Lunacy Unleashed

Notes from the field in the War on Spam

What to do when Bad Behavior blocks you (or your friends)

One of the two topics I get most frequently is the assertion that Bad Behavior has blocked a legitimate request from an actual user, sometimes even the owner of the blog! Since this seems to come up every so often, I’m going to see if I can help out, and maybe eliminate the need for some of these folks to contact me.

(But before we get started, if you are an AOL user, do not use the built-in AOL browser. Use Firefox or something else. And get a real ISP as soon as possible.)

Before doing anything, though, ensure that you have the latest version of Bad Behavior.

The first thing to do is to determine why Bad Behavior blocked you. Get your IP address, and then log in to your phpMyAdmin, and Search the bad_behavior_log table for your IP address. In the returned fields, the denied_reason field will have a short explanation.

If the denied_reason says, “I know you and I don’t like you, dirty spammer,” keep looking for other entries. This reason means the IP address was previously identified and is being temporarily blocked, and another entry will have the real reason for the block.

If the denied_reason says, “Required header ‘Accept’ missing,” check to ensure that you are not using a proxy server, personal firewall, or any other software that may be interfering with your Web browsing. This type of software, if not configured properly, will cause this problem. Bypass the proxy (when possible) and try again. If you see this message, and you are using GoDaddy shared hosting, be aware that this is caused by GoDaddy and there is nothing I can do about it. Switch web hosts.

If the denied_reason contains a long string of “Aaaaaaaaaaaaa,” says “User-Agent … prohibited,” or contains “Banned proxy server” and you aren’t using a proxy server, this means your computer has most likely been infected with a virus or Trojan horse which is sending comment and referrer spam. Have your computer cleaned before trying again.

If the denied_reason contains anything else, you may find that the reason for the block is made obvious by the reason given. For instance, if you have used a fake User-Agent string, Bad Behavior may detect this and block you. In this case you would correct the User-Agent string and try again.

If you still can’t figure out why you were blocked, Export the records from phpMyAdmin in either SQL format and send them to me. You do not need to zip them. If you send me an Excel format file, I will curse your name until the end of days, and probably not respond.

September 30, 2005 - Posted by | Bad Behavior, Blog Spam, WordPress


  1. Back to Bad Behavior

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  2. Re-rollout of Bad Behavior

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