Meta: The State Of Linux Tips #22

I don’t want to write a meta article today, but I said I would. I don’t prefer them, but I started writing them and continue to write them. Sometimes, though more seldom than not, they’re a small break between other articles. However, they’re mostly just a waste of time and energy.

But, I said I’d write this one today. By pure luck, it’s also a fine time to wrap up the end of 2023.

See…

THIS IS THE 500TH ARTICLE ON LINUX-TIPS!

That’s right. I’ve published 500 articles, many of them at an acceptable standard! Some have been abysmal and others are hits in the search engine results.

When I started this project, I did not know I’d keep it going this long. Even when Mother Nature conspired against me, which she’ll be doing again this coming Wednesday, I was able to cheat and at least claim that I had an article published. They were garbage, but they were articles that informed. They told you why you were getting no articles!

Mother Nature is entirely to blame. She does what she wants and there’s not a whole lot we can do to stop her when she’s bent on causing destruction. It is what it is, I suppose. Given my geographical location, I’m surprised that Mother Nature hasn’t caused more trouble. So far, we’ve been fairly lucky and able to get articles published.

 A Quick Blurb About 2023:

So, in 2023, we experienced a 61% increase in unique monthly visitors and we experienced a 68% increase in monthly visitors.

Combined, we’ve used more than .5 TB of traffic. CDN traffic was about 350 GB of traffic. Backend traffic was about 135 GB of traffic. That’s a lot of bits and bytes! 

Linux-Tips received $25 in donations over the year. This is definitely not a get-rich scheme. Any ad revenue goes straight to the CDN provider. Fortunately, they’re not all that expensive. You buy credits ahead of time and I’ve got a solid chunk of credits, though they’re wearing them down. It’s a new year, so I’ll add some more credits soon.

Google sent more than 116,000 visitors to Linux-Tips.
Google also accounts for (Chrome/Chromium/clones) 80% of the browsers.
Firefox is about 3.5% of the browsers.

Sites besides Google send me traffic!

Linux.org sent me more than 17.5k unique visitors and more than 51k visits.
Reddit sent me just 894 people – but they’re sort of 2nd on the list.
The real 2nd on the list is the old .gq site, but we’ll ignore that.

Here Are The Leading Articles:

Find Out Which Display-Manager You’re Using
Screenfetch vs. Neofetch, You Decide!
How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal

What an odd assortment. You never know what search engines are going to like and you never know what people will be searching for. Ah well…

I also get some weird search engines.

You spend an average of 246 seconds on a page.

Most of you are from the US.
Most of you are technophiles.
Many of you are professionals.
Many of you are middle-class or higher.

I Get Other Traffic:

I get traffic from places I didn’t think I’d get traffic. These are some of the odd search engines out there, some of which give good results…

DuckDuckGo sent more than 6k visits.
StartPage sends about half of that.
Yandex sent about 1k.

I wasn’t indexed in Bing until recently. They sent like 500 people.

Those are tiny fractions of the overall traffic, but that’s okay. I’m happy to be helping people from all over the world. I even get traffic from China’s search engine.

The top 3 countries that send traffic would be:

United States Of America
Russia
India

However, that includes malicious traffic. The majority of malicious traffic also comes from (or uses a VPN and appears to be from) two of those countries. I’ll leave it to the reader to pick which two and I’ll leave it to the sociologists to decide why that is. We will not be digging into it in this article.

And, man… I get a lot of malicious traffic.

Just for one example, I’ve (not personally, it’s automated in many ways) dealt with more than 60,000 spam attempts in 2023 alone.

In just 24 hours, the site will be attacked 2,500 times – excluding spam attempts. Sometimes this number will double.

Don’t worry. This place is a fortress. You can knock on the door all day long and we should be good to go. And people do just that… They knock loudly and often! I use a multi-layer defensive system that has so far prevented unauthorized access. 

