iQ Block Country

Description

iQ Block Country is a plugin that allows you to limit access to your website content. You can either allow or disallow visitors from defined countries to (parts of) your content.

For instance if you have content that should be restricted to a limited set of countries you can do so.
If you want to block rogue countries that cause issues like for instance hack attempts, spamming of your comments etc you can block them as well.

Do you want secure your WordPress Admin backend site to only your country? Entirely possible! You can even block all countries and only allow your ip address.

And even if you block a country you can still allow certain visitors by putting their ip address on the allow list just like you can allow a country but put ip addresses on the block list from that country.

You can show blocked visitors a message which you can style by using CSS or you can redirect them to a page within your WordPress site. Or you can redirect the visitors to an external website.

You can (dis)allow visitors to blog articles, blog categories or pages or all content.

Stop visitors from doing harmful things on your WordPress site or limit the countries that can access your blog. Add an additional layer of security to your WordPress site.

This plugin uses the GeoLite database from Maxmind. It has a 99.5% accuracy so that is pretty good for a free database. If you need higher accuracy you can buy a license from MaxMind directly.
If you cannot or do not want to download the GeoIP database from Maxmind you can use the GeoIP API website available on https://webence.nl/geoip-api/

If you want to use the GeoLite database from Maxmind you will have to download the GeoIP database from MaxMind directly and upload it to your site.
The WordPress license does not allow this plugin to download the MaxMind Geo database for you.

Do you need help with this plugin? Please email support@webence.nl.

GDPR Information

This plugin stores data about your visitors in your local WordPress database. The number of days this data is stores can be configured on the settings page. You can also disable logging any data.

Data which is stored of blocked visitors:

  • IP Address
  • Date and time of the visit
  • URL that was requested
  • Country of the IP address
  • If the block happened on your backend or your frontend

Data which is stored on non blocked visitors:

  • Nothing

If you allow tracking (yeah if you do!) you share some information with us. This is only the IP address of a blocked request on your backend. No other information is send and only the IP address is logged on our systems to gather how many times that IP address have attempted to login to a backend. We do not log which site was visited or which URL just only the IP address So we cannot lead an ip address back to a specific website or user. If an IP address is not blocked again within a month we will remove the IP address from the list.

Using this plugin with a caching plugin

Please note that many of the caching plugins are not compatible with this plugin. The nature of caching is that a dynamically build web page is cached into a static page.
If a visitor is blocked this plugin sends header data where it supplies info that the page should not be cached. Many plugins however disregard this info and cache the page or the redirect. Resulting in valid visitors receiving a message that they are blocked. This is not a malfunction of this plugin.

Disclaimer: No guarantees are made but after some light testing the following caching plugins seem to work: Comet Cache, WP Super Cache
Plugins that do NOT work: W3 Total Cache, Hyper cache, WPRocket

Installation

  1. Unzip the archive and put the iq-block-country folder into your plugins folder (/wp-content/plugins/).
  2. Create an account at https://www.maxmind.com/en/geolite2/signup
  3. Login to your account.
  4. Download the GeoIP2 Country database (name is GeoLite2-Country.tar.gz) from your account.
  5. Unzip the GeoIP2 database and upload the GeoLite2-Country.mmdb file to your upload dir usually /wp-content/uploads/GeoLite2-Country.mmdb
  6. If you do not want to or cannot download the MaxMind GeoIP database you can use the GeoIP API.
  7. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  8. Go to the settings page and choose which countries you want to ban. Use the ctrl key to select multiple countries

FAQ

How come that I still see visitors from countries that I blocked in Statpress or other statistics software?

It’s true that you might see hits from countries that you have blocked in your statistics software.

This however does not mean this plugin does not work, it just means somebody tried to access a certain page or pages and that that fact is logged.

If you are worried this plugin does not work you could try to block your own country or your own ip address and afterwards visit your frontend website and see if it actually works. Also if you have access to the logfiles of the webserver that hosts your website you can see that these visitors are actually denied with a HTTP error 403.

How come I still see visitors being blocked from other security plugins?

Other wordpress plugins handle the visitors also. They might run before iQ Block Country or they might run after iQ Block Country runs.

This however does not mean this plugin does not work, it just means somebody tried to access a certain page, post or your backend and another plugin also handled the request.

If you are worried this plugin does not work you could try to block your own country or your own ip address and afterwards visit your frontend website and see if it actually works. Also if you have access to the logfiles of the webserver that hosts your website you can see that these visitors are actually denied with a HTTP error 403.

This plugin does not work, I blocked a country and still see visitors!

