[wp-edu] Uploads folder content indexed in Google?

Berardi, Richard rberardi at georgian.edu
Wed Sep 16 01:21:38 UTC 2015

Removing an entire directory or site

In order for a directory or site-wide removal to be successful, the directory or site must be disallowed in the site's robots.txt file<http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35302>. For example, in order to remove the http://www.example.com/secret/ directory, your robots.txt file would need to include:
   User-agent: *
   Disallow: /secret/
It isn't enough for the root of the directory to return a 404 status code, because it's possible for a directory to return a 404 but still serve out files underneath it. Using robots.txt to block a directory (or an entire site) ensures that all the URLs under that directory (or site) are blocked as well. You can test whether a directory has been blocked correctly using either the Fetch as Googlebot<http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=158587> or Test robots.txt<http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=156449> features in Webmaster Tools.

Only verified owners of a site can request removal of an entire site or directory in Webmaster Tools. To request removal of a directory or site, click on the site in question, then go to Site configuration > Crawler access > Remove URL. If you enter the root of your site as the URL you want to remove, you'll be asked to confirm that you want to remove the entire site. If you enter a subdirectory, select the "Remove directory" option from the drop-down menu.


Hope this helps.

Sent from my  iPhone 6

On Sep 15, 2015, at 5:59 PM, Ben Bakelaar <bakelaar at rutgers.edu<mailto:bakelaar at rutgers.edu>> wrote:

Hello all, it appears we have had some of the files on our Wordpress network indexed in Google search results. I had assumed security through obscurity here, but it appears I was wrong.

Our network runs sites as sub-directories, and we also use domain mapping for some of them. I haven’t quite figured out how yet, but one of the mapped domains (xyz, not root.url.com<http://root.url.com>) which points to site A has shown up in search results with absolute paths to files in a completely different site B (which is actually a sub-dir site, not masked). And they load just fine – this must be an unanticipated quirk of DNS records + the Wordpress code that routes requests.

So we have URLs like xyz.domain/wp-content/uploads/sites/x/xxxx/xx/filename.doc coming up in results! Eek! I have already started the removal requests via Google Webmaster Tools. Again no explanation yet for how these URLs were located by the search engines, but I’m working on possible theories.

Aside from getting to the bottom of this, I’m trying to figure out the best way to block this from happening in the future. Apache .htaccess rules are one option. Robots.txt could be another? Has anyone run into this issue before, and what have you done as a solution? I’m a little surprised this isn’t addressed “in code”. There are many plugins that allow uploads, this is a desired and supported user behavior by default. But there are no conceivable use cases I can think of where those uploads should be able to be indexed by bots.

Could I simply place robots.txt in the root of the WP codebase, and tell it to avoid indexing ALL files under /wp-content? Would that cover all the various access cases with direct-linked files (like graphics), domain masking/mapping, etc.? And to fully prevent opening any uploads from outside the university network (as a decent but arbitrary perimeter), can I do the same with .htaccess or do I have to make dozens of .htaccess files per /wp-content/uploads/sites/X – in each little sub-directory?

School of Communication and Information
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
p 848.932.8710

wp-edu mailing list
wp-edu at lists.automattic.com<mailto:wp-edu at lists.automattic.com>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.automattic.com/pipermail/wp-edu/attachments/20150916/bed03016/attachment.html>

More information about the wp-edu mailing list