Closure:

So, yeah… It takes longer to write this sort of article than it does to write a regular article. There are all sorts of other facts and figures I could share, but that’s enough for an overview and I don’t want to invest that much time. I’ve invested enough in an article that’ll be appreciated by a few dozen people.

I think the important takeaway is that this is the 500th published article on Linux-Tips. If it wasn’t for your readership and encouragement, I’d have quit this long ago. So, thank you! Thank you to those who read and comment.

Thank you to those who contributed thoughts, insight, additional information, donations, and ad revenue. Every little bit goes into the CDN kitty. LOL It’s not enough to pay for the base hosting, so I just kinda ignore that and it’s automatically deducted so I don’t think about it.

It will be a while before we’re at 1,000 articles – but we just might get there. I suppose our next major milestones will be 600 articles and the 3-year mark. The 3-year mark is coming right up. It will be in April. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been doing this for that long, but I have proof that I have! I have lots and lots of proof that I’ve been doing it for this long.

Heck, I can use this as proof in a courtroom. “No, your honor. If you look at my life you’ll see that I don’t have time for committing crimes! I’m too busy doing other stuff! A giant portion of my time is spent with the Linux community.”

I think that’d work in any reasonable court!

Ah well…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: Happy New Year From Linux-Tips!

So, it’s the start of a new year from Linux-Tips! Hopefully, your life is going well and you have grand plans (that you’ll accomplish) in the coming year. Now is the time to make those promises to yourself, or so they say. I’ve never had much luck with New Year’s Resolutions, but you might.

Which makes me ask this:

What plans do you have for your Linux computing in the new year?

You could resolve to learn Bash scripting or spend more time in the terminal. If such is your goal, you could resolve to spend time helping your favorite project. Another goal could be learning something new throughout the year, specifically about Linux.

You could also resolve to read this site every other day by signing up for the newsletter! LOL! You could even donate to cover some of the bandwidth costs at Linux-Tips! If forums are your thing, you could head on over to Linux.org to sign up for an account. There are all sorts of things to get you started on a new year’s worth of Linux learning.

Me? I’m going to keep doing what I do. I’ll continue writing more material for Linux-Tips. I’ll continue working within the community, as I already do. I enjoy giving my time to the community and so I do.

This site? I don’t want to turn this into one of those meta articles, but we’ve experienced 61% growth in unique visitors and 69% in visits. That’s pretty sweet considering the number of people complaining about Google’s more recent updates. (I get the vast majority of my traffic from search engines, specifically Google.)

So, we’ve had a pretty good year. I’ve enjoyed watching the growth and I’ll soon be posting the 500th article (which will be a real meta article). That’s an exciting accomplishment, in my opinion. Feel free to share your opinion.

Let’s have some fun in the terminal to celebrate the new year!

Happy New Year In The Terminal:

First, we want to install Figlet (FIGlet, technically – I think). You’ll need an open terminal, but that’s often accomplished by pressing the CTRL + ALT + T buttons on your keyboard. 

With your terminal now open, follow the appropriate instructions:

Debian/Ubuntu/etc:

RHEL/CentOS/etc:

So, yeah, that’s all that I can be sure of. Your distro may have this as well.

But, when you get Figlet installed, type the following into your terminal:

You should get an output similar to this:

There… (Hit the expand button, if you must. And you probably must.)

A nice and easy way to celebrate New Year’s Day is with your Linux terminal and an application known as Figlet. You’ve learned nothing of importance. You’ve spent little time. And, well, you’ve got a holiday to celebrate or recover from. (Unless you’re on the other side of the planet, in which case this is a day late.)

HINT: Use man figlet to find the many other text formatting options. This should keep you amused for at least a few minutes. There’s more to the output than what I’ve demonstrated in a simple holiday article.

Closure:

Well, we’ve learned to use Figlet to celebrate the new year in the Linux terminal. It’s something so simple, that anyone can do it – assuming it’s in your default repositories. If it isn’t, you could try the Toilet application or you could compile the application. Both of those seem reasonably fun.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #21

It seems like now is a good time to write another article about the site itself, because I’ve not done a meta article in over two months. Yeah, it has been that long since I last did a check-in to let folks know how things are going. Every time I’ve thought about writing a meta article, I’ve decided to write something else.

