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Robots.txt -- I only want to allow access to the public root directory

Rowby Goren
Rowby Goren asked
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Last Modified: 2010-05-19
WHat is the best way to write a robots.txt file so that robots will only have access to the webite's main public root directory.  In this case the root is named public_html

THanks

Rowby
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Commented:
You have to have a seperate disallow line for each folder to protect, no way to do it with a whitelist approach.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /folder/
Disallow: /folder2/

Please note that the / is relative to the root of the domain, NOT THE SERVER. Nobody but others on your server will have access to any path outside of you public_html folder. DO NOT EVER INCLUDE IT IN A LINK!

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This site has (I think) a better description of the format and parameters for the robots.txt file. Remember, like jsev1995 indicated, robots.txt works like a "blacklist" rather than a "whitelist". Meaning that in order to disallow access to specific directories you must explicitly define each directory in robots.txt. It is not possible to say: "give access only to this directory". Instead, your rules must say: "block access to every directory in this list".

http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/exclusion-admin.html

If possible, you may want to put all of your "unlisted" folders inside a parent directory then simply block that parent directory in robots.txt. For example, if you structure the root directory like:
www.yoursite.com/
    -robots.txt
    -/alloweddirectory
         -/subdirectory1
         -/subdirectory2
         -/...
    -/blockeddirectory
         -/subdirectory1
         -/subdirectory2
         -/...

...and the contents of robots.txt looks like:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /blockeddirectory/

...this should allow search engines to access everything in "alloweddirectory" and deny access to everything in "blockeddirectory".

Commented:
depending on wether or not your site is already coded, moving the files will screw up all your links. So that might not work.

Author

Commented:
Thanks

Now I know *all about robots*

Rowby
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