Blocking Locator Requests By Query Volume

Premier Members with an active subscription and MySLP Enterprise level users can restrict the number of locator queries that can be made by a single IP address.   This feature can help prevent “location list theft” where a competitor uses the locator to scrape location information from a website or JavaScript query.

Note: In order to enable these settings you must enter your Premier Subscription user ID and Subscription ID under the General / Admin tab.  When entered correctly the notice under “Add On Packs , Subscription Accounts” will tell you your subscription is validated.   This feature is only functional while your subscription is active.

Entering subscription data for Premier Subscriptions. A valid subscription will look similar to the status notification here.

When your subscription has been validated you will see new options available to you under several Store Locator Plus tabs.    The new Security settings will appear under the General tab, Server subtab as shown below.

New security settings for blocking locator requests based on volume of queries.

Block Requests Limit

This is the maximum number of location searches a user can perform within the Block Requests Time Span before their IP address is blocked from all locator requests.

This should be set to an integer value greater than 0.

The first page load request from an IP address is always allowed, even if this setting is 0.

If this is set to “2” and the Block Request Time Span is set to “Hour” the system will allow 2 location searches before the IP address is blocked.

The initial loading of the locator page will count as a “search” if you have the default “show locations at startup” enabled.

Changing this parameter will not release already-blocked IP addresses.

Block Requests Time Span

This setting determines over which period of time the locator request limit is checked.   A user that has more than the Block Requests Limit number of locator searches performed in this time period will cause their IP address to be blocked from future location searches until their IP is “released” from the block list.

Setting this value to Never will disable the IP blocking system.

Changing this parameter will not release already-blocked IP addresses.

Release IP After

This is the maximum amount of time a request is “remembered” for a given IP address.   Once this amount of time has passed since the most recent location request that triggered the block the IP address is “released” and once again free to perform location searches.

IP Whitelist

A list of IP addresses that will not be tracked by the blocker.   This allows unlimited location lookups from these IP addresses.

Each address entry should be on a separate line.

Uses standard Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) format.   Typical entries include:

  • Whitelist a specific IP address: 192.168.1.1
  • Whitelist an entire C-class block: 192.168.1.0/24

Related Notes

Keep in mind that an IP address is not a unique “user” or “computer”.  Many locations share an IP address such as a hotel or your local Starbucks.    The limitations will apply to the entire group of users from the same shared IP address.

Once an IP address has been blocked, subsequent location requests are not tracked until the block has been released.  This design lessens the server load in both volume of data stored and data I/O requests.   It helps alleviate issues from possible denial-of-service type attacks where a bot loading requests in rapid succession could overwhelm the data storage and/or database I/O processing.

 

 

Blocking Locator Requests was added in the Premier Plugin version 4.7.11.

 

 

Store Locator Plus 4.7.9

Version 4.7.9 of the Store Locator Plus application includes changes to the admin interface user experience.    Premier members who have current subscriptions for WordPress or are Enterprise level subscribers for MySLP have a new module that adds URL control functionality.

All Users

“Experience” Tab has been renamed “Settings”

Formerly the tab was referenced as “Experience ”  (back end) where you had  options to change how the search,map,and results interfaced. These options are now under the Settings tab, the functionality of the tab remains the same. The change was made so the nomenclature is now in line with the application interface standards.

Upgraded Accounts

Enabling Modules

The application separates functionality into different application modules.    This will ensure that extra overhead is not incurred for features not being deployed in your environment.  The interface for turning modules on and off is found under the General | Server tab in the Web App Settings section.

Power Users

The WordPress plugin includes a module for building SEO friendly web pages based on location data.   The option is a checkbox to enable the Pages module . This can be found under the General | Server | Web App Settings section.

Enterprise / Premier Users

Enabling the Territory Bounds module has been moved from the General | Data tab to the General | Server | Web App Settings section.

URL Control

A new URL Control module has been added to the application.   Enabling this module will turn on the interface to allow additional data to be presented in a web page URL to impact how the locator behaves.