The thing is, there’s not much to write about. Things are going very, very well. At least I think things are going well. It’s quite amazing how far this site has come and I have you, the regular readers, to thank for that. I have you, those who have contributed, to thank for that.

When you point out a problem in an article, you make the site better. If you choose to comment, it provides motivation. Those who voice their appreciation give me the confidence to continue. Without you, I’d have long since run out of any shred of desire to write.

Thank you! Really, thank you!

So, what do I mean when I say that things are going well?

Some Numbers:

In November, more than 17,500 unique visitors visited the site and did so more than 26,000 times.

I remember when I was stoked to see 20 visits in a day.

Once upon a time, I didn’t have to pay extra for bandwidth. In November, this site went through nearly 70 GB of traffic. LOL If you want to donate, that’s where your donations go – into paying the CDN. Fortunately, the bills aren’t that high.

Advanced Web Statistics claimed that I showed about 1,300,000 pages – but that seems unrealistic. I’m pretty sure that’s counting bots. Bots account for a bunch of my bandwidth, but the stats I share with you do their best to only include real human visitors.

This will be article #482.

I’ve not missed a day yet, though I remain convinced that I will – and I’m okay with that. So far, I’ve just been lucky. Eventually, Mother Nature and my infrastructure will cause me to miss an article. So far, there has been at least one article every other day. That was the schedule I decided upon when I started the site. That is the schedule I’ve followed.

Sponsorship:

I get so many requests to link to this or that. People constantly request that I allow them to write a ‘guest’ article. They do this because they want a link on my site and that helps with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) goals.

If you look at the top of the page, you’ll see a new link up there. Those are the rules and fees for me sharing an article or a link. I have intentionally priced them high. I mostly formalized this so that I can just respond to those emails with a link.

Man… So many SEO link requests… Most of them don’t even seem to know what the site is about. It’s like they just shotgun requests and hope for desperate blog authors. I am not desperate.

If you want to legitimately write an article that’s not to promote your site, feel free to do so. I’ll happily accept those. If you’re not doing it for SEO reasons, that’s fine by me.

Speaking of SEO, I’ve paid some attention to it lately. I’ve been learning more about SEO and trying new things. The site ranks pretty well for some keywords and phrases.

Search Engines:

I’m finally listed in Bing.

Bing sends me maybe 1% of my traffic…

I get traffic from all the major search engines – and some of the not-so-major search engines. Like, I get a few people from Ecosia. Weirdly, Duck Duck Go sends me the second-most amount of search engine traffic. The first is Google, of course. Bing and Yandex are respectively next, after “Unknown Search Engine”. That’s followed mostly by the regional Google instances, such as google.uk or google.de.

As mentioned above, I’ve done some on-site SEO work. They care about things like links, readability, load time, and stuff like that. This site ranks well in all those categories, as a general rule.

If you search for “ask a good support question”, you’ll likely find this site at the top of the list. Sadly, the people who most need that information will never search for that information. I’d call it irony, but it really isn’t ironic. It’s just a statement of the human condition, I suppose.

The site also ranks well for terms like ‘screenfetch vs neofetch‘, ‘Prevent SSH Root Login‘, ‘ls -l format‘, ‘restart teamviewer‘, and ‘sudo apt purge‘.

It’s a weird assortment. I have a hard time knowing what articles will be the most appreciated by Google. They tell me that I should know that before I even start writing an article, but I don’t worry about it.

Also, writing these meta articles takes more time and effort than writing regular articles. Search engines don’t even like these articles!

What Can You Do?

You can keep reading and keep commenting – even if nobody ever comments here. 99% of the comments here have got to be spam. I’m not kidding. I’ll get a dozen spam attempts a day – and that’s AFTER automatic filtering.