Well, this plugin does in fact work but is limited to the data MaxMind provides. Also in your statistics software or logfiles you probably will see log entries from countries that you have blocked. See the “How come I still see visitors…” FAQ for that.

If you think you have a visitor from a country you have blocked lookup that specific IP address on the tools tab and see which country MaxMind thinks it is. If this is not the same country you may wish to block the country that MaxMind thinks it is.

Whoops I made a whoops and blocked my own country from visiting the backend. Now I cannot login… HELP!

I am afraid this can only be solved by editing your MySQL database,directly editing the rows in the wp_options table. You can use a tool like PHPMyAdmin for that.

If you don’t know how to do this please ask your hosting provider if they can help, or ask me if I can help you out!

Why do you not make something that can override that it blocks my country from the backend.

Well, if you can use a manual override so can the people that want to ‘visit’ your backend.

This plugin is meant to keep people out. Perhaps you keep a key to your house somewhere hidden in your garden but this plugin does not have a key somewhere hidden… So if you locked yourself out you need to call a locksmith (or pick the lock yourself of course!)

How can I style the banned message?

You can style the message by using CSS in the textbox. You are also able to include images, so you could visualize that people are banned from your site.

You can also provide a link to another page explaining why they might be banned. Only culprit is that it cannot be a page on the same domain name as people would be banned from that page as well.

You can use for instance:

body {
color: red;
background-color: #ffffff; }
h1 {
font-family: Helvetica, Geneva, Arial,
SunSans-Regular, sans-serif }

Go away!

you basicly can use everything as within a normal HTML page. Including images for instance.

Help! My IP address is not detected properly

The iQ Block Country plugin does it’s best to detect the real IP address of your visitors even if they try to hide it. However sometimes it fails in doing so and in that case you might get an different IP address for your users.
For instance your webhosting IP address.

You can overrule this process if it does not work properly in your case. Go to the Tools tab there is a section IP Address Information. It will show all server headers that contain IP information, see which header has your own IP address.

On the home tab you can set this header where it says ‘Override IP information’.

You should only use this if the automatic IP detection fails otherwise please have it set to “No override”

Does this plugin work with caching?

In some circumstances: No

The plugin does it best to prevent caching of the “You are blocked” message. However most caching software can be forced to cache anyway. You may or may not be able to control the behavior of the caching method.

The plugin does it bests to avoid caching but under circumstances the message does get cached.
Either change the behavior of your caching software or disable the plugin.

If you want to block visitors from the frontend using a caching mechanism is not recommended.

How can I select multiple countries at once?

You can press the CTRL key and select several countries.

Perhaps also a handy function is that you can type in a part of the name of the country!

You can select/deselect all countries by selecting “(de)select all countries…”

If you just want to allow some countries you can also use the ‘Block all countries except those selected below’ function by selecting the countries you want to allow and select invert this selection.

How can I get a new version of the GeoIP database?

You can download the database(s) directly from MaxMind and upload them to your website.

  1. Create an account at https://www.maxmind.com/en/geolite2/signup
  2. Login to your account.
  3. Download the GeoIP2 Country database (name is GeoLite2-Country.tar.gz) from your account.
  4. Unzip the GeoIP2 database and upload the GeoLite2-Country.mmdb file to your upload dir usually /wp-content/uploads/GeoLite2-Country.mmdb

Maxmind updates the GeoLite database every month.

I get “Cannot modify header information – headers already sent” errors

This is possible if another plugin or your template sends out header information before this plugin does. You can deactivate and reactivate this plugin, it will try to load as the first plugin upon activation.

If this does not help you out deselect “Send headers when user is blocked”. This will no longer send headers but only display the block message. This however will mess up your website if you use caching software for your website.
This also does not work if you use a page or url redirect as that relies on sending headers for redirecting the visitor to another page or URL.

What data get sends to you when I select “Allow tracking”?

If you select this option each hour the plugin checks if it has new data to send back to the central server.

This data consists of each IP address that has tried to login to your backend and how many attempts were made since the last check.

If storing or sharing an IP address is illegal in your country do not select this feature.

The laws in my country do not allow storing IP addresses as it is personal information.

You can select the option on the home tab “Do not log IP addresses” to stop iQ Block Country from logging IP addresses. This will however also break the statistics.

I have moved my WordPress site to another host. Now iQ Block Country cannot find the GeoIP databases anymore

Somewhere in your WordPress database there is a wp_options table. In the wp_options table is an option_name called ‘upload_path’.

There probably is an (old) path set as option_value. If you know your way around MySQL (via PHPMyAdmin for instance) you can empty the option_value.
This should fix your problem.

