Plugin / GNU Terry Pratchett

Nick Cernis



The GNU Terry Pratchett plugin transmits an “X-Clacks-Overhead” header reading, “GNU Terry Pratchett” so that Terry’s name is whispered forevermore in the Internet’s “overhead”.

In Pratchett’s “Going Postal”, workers who die in the line of duty have their names transmitted up and down the Discworld’s telegraph system as a tribute.

This plugin makes it easy for WordPress users to do the same for Terry Pratchett, without having to modify their server configuration.

The GNU Terry Pratchett headers

The plugin adds the GNU Terry Pratchett header in three ways:

  1. As an HTTP header (sent only if you don’t use a WordPress caching plugin).
  2. As a meta tag in your HTML with the http-equiv attribute.
  3. As an additional header tag for all outgoing email that WordPress sends.

Checking the HTTP header is sent

There is no settings page. There are several ways to check that the HTTP header is appearing for your site:

  1. With your terminal (curl -I
  2. With Chrome’s Network tab.
  3. With the Clacks Overhead Chrome plugin or the GNU Terry Pratchett Firefox extension.
  4. Using the Server Header Checker.

Note that the HTTP header is only sent if you don’t use a page caching plugin. If you’d like to send the HTTP header and continue to use a caching plugin, you’ll need to add it at the server level. See for options.

Checking the meta tag is being added

You can check that the meta tag is visible by viewing your site’s HTML source and searching for “GNU Terry Pratchett”.

The Clacks Overhead plugin for Chrome and the GNU Terry Pratchett extension for Firefox both light up when they detect the HTML meta tag or HTTP header.

Checking the email header is sent

To confirm that WordPress is sending email with the special header, you can:

  1. Create a new WordPress user from Users > Add New.
  2. Be sure to use an email address you can easily check, and tick “Send this password to the new user by email”.
  3. In your email or webmail client, view the raw source of the welcome email that WordPress sends you. You should see “GNU Terry Pratchett” in the headers.

Credits and contributions

Inspired by this reddit post, boingboing’s report, and the GNU Terry Pratchett website.

Contributions welcome at the GitHub repo.


13 reviews

Rating breakdown

Details Information



First Released

15 Mar, 2015

Total Downloads


Wordpress Version

2.8.0 or higher

Tested up to:


Require PHP Version:



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The plugin hasn't been transalated in any language other than English.


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