Robots.txt best practices


#1

I’d been ignoring this error message in my log for a while:

ActionController::RoutingError (Recognition failed for “/robots.txt”):

I had never touched robots.txt. So I decided to make it a proper
robots.txtfile

I found this great article…
http://www.ilovejackdaniels.com/seo/robots-txt-file/

…where Dave explains the ins and outs of the file.

Before I changed mine, I thought I’d poll the group to see if anyone had
any
good thoughts on the subject -like any rails-specific excludes. And
whether
some samples could be posted.

Mine was going to look like this:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /404.php

Thanks,

Steve
http://www.smarkets.net


#2

Hi Steve,

I would like to warn you about the issue of abusing bots, i.e. bots
who do not obey robots.txt. Such bots can really eat up your bandwidth
fast.

On one of my servers in October last month the total bandwidth usage
was 2300GB (serving just text and images). A detailed log scan showed
that most of the bandwidth was used by bots in Asian countries.

Scraping is really “hot” these days so you will want to ensure that
you get hold of various abusing bots to include in your robots.txt
file.

Since I manage multiple domains on dedicated clusters, the solution
for me was to ban these bots using mod_rewrite. If you would like, I
can post a copy of my mod_rewrite banned user agents.

I recommend putting crawl delay in your robots.txt file (if you have a
large webite) otherwise bots like MSN can hit your site hard

User-agent: *
Crawl-delay: 17

Not that this answers your question, but I thought it may help.

Frank

Steve O. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote: I’d been ignoring this error
message in my log for a while:

ActionController::RoutingError (Recognition failed for “/robots.txt”):

I had never touched robots.txt. So I decided to make it a proper
robots.txt file

I found this great article…
http://www.ilovejackdaniels.com/seo/robots-txt-file/

…where Dave explains the ins and outs of the file.

Before I changed mine, I thought I’d poll the group to see if anyone
had any good thoughts on the subject -like any rails-specific excludes.
And whether some samples could be posted.

Mine was going to look like this:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /404.php

Thanks,

Steve
http://www.smarkets.net


Rails mailing list
removed_email_address@domain.invalid
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails


#3

Yes, keep in mind that robots.txt is just a suggestion – nothing has
to
follow it.

Another easy way of banning abusive bots is to use Allow/Deny rules in
your
Apache configuration and ban them by IP or subnet, e.g.

Deny from www.xxx.yyy.zzz

http://www.brainstormsandraves.com/archives/2005/10/09/htaccess/

Tony


#4

Hello Kevin,

  Thank you for your reply.

  Here is a mini tutorial I created on how to install/configure 

mod_security for Apache:

  http://frankmash.blogspot.com/2005_12_09_frankmash_archive.html

  Here I have posted my current useragents.conf files and a sample 

of how to ban using .htaccess/mod_rewrite, as well as links to a great
three -part discussion on WebmasterWorld.
http://frankmash.blogspot.com/2006/02/banning-abusing-bots-using-modrewrite.html

  And finally, I also posted a current copy of my blacklist.conf 

file for mod_security
http://network-security-blacklists.blogspot.com/2006/02/my-etcmodsecurityblacklistconf.html

  Please feel free to ask any question you may have regarding this.

  Hope this helps.

  Frank


Kevin S. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:Please do post (or 

send just to me) your mod_rewrite banned user
agents. That would be very helpful.

Thanks,
Kevin