking WordPress Plugin PHP Code Execution time and Plugins causing Slow SQL Queries (MySQL bottleneck) issues through WP itself

Well fine, I'm running my own hosted Blog and WordPress sites, but for people who have wordpress sites on shared hosting, there is usually no SSH (Terminal) Access to server, those people will be happy to hear there are 2 Free easy installable WordPress plugins which can be used to Debug Slow WordPress Plugins SQL Queries as well as plugin to Track which plugin takes most time to execute, this are:
 

a) P3 Plugin Performance Profiler  

runs a scan over your site to determine what resources your plugins are using, and when, during a standard page request. P3 PPP Can even create reports in a beatiful Excel like Pie chart sheet.

p3-plugin-performance-profiler-godaddy-screenshot-debian-gnu-linux-wordpress-website

Another useful thing to see with P3 PPP is Detailed Timeline it shows when the plugins are being loaded during new page request so you can see if there is a certain sequence in time when a plugin slows down the website.

detailed_timeline-wordpress-p3-performance-plugin-on-website-screenshot

The pictures says it all as P3 PPP is Godaddy's work, congrats to GoDaddy, they've done great job.

b) WordPress memory Viewer WP plugins

Is useful to check how much memory each of WordPress plugin is taking on user (visitor) request.
Memory Viewer is allows you to view WordPress’ memory utilization at several hooks during WordPress’ execution. It also shows a summary of MySQL Queries that have ran as well as CPU time.
To use it download it to plugins/ folder as usual enable it from:

Installed Plugins -> (Inactive) -> Memory Viewer (Enable)

To see statistics from Memory Viewer open any post from your blog website and scroll down to the bottom you will notice the statistics, showing up there, like on below screenshot.

wordpress-memory-viewer-plugin-debian-gnu-linux-hosted-website-show-which-plugin-component-eats-most-memory-in-wordprses-blog
 

Though WP Memory Viewer is said to work only up to WP version 3.2.1, I've tested it and it works fine on my latest stable WordPress 4.1 based blog.

c) WordPress Query Monitor

wordpress-query-monitor-plugin-to-monitor-track-and-optimize-problems-with-sql-caused-by-wp-plugins.png
 

Query Monitor is a debugging plugin for anyone developing with WordPress but also very helpful for anyone who want to track issues with plugins who use the database unefficient.
It has some advanced features not available in other debugging plugins, including automatic AJAX debugging and the ability to narrow down things by plugin or theme.
You can view plenty of precious statistics on how enabled plugins query the database server, here is a short overview on its Database Queries capabilities:

  • Shows all database queries performed on the current page
  • Shows affected rows and time for all queries
  • Show notifications for slow queries and queries with errors
  • Filter queries by query type (SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, etc)
  • Filter queries by component (WordPress core, Plugin X, Plugin Y, theme)
  • Filter queries by calling function
  • View aggregate query information grouped by component, calling function, and type
  • Super advanced: Supports multiple instances of wpdb on one page
  • Once enabled from Plugins you will see it appear as a new menu on bottom Admin raw.

An important note to make here is latest Query Monitor extension fails when loaded on current latest Wordpress 4.1, to use it you will have to download and useolder Query Monitor plugin version 2.6.8 you can download it from here

d) Debug Bar

If you want you want a Memory Viewer like plugin for more complex used components memory debugging, reporting if (WP_DEBUG is set in wp-config.php) also check out Debug Bar .
For me Debug Bar was very useful because it show me depreciated functions some plugins used, so I substituted the obsoleted function with new one.

debug-bar-debug-wordpress-plugins-memory-use-screenshot-website


4. Server Hardware hungry (slow) WordPress plugins that you better not use

While spending time to Google for some fixes to WP slow query plugins – I've stumbled upon this post giving a good list with WordPress Plugins better off not to use because they will slow down your site
This is a publicly well known list of WP plugins every WordPress based site adminstrator should avoid, but until today I didn't know so my assumption is you don't know either ..