Please note that your wp_options table may be called differently depending on your installation choices.

Jetpack does not work anymore with your plugin!

Jetpack uses xmlrpc.php to communicate with your site. xmlrpc.php is considered as a backend url and therefore blocked if needed.

You can allow Jetpack by selecting “Jetpack by wordpress.com” as a search engine on the services tab.

Why is the GeoLite database not downloaded anymore ?

The WordPress guys have contacted me that the license of the MaxMind GeoLite database and the WordPress license conflicted. So it was no longer
allowed to include the GeoLite database or provide an automatic download or download button. Instead users should download the database themselves
and upload them to the website.

WordPress could be held liable for any license issue. So that is why the auto download en update was removed from this plugin.

I only want to block certain posts with a specific tag

As the basic rule is to block all and every post you have to configure this in a special way:

  • Select the countries you want to block on the frontend tab
  • Select the option “Block visitors from visiting the frontend of your website” on the frontend tab
  • Select the option “Do you want to block individual categories” on the categories tab.
  • Do not select any categories (unless you want to of course)
  • Select “Do you want to block individual tags” on the tags tab.
  • Select any tag you want to block.

Is the new GeoIP2 database format supported?

Yes since v1.2.0 the new GeoIP2 Country database is supported. For now the old GeoIP lite database will also still be supported.
These databases are however not updated anymore by MaxMind. If you have the new database and the old database the new one will
be used.

Reviews

Nuwamba 30, 2020
When you install the plugin, the first thing you get is a massive warning that a part is to be installed manually. When you have done that, there comes a ton of settings, which could have been set by (already recommended) 'default'. Clearer explanation as to what the settings do is required. The latter level of clarity/explanation confused me so much that I uninstalled instantly. Subsequently, I have no idea whether the plugin would have worked for me. The plugin is yet too risky, in my mind. Development is needed.
Agosta 24, 2020
too much difficulty downloading the database. i think there are no free databases available anymore, but the download site was so obtuse it was difficult to tell. don't bother is my advice.
Read all 125 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“iQ Block Country” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Contributors

“iQ Block Country” has been translated into 1 locale. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “iQ Block Country” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.

Changelog

1.2.10

  • Change: Changed whitelist/blacklist to allow list / block list.
  • Change: Removed Paris as GeoIP location
  • Change: Added website server address to allow list of the backend to ensure certain WordPress functions keep working if you block the country your website is hosted from the backend.

1.2.9

  • Change: Some codefixes applied

1.2.8

  • Bugfix: Checking the IP address on the tools tab gave wrong information about countries being blocked if the “block countries below” function was used. This had no effect on the actual denying of visitors.
  • New: Added GeoIP API usage (not realtime) of the current month to the tools tab as beta function.

1.2.7

  • Change: Typo in San Francisco (Thanks to Shizart)
  • New: Added France as GeoIP location
  • Change: Update to text description due to MaxMind update to Geo2Lite database policy
  • Bugfix: No empty location anymore (Thanks to Stonehenge Creations)

1.2.6

  • Change: Added better support to detect if mbstring is available for usage.

1.2.5

  • New: Mediapartners-Google service added
  • Change: Changed webserver ip detection a bit
  • New: You can unblock feed pages on the frontend configuration tab for the people who want to block visitors but want to allow access to the (RSS) feeds

1.2.4

  • Change: Changed webserver ip detection a bit

1.2.3

  • Change: Changed inverse option to that you have to select between ‘Block countries selected below’ or ‘Block all countries except those selected below’ as inverse option caused some confusion.
  • New: Added ‘inverse’ function to the pages selection as well. So you can now select the pages you want to block or select the pages you do not want to have blocked and block all other pages.
  • New: Added override function for IP detection.
  • Change: Cutoff for long urls on the statistics page.

1.2.2

  • New: Added MOZ as service.
  • New: Added SEMrush as service.
  • New: Added SEOkicks as service.
  • New: Added EU2 and EU3 servers for GeoIP API
  • New: Added support for WPS Hide Login
  • Change: Deleted Asia server due to bad performance
  • Change: Altered behavior of flushing the buffer

1.2.1

  • New: Added Link Checker (https://validator.w3.org/checklink) as service.
  • New: Added Dead Link Checker as a service.
  • New: Added Broken Link Check as a service.
  • New: Added Pingdom as a service
  • Change: Adjusted loading chosen library (Credits to Uzzal)
  • Change: Display error when only the legacy GeoIP database exists and not the new GeoIP2 version

1.2.0

  • New: Added support for GeoIP2 country database
  • New: Added Pinterest as service