robots.txt: Explanation & Insights

Tell web crawlers what to index

A robots.txt file is a text file that webmasters create to instruct web robots (also known as web crawlers or bots) how to crawl pages on their website. The robots.txt file is placed in the root directory of the website, and the file tells the web robots which pages or files the robot should access and which pages or files it should ignore.

Here is an example of a robots.txt file:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /private/
Disallow: /tmp/
Allow: /

This robots.txt file tells all web robots to ignore the /private/ and /tmp/ directories on the website, and to crawl all other pages. The User-agent: * line specifies that this rule applies to all web robots.

Web robots use the robots.txt file to learn which pages on a website they should not visit, but they are not required to follow the instructions in the file. Some web robots may still crawl pages that are disallowed in the robots.txt file, especially if the page is linked to from other websites.

It's important to note that the robots.txt file is not a secure way to hide content on your website. If you want to block access to certain pages or files, it's better to use password protection or to block access using your web server's configuration.

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