Below plugins are extremely database intensive mentioned in article that we should better (in all cases!) avoid:

  • Dynamic Related Posts
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
  • Similar Posts
  • Contextual Related Posts
  • Broken Link Checker — Overwhelms even our robust caching layer with an inordinate amount of HTTP requests.
  • MyReviewPlugin — Slams the database with a fairly significant amount of writes.
  • LinkMan — Much like the MyReviewPlugin above, LinkMan utilizes an unscalable amount of database writes.
  • Fuzzy SEO Booster — Causes MySQL issues as a site becomes more popular.
  • WP PostViews — Inefficiently writes to the database on every page load. To track traffic in a more scalable manner, both the stats module in Automattic’s Jetpack plugin and Google Analytics work wonderfully.
  • Tweet Blender — Does not play nicely with our caching layer and can cause increased server load.


A good Complete list of known WordPress slow plugins that will hammer down your wordpress performance is here

There are few alternatives to this plugins and when I have some free time I will download and test their alternatives but for now I plan the plugins to stay disabled.
 

For the absolute WP Performance Optimization Freaks, its good to check out the native way to Debug a wordpress installation through using few embedded
variables

define('WP_DEBUG', true);
define('WP_DEBUG', false);
define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
define('SAVEQUERIES', true);

An article describing how you can use native WP debug variables is here


Happy Optimizing  ! 🙂

Shutdown tomcat server node in case of memory depletion – Avoiding Tomcat Out of memory

Friday, June 6th, 2014

fix-avoid-tomcat-out-of-memory-logo

Out Of Memory Errors, or OOMEs, are one of the most common problems faced by Apache Tomcat users. Tomcat cluster behind Apache unreachable (causing customer downtimes). OOME errors occur on production servers that are experiencing an unusually high spike of traffic.

Out of memory errors are usually a problem of application and not of Tomcat server. OMEs have become such a persistent topic of discussion in the Apache Tomcat community cause its so difficult to trace to their root cause. Usually 'incorrect' web app code causing Tomcat to run out of memory is usually technically correct.

Most common reasons for Out of Memory errors in application code are:
 

  •     the heap size being too small
  •     running out of file descriptors
  •     more open threads than the host OS allows
  •     code with high amounts of recursion
  •     code that loads a very large file into memory
  •     code that retaining references to objects or classloaders
  •     a large number of web apps and a small PermGen


The following java option -XX:OnOutOfMemoryError= could be added to any of tomcat java application servers in setenv.sh in  JAVA_OPTS= variable in case of regular Out of Memory errors occur making an application unstable.

-XX:OnOutOfMemoryError=<path_to_tomcat_shutdown_script.sh>

Where < path_to tomcat_shutdown_script.sh > is shutdown script(which performs kill <tomcat_pid> if normal shutdown fails) for the tomcat instance.

With this setup if any tomcat instance run out of memory it will be shutdown (shutdown script invoked) – as result the Apache proxy infront of Tomcats should not pass any further requests to this instance and application will visualize / work properly for end customers.

Usually a tomcat_shutdown_script.sh to invoke in case of OOM would initiate a Tomcat server restart something like:

for i in `ps -ef |grep tomcat |grep /my_path_to_my_instance | awk '{print $2}'`
do
kill -9 "$i"
#path and script to start tomcat
done

To prevent blank pages returned to customer because of shutdown_script.sh starting stopping Tomcat you can set in Reverse Apache Proxy something like:
 

<Proxy balancer://mycluster>
   BalancerMember ajp://10.16.166.48:11010/ route=delivery1 timeout=30 retry=1
   BalancerMember ajp://10.16.166.70:11010/ route=delivery2 timeout=30 retry=1
</Proxy>

Where in above example I assume, there are only two tomcat nodes, for more just add respective ones.

Note that if the deployed application along all servers is having some code making it crash all tomcat nodes can get shutdown all time and you can get in a client havoc 🙂

Prodigy night and Spirit of Burgas 2012 – few impressions

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 - How to steal a jet fighter latest prodigy album

As a kid I have been very big fan of The Prodigy. Prodigy were considered absolutely revolutionary style band in the 1995 – 2004 years. As an ex-big fan of the band and cause of the fact I happened to be near to Burgas I decided to attend their performance on August the 5-th.
Spirit of Burgas as every year happens on the beach of Burgas.

