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Crazy characters being added in the URL

     
2:35 am on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys,

For one of my sites, I noticed that in Firefox and Safari, additional characters are added in the URL. This occurs only in the posts, and not in the homepage. This is not happening in IE

For example, the URL
www.URL.com/2011/this-is-my-blog-post.html

becomes

www.URL.com/2011/this-is-my-blog-post#.TtRB_LJ2GCo

with the #.TtRB_LJ2GCo added to the URL

Does anyone have any clue as to what is happening?

I checked with my web host and they run a server check on our server (this site is on a dedicated server) and there is no malware and the server does not appear to have been compromised.

The site is running WordPress 3.2.1 with 18 active plugins

I have no idea what is happening. This is a site I have not updated since October 11, 2011 and I don't know where to start.

Thanks for your help
12:48 pm on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What permalink structure are you using and what plugins do you have in place (especially any URL controlling plugins).
1:13 pm on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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No URL controlling plugins and the permalink is

/%year%/%postname%.html

The site has been up for 2+ years with no problems like this. I did not touch it for a month (not affected by Panda as well) and just noticed it yesterday when I was surfing the site in Safari

The plugins I have are

- AddThis
- Better Tag Cloud
- Broken Link Checker
- Easy Contact
- Genesis Simple Edits
- Genesis Simple Hooks
- Google Analyticator
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Health Check
- Mobile Press
- nRelate Related Content
- Popular post widget
- SEO Smart Links
- SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
- Slideshow Gallery
- TweetMeme Retweet Button
- Twitter Facebook Social Share
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

I have reinstalled Wordpress. I have deactivated the plugins, and reactivated them after not seeing any change in the URLs.

Thanks for your help
1:13 am on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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And you're sure that when you turn off ALL of the plugins the problem persists?

Try switching to a generic theme (unedited version) and see if the issues shows there.

Sounds like you're using a Genesis theme yes?
12:30 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I more carefully removed the plugins one by one -- and found the culprit. It was Addthis that was adding the weird characters

Whereas before I focused more on plugins I thought were the culprit and skimmed those I thought was dependable, I now took the time to remove the plugins and went through several pages of the site.

I wasn't expecting it to be Addthis because I thought they were more or less updated more often. But I deactivated Addthis and the problem went away; activated it again and the weird characters in the URL happened again.
7:05 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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So, it changes to an extensionless URL and adds a named anchor to the end.

What's the actual problem with that?
10:02 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It was Addthis that was adding the weird characters

For those of us who don't speak WordPress, that sounds perfectly reasonable :) What is Addthis supposed to do, besides break your URLs?

For that matter, does it break anything, or does it "just" make the address bar look wonky while continuing to display as normal? I put "just" in quotes because that's actually more complicated than simply playing havoc with URLs.

Only Safari? Not Chrome? (Not a Webkit thing, then.) Are the fragments just garbage or is there really an anchor on the page called .TtRB_LJ2GCo? Can't say I care for that period immediately after the #, but other than that it looks benign. Meaningless, but benign.
11:48 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Only Safari? Not Chrome?


For some PCs, it was in Firefox. Others in Chrome. And in some, in both. Also in Safari. But not in IE; never saw the problem in IE

In different browsers, the new addition #.TtRB_LJ2GCo varies. For the same page in different browsers, the URL effectively becomes different


What's the actual problem with that?


True, it does NOT break anything.

But I am very uneasy when you never set your site to have that #.TtRB_LJ2GCo URL extension, and you just wake up one day to find that it suddenly started showing new characters in the URL

It becomes a problem when another site links to my content, and their link uses the new extensions -- and clicking on the link from the other site leads to 404 Not Found error on my site.
12:13 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Anything after the # is an in-page anchor and is not part of the URL.

It is data attached by the URL for use internally only by the browser.
1:37 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Glad you got it sorted.

I'd take a look at the forum on the AddThis site and see if anyone else mentions this and why it happens. There might be an easy fix or they may be working on it.
2:21 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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for use internally only by the browser


I'd prefer that it is used internally and not visible to me, to the users and others who may link to the site. When someone contacts you asking whether your site has malware because of the way the URL is displayed, it is time to take notice of the problem

Even the link building SEOs who keeps sending the "can-I-buy-a-text-link-from-your-page" has picked up the URLs with the crazy characters.

@lorax -- yes I did posted it in the Addthis site. I've not seen anyone who complained about it (I also have several other Wordpress sites with Addthis but this is the only one with that problem)
10:50 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>> but this is the only one with that problem

Odd - makes me wonder what's common among them -- and different!
 

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