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Sun, Aug 23, 2015 9:31 pm

Problems encountered when installing httpBL

To combat forum spammers attempting to register on a Simple Machines Forum (SMF) site, I installed the httpBL package (also available from the SMF mods page on this site). The mod uses the http:BL API from Project Honey Pot to stop spammers from accesing your forum. Instructions for installing and using it are at Adding httpBL to Block Forum Spammers.

I encountered several problems while installing the package. The first one was when I attempted to install it for all themes on the site. I had installed 18 additional themes for the site. The install process indicated an issue with only one of the themes, the Excellent Love theme. An install test failed for that theme. When I investigated the cause of the problem I found it was due to a file in the theme having line endings appropriate for a text file on a Mac OS X system, but I was installing it on a Linux system. I resolved that problem by converting the line endings, i.e, the "newlines", in the file to the appropriate one for a Linux system as explained in Test failed for Excellent Love theme for httpBL install.

After resolving the problem with the theme, I encountered another problem installing the software. I saw a Database Error message stating that the log_httpBL table didn't exist for the forum, which took me a long time to track down and fix.

Then once I had the software installed and the mod's page indicated it was working ok, when I attempted to view the httpBL logs by going to the Administration Center then selecting Members, then MOD httpBL, and then selecting one of the logs, or from the MOD httBL page when I selected Spammers Log, Humans Log, or Errors Log, I saw the following error message:

An Error Has Occurred!
Unable to load the 'viewlog' template.

Checking for where the error mesage might be found, I saw the following:

$ grep -rwl "Unable to load" --include=*.php

The error message is coming from Themes/default/languages/index.english.php. In that file, I see the following:

$txt['theme_template_error'] = 'Unable to load the \'%1$s\' template.';

When I checked to see where theme_template_error occurred, I found the following:

$ grep -rwl "theme_template_error" --include=*.php

The Project Honey Pot site is unavailable at the moment. If I visit the website at, I see the following error message:

502 Bad Gateway

Since the httpBL mod logs contain information on IP addresses retrieved from the Project Honey Pot dabase, perhaps because the site is unavailable the logs can not be displayed at the moment.

Update: when the Project Honey Pot site became available again I still experienced the problem viewing the httpBL logs. I finally traced the cause of the problem to a zero byte httpBL.template.php file. Replacing that file fixed the problem.

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