A large number of nice underground rock / punk / jazz / reggae etc. continuing for days is not so common on the balkans so Spirit of Burgas is quite a unique undeground music gathering …
Spirit of Burgas is taking place now for a 4-th year and starting to become an established Electronic, Dance, Metal feast here on Balkans.

Below is a list of all the bands that played on Spirit of Burgas 3 days feast this year;
Spirit of Burgas year 2012 bands agenda for 3 days list picture

The 1 night entrance fee was quite expensive 40 EUR, but for a famous band as Prodigy and the rest of bands bands playing on other beach scenes I guess the price was fair. The 3 days entrance fee worth it money much more though, for 3 days ticket the price was 60 EUR. The beer price too high; 1 beer price was 1.60 EUR. For a richer countries this prices are nothing and OK but for the low salaries in Bulgaria the beer price was killing.

Besides the high price, the only beer one can buy on the beach was Becks (taking me out the choice to buy another beer brand!). Everywhere around was those annoying writings on both billboards and video sceens B’ECKSPERIENCE, Jack Daniels, DSK Bank etc. Advertsiments should be but this was a bit over-stretched!….

Prodigy performance started about 10:30 on the so called Main Stage – a big scene facing the sea. Prodigy break out and enter, the scene right after a performance of modern punk band SUM 41

I don’t know the music works of SUM 41 that’s why I skipped most of their concert checking the other stages perf-s. On most of other stages mostly Bulgarian Punk / Rock / Alternative musicians were playing.
Prodigy’s scene break-up was done with some famous buzzling sounds known from their works, as you can see from the videos I post below.
The Stage was very over-crowded, according to some estimations the concert was attended by about 15 000 people ! ! !. Considering the decay in Prodigy popularity I guess this was quite a good number.
During The Prodigy‘s play all the other scenes were shut off in order to allow everybody to enjoy Prodigy.

I should admit, the music beats and ruffs were just great, but I didn’t liked the vox messages “Keith Flinth”, was spreading; Saying some iditic phrases like:

Where is my People?, My Prodigy People, My Voodoo People and plenty of other non-sense

As a Christian I know pretty well Prodigy’s music message is not in consonance in Christianity and hence I didn’t liked to be associated as a “prodigy person”, cause I don’t want to be associated with people who preach evil. Something else, showing off the low prodigy vocal culture was his frequent use of the F*CK word, which btw was probably the most used word by almost every musician playing on every scene all night long…

The scene lightning was rich but not bright, enough to clearly distinguish what is happening on the scene.
On the back stage, there was the name of latest prodigy album – How To Steal a Jet Fighter with a background of an old jet fighter plane.

Prodigy Vocalist Keith Flinth on main stage spirit of burgas 2012

The group scene performance was quite aggressive as always, actually probably it is the primitive behavior of the band and the primitiveness in music that attracts the crowds. People nowadays are too much civilized that the wild primitive deep in us is something we hardly miss as ppl.

The Prodigy in the beginning @ Spirit of Burgas 04.08.2012

The Prodigy – Breathe, Live @ Spirit of Burgas 2012

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 1

The Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 2

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 3

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 4

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 5

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 6

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 7

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 8

The Prodigy – Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 9

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 10

By the way during the concert all around the scene, there was massive marijuana smoke (not to say fog 🙂 ). Probably kilos of “Mara” (as smokers call it for short in BG) was smoken by fans during the 1.15 mins group performance.
As a result, many of the ruffling fans were in a tranced “Nirvana” state 🙂
Something, I’ve noticed is the quality of Prodigy performance, has severely fallen if compared to old concerts of the band period 1999 – 2002.
One moment in the concert was really pissing off for me, when Keith Flinth instructed the public to GET DOWN, saying something like:

Now everybody GET DOWN, I SAID GET DOWN – the sheep fans just followed the ORDER squatting; This was pure “MIND CONTROL” – almost everyone squatted unquestionably.
A girl behind me tried to push me down, to make me kneel down as I refused to squat 🙂
I told her that “I don’t follow orders, jokingly and didn’t squatted 🙂

