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[resolved] "Sentries" blocking me from ALL WordPress sites? (9 posts)

  1. jasonrohrer
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    I'm not a WP admin... just a web surfer.

    Recently, I've been seeing the "Our server sentries tell us you should probably not be here. Maybe you are lost?" page ("We think you are lost") VERY frequently.

    Major sites (like time.com and katiecouric.com) are totally inaccessible for me (except through Google Cache). Maybe my IP is on some kind of blacklist for some reason. If so, I don't know why. How do I get my IP off the blacklist, if that's the case?

    I have a dynamic IP assigned by my ISP, but I've had the same one dynamically assigned to me for a long time.

    Also, I CAN get through if I use an anonymizing proxy (like http://anonymouse.org).

    And strangely, I can see this site just fine, even the blog, which I'm assuming is running the WP software!

    Jason

  2. ClaytonJames
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    What browser are you using when this happens, and can you change the symptom by using a different browser?

  3. jasonrohrer
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    Thanks for thinking of that.

    So, I'm on a very old Lubunutu (light Ubuntu) on an old, slow computer. That Lubuntu shipped with Firefox 4.0.1, and it's hard to upgrade it cleanly (because newer versions are not in the repository for that Ubuntu version). Also, because it's an old, slow system, newer Firefoxes are much slower than 4.0.1 (require more RAM, etc.).

    HOWEVER, if I run a stand-alone FireFox 28 on the same machine, the "Lost?" pages aren't triggered and I can access these sites.

    "Just run Firefox 28" isn't exactly a solution, though, because I'm on old, slow computers.

    Any idea why this "WordPress sentry" is being triggered by an old Firefox?

    Also, I'm answering this forum post from FireFox 4.0.1, and everything looks and works fine.

  4. jasonrohrer
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    Also, what do I mean by "old and slow"?

    My other machine here is a Dell laptop from 2000 with 256 MB of RAM. It's running Xubuntu (an even older, lightweight Ubuntu) that has Firefox 2.0.0.4 on it. Admittedly, this browser renders more modern pages in a semi-broken way. BUT... it does NOT get caught in the "Lost?" sentry pages...

    Anyway, when you've got 256 MB of RAM, you can't exactly run FF 28.

    So, as far as I can tell, only one browser (Firefox 4 on Lubuntu) seems to be affected by this.

  5. ClaytonJames
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    Any idea why this "WordPress sentry" is being triggered by an old Firefox?

    I'm guessing that the user agent string in the older version of the browser is causing you problems. If you can't use an updated browser, maybe you can find an add-on for the version you're currently using that will let you change the user agent string and essentially "impersonate" that of a different browser. Of course, that won't negate any security or rendering issues present in the older browser, but it might change the blocking issue symptom.

    Just a guess, mind you... And if it does work, it's probably not the best solution for the long term.

  6. jasonrohrer
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    Yeah, that would be a solution for my end specifically.

    But this is essentially broken WordPress (or maybe some security plugin?) behavior. The page should at least say "sorry, your old browser isn't supported." The LOST message is confusing and looks too much like a 404 error page. But even if an older browser is really not supported, it should at least let you through after a warning (like YouTube). It should be a soft, not hard, failure. Proceed at your own risk.

    Here's a deleted thread from a few weeks ago documenting similar behavior for the Midori browser:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kJxESZjYUA0J:en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/lost-are-servers-say-you-shouldnt-be-here+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=ubuntu

    Just grep'ed the WP source code for the word "sentries" or "lost?" and found no matches. So it must be an optional plugin.

    Is there any way to query a WP site externally to get a list of installed plugins. Like a php-info type call? You know, to figure out what plugins time.com is running?

    Finally, this plugin is erroneous directing people to WP tech support for help:

    "If you are sure this is the place you are trying to go, please contact us and we will be happy to help."

    Where "contact us" links to: http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

  7. ClaytonJames
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    But this is essentially broken WordPress (or maybe some security plugin?) behavior.

    For now, I have to say I don't really see any evidence to support that conclusion (yet). I think you're seeing a polite - yet normal - error warning being issued by wordpress.com servers.

    Finally, this plugin is erroneous directing people to WP tech support for help:

    I'm not convinced that it is.

    time.com: - hosted by automattic

    katiecouric.com: - wordpress.com name servers

    Some simple things you can try:

    1) intentionally visit a page where the message pops up and look at the server responses. Does the error message accompany a 403 or a 404 error in the response, or something else entirely?

    2) just send http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/ a quick message asking them why you see the "Our server sentries tell us you should probably not be here. Maybe you are lost?" message when you use that browser to access sites associated with wordpress.com.

    I suspect the common denominator is wordpress.com, not the wordpress.org software,or a plugin. Just a guess, mind you.

  8. jasonrohrer
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    You're right! I see the same message on wordpress.com (but not .org, here).

    Sorry, I didn't realize there was a distinction.

    Also, yes, it is a 403 error (forbidden).

    Will contact them. Funny that I get the same LOST? page for the contact form, though:

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

    Anyway, will access it with another browser. Thanks for the help!

  9. ClaytonJames
    Member
    Posted 3 months ago #

    You're welcome!

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