Using htaccess to Get Rid of &wd=test

February 15, 2018

Recently I've had a plague of links to my site that end with /&wd=test or /&wd= with four random characters. They were causing a large up tick in 404 errors, as none of my posts or pages has &wd= the end.

A week or so ago I setup a .htaccess RewriteRule to force any incoming link with the &wd business on the end to my 403 page. Here's the rule:

RewriteRule "wd=test/?$" "-" [L,F]

This worked like a charm. The only problem was now I was seeing 403 errors instead of 404 errors. I realize that in this case the work "error" is a misnomer. The error is on the part of the incoming request, it isn't an error on my site. Still, having all those 403 hits bothered me.

Time for a new RewriteRule:

RewriteRule (.+?)/\&wd=.*$$1 [L,R=301]

This one matches &wd= plus any number of characters after the equal sign, and it redirects the incoming link to the incoming link minus the spurious &wd business.

As for what the &wd=test might mean, this is the only English language page I've found that talks about it at all: Chinese "Testing" Link Hacking Attempt?. My site is static (i.e., there's no database or online administration function to exploit. Redirecting the &wd links to the actual link seems like a good solution for me and my site.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.