This squatting from Christian position looked like exactly like worshipping Prodigy as [ idol (God) substitute ] …
The concert end up in a very stupid way; there was no encore performance, not even introduction of the band members to the people and even a no simply BYE to the fans. They just shut off and went away silently like a beaten dogs 🙂

Following the end of Prodigy performance on the neighbor Stage, the “legendary” Bulgarian Punk / Rock old-school band KONTROL was playing. I had great fun with KONTROL as I used to be very much loving the band back in my metal years 🙂 KONTROL’s performance was just great, but unfortunately the scene lightning was again shit and the big Video Screens was switched off so I could see the band hardly. After KONTROL’s end up another hard-core Bulgarian band jumped the scene (PIRANNHA). This guys, were completely funny and i really disliked them as they were heavily copying Venom, even their logo was copied from Venom’s Goat Pentagram (the band mascot was a Satanic Pentagram on wheels (complete iditiosm) :D)
The vocal were cursing themselves, screaming funnily “F*CK PIRANNHA, F*CK PIRANNHA !” 🙂

Spirit of Burgas was supposed to close about 5 in the morning, but I was too busy and I left in 2:45, spending few minutes listening to some kind of nice sounding Drum and Bass DJ playing on the main stage.

How to fix bug with WordPress domain extra trailing slash (Double wordpress trailing slash)

Monday, July 9th, 2012

How to fix bug with wordpress extra slash, domain double slash issue pic

2 of the wordpress installations, I take care for had been reported an annoying bug today by some colleagues.
The bug consisted in double trailing slash at the end of the domain url e.g.;

http://our-company-domainname.com//

As a result in the urls everywhere there was the double trailing slash appearing i.e.::

http://our-company-domainname.com//countact-us/
http://our-company-domainname.com//languages/

etc.

The bug was reported to happen in the multiolingual version of the wordpress based sites, as the Qtranslate plugin is used on this installations to achieve multiple languages it seemed at first logical that the double slash domain and url wordpress issues are caused for some reason by qTranslate.

Therefore, I initially looked for the cause of the problem, within the wordpress admin settings for qTranslate plugin. After not finding any clue pointing the bug to be related to qTranslate, I've then checked the settings for each individual wordpress Page and Post (There in posts usually one can manually set the exact url pointing to each post and page).
The double slash appeared also in each Post and Page and it wasn't possible to edit the complete URL address to remove the double trailin slashes. My next assumption was the cause for the double slash appearing on each site link is because of something wrong with the sites .htaccess, therefore I checked in the wp main sites directory .htaccess
Strangely .htacces seemed OKAY and there was any rule that somehow might lead to double slashes in URL. WP-sites .htaccess looked like so:
 

server:/home/wp-site1/www# cat .htaccess
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

# Rewrite rules for new content and scripts folder
RewriteRule ^jscripts/(.*)$ wp-includes/js/$1
RewriteRule ^gallery/(.*)$ wp-content/uploads/$1
RewriteRule ^modules/(.*)$ wp-content/plugins/$1
RewriteRule ^gui/(.*)/(.*)$ wp-content/themes/$1/$2 [L]

# Disable direct acceees to wp files if referer is not valid
#RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} .wp-*
#RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} .wp-*
#RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !.*media-upload.php.*
#RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.*cadia.*
#RewriteRule . /error404 [L]

# Standard WordPress rewrite
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

Onwards, I thought a possible way to fix bug by adding mod_rewrite rules in .htaccess which would do a redirect all requests to http://www.our-company-domainname.com//contact-us/ to http://www.our-company-domainname.com//contact-us/ etc. like so:

RewriteRule ^/(.*)$ /$1

This for unknown reasons to me didn't worked either, finally thanks God I remembered to check the variables in wp-config.php (some month ago or so I added there some variables in order to improve the wordpress websites opening times).