Bots can’t easily spam the site, so these are real humans wasting their time. I can’t imagine being so poor that I’d undergo a task with so little chance of success. I sort of feel sorry for these people, but not enough to let them spam the site.

You can donate of course. As I said, all the donations go straight to paying for bandwidth. You don’t have to. I’ve long since concluded that I’ll pay the bills regardless of how high they go. The site is not currently at risk of going under. Still, it’s an option.

You can unblock ads. I appreciate it if you do, but I understand if you do not. If you do unblock the ads, please only click on ads that you’re legitimately interested in. Clicking a bunch of ads is a nice gesture, but that makes Google angry. I do not like it when Google is angry! Google has been angry before. 

Closure:

Like I said, these meta articles take me longer to write than it takes me to write the average article. They’re kind of a pain in the butt and I almost regret doing the first few as that now makes me feel obligated to keep doing them. They may disappear entirely, but I’ll keep going for now.

The first few were easy, as I didn’t have much to say. Now, I have hundreds of facts and figures that I could share, but I’m not going to invest the time and effort to do so. If you have any questions about this sort of stuff, feel free to ask me. I just don’t want to invest that much time and effort into some article that’s going to be read by maybe 50 interested parties.

As always…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #19

Today we’re just going to have a look at some of what’s going on here at Linux-Tips, with an article about the state of Linux-Tips. It’s a regular thing that I try to do. I don’t always remember and I don’t always have anything new to share. So, as you can see, there are fewer meta articles than there are months the site has existed.

I almost didn’t write one this month but fate decided to be a cruel mistress…

See, I’m not always ahead of the curve. A lot of the time, I write an article the night before it is due to be published. I often have a spare article that can fill in if I am somehow prevented from writing that article. Alas, I do not have such an article, though I did consider updating an older article.

But, I mentioned fate. Fate is a fickle mistress and it was fate that decided my internet connection would barely work – when it did work. So, rather than take my sleep meds, I stayed awake late just so that I could write this article.

I had another article planned, but it requires some research and screenshots. Those have to be uploaded. My current connection speed isn’t all that dissimilar to dial-up rates. There will be no uploading of images tonight.

Sure, you might think that I’d learn my lesson and always have a spare article, but that’s just not going to happen. Nobody has been willing to write any articles lately, so that means I must write all of them myself. To do so with this consistency is, frankly, amazing. I dare say that I’m unique in these regards, especially with this time frame.

So, you get a meta article…

It takes longer to write these than it takes to write a regular article, but it’s less bandwidth than the article I had planned. I’m going to take my sleep meds and hope this is finished in time.

The State Of Linux-Tips:

This is a good thing…

During those moments of interruption, where I couldn’t even load the full page (it’s huge) to write the article, I was seeing 12 to 15 people online at the same time. That’s insane. That’s well and truly insane.

I used to be amazed if I had 20 visitors in a day. This month, I’m averaging almost 700 visits per day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my writing with that many people. Yes, those numbers pale against the big sites, but they’re huge to me.

So, not much has changed since the last meta article. The same browsers are performing the same as they did last month. The same web pages are proportionally the same as they are this month. To save me some time, why not read the previous article:

Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #18

The big news was in the last meta article:

Meta: Getting Indexed In Bing

I am so excited about being indexed in Bing! However, it means pretty much nothing in terms of the total number of visitors. They say that Bing has 3% of the search market, but that’s not what I’m seeing.

I realize Bing just started sending me traffic, but they’ve sent 85 visitors out of over 20,000 visitors. I mean, that’s great and all, but they don’t amount to much. Today has been a good day with over 1000 visitors. Bing’s traffic is a tiny amount – but I’m still so grateful and so excited.

More:

You know, at the top of each article is a tool to help you share the articles with various link services and social media services. I should probably remove it as it’s wasted bandwidth. As near as I can tell, it has never been used – and it has been there since the very first day of the site’s existence.

