Block Domains & Subdomains Using .htaccess

By  on  

A large focus of my redesign was improving site speed, and in doing so, I took a look at my site's error_log for the first time in a long time.  I was shocked when I found out that 90% of my site errors were either hacking attempts or hot-linked files from hundreds of different tumblr.com subdomains.  Thousands upon thousands of PHP fatal errors due to lack of memory saw me seeing red pretty quick -- no wonder I was having periodical speed issues!  Luckily this bit of .htaccess code allows me block all of those sites:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https?://([^.]+\.)*tumblr\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F]
</IfModule>

These days I only see PHP notices in my error_log, and that makes me a very happy man.  I've also noticed less SPAM commenting, so maybe Tumblr is used a SPAM hub too?  Either way, blocking domains and subdomains did the trick for me!

Recent Features

  • By
    5 Awesome New Mozilla Technologies You&#8217;ve Never Heard Of

    My trip to Mozilla Summit 2013 was incredible.  I've spent so much time focusing on my project that I had lost sight of all of the great work Mozillians were putting out.  MozSummit provided the perfect reminder of how brilliant my colleagues are and how much...

  • By
    Being a Dev Dad

    I get asked loads of questions every day but I'm always surprised that they're rarely questions about code or even tech -- many of the questions I get are more about non-dev stuff like what my office is like, what software I use, and oftentimes...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Create Custom Events in MooTools 1.2

    Javascript has a number of native events like "mouseover," "mouseout", "click", and so on. What if you want to create your own events though? Creating events using MooTools is as easy as it gets. The MooTools JavaScript What's great about creating custom events in MooTools is...

  • By
    Drag. Drop. Lock.

    I've received dozens of emails about my Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Using MooTools article. The MooTools in my article contained a lot of conditional code to require correct dropping per the game and many people requested that I simplify the process and just...

Discussion

  1. There are 2 issues with your solution:
    1) If a legit person linked to your blog from their Tumblr blog, people would see a Forbidden message. This is because you have your images under the same domain as the blog. Keeping them on the sub-domain would save your visitors from this.
    2) Security – probably a minor issue, but when you get a Forbidden message from Apache, you also get a path to the content you were forbidden to access. And since you are using WordPress with caching, the message looks as follows:

    Forbidden

    You don't have permission to access /wp-content/w3tc/pgcache//block-domain/_index_search_engines.html_gzip on this server.

    Apache/2.2.3 (CentOS) Server at davidwalsh.name Port 80

    • Thanks for sharing Shimon. Per your points:

      1. If it’s only specific subdomains hurting you, listing them one by one would be best, I agree. In my case, I don’t care if legit Tumblr sites are linking to me. :)

      2. I’ll look into the Forbidden issue — thanks!

  2. Korri

    Wow. blocking anyone comming from tumblr seems pretty extreme to me, you could at least add a RewriteCond to block only static content.

  3. Bob

    Seems like a lot of work, when this doesn’t even require mod_rewrite:

    deny from .tumbler.com

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!