When “Bad Behavior” Becomes a Problem…


by Sharon Rondeau

Image: onebigfish, Pixabay, License

(May 14, 2020) — At approximately 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, The Post & Email was provided a suggestion for eliminating the “403 Forbidden” error message appearing more than two weeks ago after we updated several WordPress plugins.

Plugins are software add-ons to enhance the usability and performance of WordPress websites.

Earlier this week, a reader reported a different “400” error, and yet another last week encountered a litany of error messages when trying to open various articles. Along with the large “Forbidden” message, intimidating “Permission denied” verbiage tended to cause readers to wonder if their computers were infected by a virus or plagued by some other malfunction.

The Post & Email appreciates the feedback readers provided after the problem arose.

Two WordPress technicians who analyzed The Post & Email were unable to replicate the error message, although both confirmed it to be clean and free of viruses.  However, one of two online website scanners we utilized detected the error.

More than one online self-help guides suggest the “403” message is associated with a server configuration issue or alternatively, WordPress plugins without any specificity. However, a contact at our hosting company, Pressable, on Tuesday suspected the cause was the “Bad Behavior” plugin based on numerous reports she located dating back to 2007 referencing it.

The plugin’s intent is “a PHP-based solution for blocking link spam and the robots which deliver it.”  It is recommended that the plugin be kept up-to-date.

After chatting with our host contact and researching the information she provided, we disabled the plugin and have not received a report of an error message since.  Please let us know if that should change. For anyone with a WordPress website, we strongly recommend Pressable for its superior support and knowledge.



4 Responses to "When “Bad Behavior” Becomes a Problem…"

  1. Douglas Fredluss   Friday, May 15, 2020 at 5:50 PM

    So it wasn’t the Obots?

  2. Sharon Rondeau   Friday, May 15, 2020 at 1:10 PM

    A very unlikely skill set for the most non-technical person on the planet!

  3. James Carter   Friday, May 15, 2020 at 12:32 PM

    The Post & Email has been working fine all morning for me. Apparently Sharron has become an IT expert to complement her expertise with exposing ineligible candidates for President. :)

    Go Sharron!

  4. CDR Kerchner (Ret)   Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 10:00 PM

    You site is working fine for me since removing that plugin. No more forbidden error messages. Keep up the good work.

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