Ad revenue doesn’t add up to a whole lot. We will chew through 35 GB worth of CDN traffic this month. I do get a donation now and then, and I appreciate it greatly. It goes straight into the costs of running this site. As I’ve said many times, regardless of the financial aspect, the site will remain running – until I either kick the bucket or run out of stuff to say.

I have done some SEO stuff. The site has a DR of 30 on AHREFS. SEMRush seems to also like the site. It’s interesting to pay attention to that stuff, but I have no idea what I’m doing. SEO is beyond my ability. Heck, I’m not even a qualified admin!

I did apply to be an affiliate of a service I love, but they not only turned us down they refused to send an email explaining why. I was pretty disappointed in the company, but I still use their product. Frankly, it’s the best in the industry. They approve sites with less traffic and they approve sites with far more controversial topics. Ah well…

So, yeah, not a heck of a lot has changed. Copy and paste the results from last month, add more traffic, add more articles, add more words, and you’ve got the same thing going on this month.

And that’s okay. It’s not explosive growth, but it’s consistent growth. As a businessperson, I’ve long since learned to appreciate consistent growth over bursts that can be inconsistent and harmful. The site’s in a good place right now and let’s hope it continues to grow.

Closure:

Again, I consider it quite an honor to get this much traffic. The list of things I do not know could fill a book, but I share what I do know. I don’t think we’ll ever suffer from a lack of article ideas. If we do, we can just repackage the old articles and pretend they’re new – just like all the other sites do!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: Getting Indexed In Bing

Today’s article will be largely a meta article, not about Linux but about getting indexed in Bing. For whatever reason, people sometimes have issues getting indexed in Bing and I was among those people.

To cut to the chase, I’ll simply say that this is no longer a problem for this site. We’re now indexed by Bing and the site shows up in their search results. In this article, I’ll tell you how. It may take me a few words to get to that point, but I’ll explain how we managed to get indexed in Bing.

So, first, let’s just say:

Welcome Bing Users!

As you may know, there’s a search engine called Bing. The search engine is owned by Microsoft and has been around since 2009. This isn’t Microsoft’s first search engine, but this incarnation has been around for a while now.

While we’re Linux users here, the Bing search engine has been known to give out some pretty solid results. Even still, Bing is far less popular than Google and they have about 3% of the web search market share.

Considering how their default browser (Edge, available for Linux) defaults to Bing as the search engine, it’s rather amazing how little people care about their search. I’ve used Bing extensively and found it gave me adequate results, especially when I used personalized search and searched from a logged-in account. Yes, they happily gave me Linux-related search results.

Bing also provides the search engine results for Yahoo. Yes, Yahoo still exists. Yes, people still use Yahoo. I am not one of those people, but I appreciate what Yahoo did for the web back in the day. So, while they’re surely a dinosaur, they’re still around and still useful for a few people.

The problem was, that I couldn’t get this site indexed by Bing. By that, Bing would happily crawl the site but they wouldn’t list me in their index. Even searching for the exact domain name showed zero results for this site. It’s a trivial amount of traffic, but I want everyone to be able to find this site and the information here.

Getting Indexed In Bing:

This site published the first article on March 6th, 2021. There is a new article published every other day, many of them are even acceptable! No matter what I did, Bing would not index Linux-Tips.

I did everything correctly. There’s no blackhat SEO, no overly weighted meta tags, no keyword stuffing, no hidden text, and no paying for links in link farms. All the links to this site (and there are thousands of them) are organic.

I even used IndexNow. I’ve used IndexNow from just about day one. That is a method of notifying Bing that new content has been published. They got this notification almost every other day. It does appear to lag sometimes, but that wouldn’t make any major difference. Bing knew the site existed and they refused to index the site. Not only that, Bing knew there was constant new content created and still refused to index the site.

I mostly ignored this. I signed up for Bing’s Webmaster Tools and authenticated the site on day one. They were even granted access to Google’s Search Console, meaning they had even more information about the site. Still, they refused to index the site.