I've figured out I did a mistake in one of the variables by adding an ending slash to the URL. The variable added was:

define('WP_HOME','http://our-company-domainname.com/');

whether instead it should be without the ending trailing slash like so:

define('WP_HOME','http://our-company-domainname.com');

By removing the ending trailing slash:

define('WP_HOME','http://our-company-domainname.com/');

to:

define('WP_HOME','http://our-company-domainname.com');
fixed the issue.
Cheers 😉

Why saint George is depicted on icons killing a Dragon (an ancient story of saint George killing the last dragon) – A Collection of 7 icons of Saint Martyr George

Friday, July 6th, 2012

saint_Georgios-killing-the-dragon-in-cave
Saint George is one of the most venerated Orthodox Christian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. My interest in saint George is cause of the reason, I myself bear the name Georgi (the Bulgarian equivalent of George). Saint George is mostly venerated in the Slavonic Christian-dome.In almost all Church icons depicting st. George in Orthodox and Roman Catholic christiandome saint George is piercing killing a dragon.
One of the reasons, st. George is depicted piercing the dragon is a reference of st. George victory over satan, through his martyrdom.

The Beast (Dragon) on the iconi is a straight reference to the Holy Bible; Chapter Revelation also known under the name Apocalypse.

In revelation, we read humanity and our saviour Jesus Christ will finally once and for all will kill the "ancient beast" = (satan)

In same logic, as Saint Martyr George has been victorious over Satan by his unshakable confession of faith in Jesus Christ in early 5th century A.D. , we believe in the Orthodox Church he is given the crown of (eternal) life as a prize for bearing un-human tortures in the name of the of Christ.

To illustrate visually the victory of saint George over Satan through his immesurable faith confession with which he become, there is a an early tradition in iconography in the Church to depict st. George killing a dragon.

The other reason why saint George is depicted to kill a Dragon is due to a Lebanon / Palestinian ancient story saying; There was a huge Dragon living somewhere in nowdays Lebanon / Palestinian lands.
The beast created a huge havoc killing many people and systematically torturing people in the area.

As the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition continues …. the Dragon is said to have inhabited one of the caves near some village.
Interesting, the story tells these very same dragon was the last Dragon crawling the earth before the final disappearance of dragons.

Many brave local people tried to kill the beast but many died as the beast was unbeatable.
Being unable to beat-up the dragon with a physical (human) force the local population turnted to God for help – saying continously prayers to Saint George to help them defeat their dragon mischief.

Soon after, Saint George appeared on a white horse and pierced the "old dragon / snake". The dragon liberation miracle is said to be evidenced by local people and according to Orthodox monk books is one of the many great miracles occuring in past times.
The report of the miracle has quickly spread around all Lebanon / Palestinian lands and soon, being confirmed as real spread along all Russia as well as the rest of the Slavonic and Orthodox Christian world (Bulgaria, Serbia), Greece, Egypt (Alexandria) etc..
To illustrate saint George's appearance miracle, monastic iconographers started depicting saint George as we see him until this very day – Riding a horse and slaughtering a monstrous beast.

Below are seven 12-th century early icons of saint Saint Great-Martyr George killing the dragon;;
I've collected the icons from various website online. Hope this collection will be blessing for all Christ brother and sisters and generally anyone reading this post:

12-th century mosaic icon of st. George the Great Martyr Xenophontos Monastery

12-th century mosaic icon of st. George the Great Martyr Xenophontos Monastery

Orthodox Christian icon saint George dated to 1130 - 1150 A.D.

Orthodox Christian icon saint George dated to 1130 – 1150 A.D.

Saint Georgius the Dragon Slayer icon XII century orth icon

Saint Georgius the Dragon Slayer icon XII century orth icon

St. George Enamel icon Georgia 12th century

St. George Enamel icon Georgia 12th century

saint George Christian icon Yuriev Monastery Novgorod 12th century

saint George Christian icon Yuriev Monastery Novgorod 12th century

st. George Staraya Ladoga Orthodox Christian icon

st. George Staraya Ladoga Orthodox Christian icon

sv. Georgius 12th century Aios

sv. Georgius 12th century Aios

Nowdays saint George Holy Relics particles are kept for veneration in many Orthodox Christian countries monasteries. Here in Bulgaria saint George Holy Relics are kept in a Monastery nearby the seacoast in Pomorie. Any Christian visiting Bulgaria have the opportunity to venerate the Holy in (Pomorie's Monastery – St. Great Martyr Georgi.