URL Control : Allow Location In URL

The first URL Control option is to pass a location ID in via a URL.   Adding ?location=<id> to the end of a web page address that hosts the locator will cause the page to load with the specified location being highlighted as if the map marker was clicked.  The default behavior is to show the info bubble for that location.

 

Premier URL Control

Enabling URL Controls

Enabling URL Control features will require an active Premier Subscription.

Location Selection

When the URL Control module is active you can enable location ID passing by turning on “Location Selection” under the General / User Interface tab.

When this is enabled you can pass in a location ID by adding ?location=<id> to the end of the page address where your locator map is deployed with the [slplus] shortcode.

When the location ID is present and the settings is enabled the specified location will be activated on the location map as if a user had clicked the marker on the map.  This will show the info bubble by default.

Note: If cluster map markers are enabled they will be turned off for the initial page load.   Subsequent input or searches by the user will re-activate the cluster map markers.

Note: When passing in a location ID via a URL the location latitude/longitude will become the center point for the map display.  The location that is shown will be at the top of the result listing if sort by distance (default) is in place.

 

Location Limit

When the URL Control module is active you can enable location ID passing by turning on “Location Limit” under the General / User Interface tab.

When this is enabled you can pass in a limit for the number of locations to be returned when the map initially loads and when a search is performed by adding ?limit=<id> to the end of the page address where your locator map is deployed with the [slplus] shortcode.

Filter By Tag

When the URL Control module is active you can filter locations to show only this matching the tag(s) by turning on “Filter By Tag” under the General / User Interface tab.

This setting will require the Power Add On to be installed and active.

This setting will also require the following shortcode to be present in the Results Layout.  The shortcode is standard in most Store Locator Plus provided Style Gallery Styles.  It can be removed or changed if you have the Experience Add On active.

An example of a Results Layout where locations are assigned a single tag.  With multiple tags the entire list will be hyperlinked and will not likely perform as expected.  Note the [slp_location data.sl_tags] takes the place of the [slp_location pro_tags] shortcode that is set by default on most Style Gallery styles.

 

Combining URL Options

You can combine the URL control options by using standard URL notation for parameter passing.

The standard is to define the first parameter by starting with a question mark.

Additional parameters are started with an ampersand.

To pass a location ID and a location limit, in this example to show ONLY the location specified, you would add ?location=32&limit=1 to your map page URL.

 

Videos

Schedule For Initial Distance

The Premier Add On allows you to set a scheduled interval using the built-in WordPress Cron scheduler to calculate the initial distance for locations where the distance is zero.

The initial distance setting is used by Store Locator Plus to boost performance when loading the initial map.  It uses and SQL index on a numeric value to select a subset of data versus calculating values for potentially thousands of locations and then filtering based on the calculation.  For sites with more than 1,000 locations this feature significantly boosts initial map loading performance.
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Google Map Icons

All those little location markers on the map that Google just made FAR more prevalent in their latest update?  Those are what they call map icons.   They are also clickable which means all those locations will pop up a map bubble even if they are not YOUR Locations for your business.  Premier Add On 4.7.1 for Store Locator Plus lets you disable the “clickability” on the map icons.

Continue reading “Google Map Icons”

Viewing WordPress Scheduled Events

The Premier Add On provides various options for scheduling routing maintenance of locations.    For example, you can set Store Locator Plus to geocode uncoded locations twice per day; something that can be useful for a hands-off approach when loading locations remotely through direct data connections.    Being able to see all of the events that are scheduled on your WordPress site is a useful tool in managing your server load.     With the addition of the scheduled events, the Premier plugin also provides a “schedule insight” tool.

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Results Interaction

Results Interaction is a set of features provided by the Premier Add On. This set of features provides a variety of visual cues on the location map to indicate which location a user has clicked on when viewing a list of locations.   This provides a variety of additional options beyond the standard Info Bubble that Store Locator Plus displays when a location is clicked.

Use the Experience add-on to completely disable the Info Bubble and only use these interactive result indicators.
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slp_directory List Of States

You can easily create lists of the cities, states, or countries where you have locations by using the slp_directory shortcode provided by the Power add-onPremier Subscription members can install the Premier Plugin to further extend the functionality of the slp_directory shortcode.
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