This went on for years. Linux-Tips is more than two years old.

The Rest Of The Story:

Back in 2021, I found a form that I could fill out. I was frustrated and in a rush, so I simply gave them a link to the home page and said something like, “I am not indexed.” I hit the submit button and nothing happened. The site was already full of a lot of content, so I assumed they could figure that out on their own.

They said they’d respond, but they never did. Speaking of which, they still haven’t responded via email to anything I’ve sent them. But, no… No, they didn’t respond. I guess I don’t blame them. I left a vague message.

Earlier this month, I decided I was going to see what I could do to get to the bottom of this. I searched and searched the internet, trying to figure out why the site wasn’t indexed in Bing. One of the things I learned was that sometimes Bing will mistakenly block a site and that block can be removed. I’m not sure if that’s what happened in this case, but it seems the most likely.

There’s Another Form!

See, I found another form by following various Bing help files. This is the link you need to know about:

Bing Webmaster’s Support

For whatever reason, that link isn’t loading properly for me at this point. None of the Bing tools are working for me at this moment in time. I’m unsure if that’s me, if that’s them, or if they moved the form since I looked at it yesterday.

NOTE/UPDATE: The link does work if I use a VPN. Something weird is going on with their site. My presumption is that they’ll fix it. This is above my pay grade.

You’ll have to log in, of course. If you already have a Webmaster Tools account it will populate some of the fields for you. If you don’t already have said account, you’ll probably need to make one. I already had the account. I’m reasonably sure that you can’t do much of anything without an account.

If the above link doesn’t work for you, search around for the support form and that’s the form you need. You should be able to use a drop-down menu to select indexing as the problem and you should be able to specify your site.

This is what I did…

I made my comment as brief as possible while as technical as required. I explained all those things I explained earlier in this article. The information I gave them was brief, factual, and detailed. I had to try something!

The Results:

After I submitted my information on the form, making sure to select the correct options from the drop-down menu, I got an email confirming that they’d received my request. It was a canned email, an autoresponder message, and it went straight into the junk folder without me seeing it.

Amusingly, I use an outlook.com email address for this and it still went straight to spam. I never got another message. This is what that message said:

Thank you for contacting Bing Webmaster Support Team.

This email is confirmation that we have received your request for https://linux-tips.us/ and created the following Request REQ00063891 . Your ticket is being assigned to a Global Support Webmaster Engineer who will be contacting you about the next steps to resolve your issue. We will get back to you in 10 days.

Take care and stay safe!

Sincerely,
Microsoft Bing

I haven’t heard a word from them since – and that’s okay by me.

Sure enough, on the 17th of this month, I started getting traffic (in my server logs) from Bing users. When I logged into the Bing Webmaster tools, all the data was populated, showing hundreds of indexed pages. Everything was as it should be and even IndexNow appeared to be working properly.

For once, read the conclusion – as it contains more details.

Conclusion:

If you’re having trouble getting indexed in Bing, and you meet their guidelines – including having many articles full of unique and formatted content (along with the rest of the guidelines, like meta tags and the like) – then simply root around on their site until you find the hidden contact form and send them an email. 

In that email, be direct and informative – but don’t waste their time. Let them know the good things you’ve done and the good things you’re doing. Show them that you’ve followed the rules and that your site deserves to be indexed on its merits. After all, the worst thing they can do is just ignore you and not index your site. 

But, of course, make sure those things are true. Read their guidelines and become familiar with what they expect. If you’re using WordPress, it’s trivial to follow the rules. Grab one of the many SEO plugins and set it up correctly. They all have adequate help files. I am not willing to spend the money hiring an SEO expert. The site is expensive enough.

Truly, I’m not an SEO expert. Heck, I’m barely qualified to be a WordPress admin, and some folks would say I’m not even qualified to do that. At the end of the day, if you’re not being indexed by Bing, just send them an email. It worked for me and I figured I’d share the results with other people who may have their sites and indexing issues.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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