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What is the robots.txt file used for? Where can you find it on your server?

9 minutes of reading
What is the robots.txt file used for? Where can you find it on your server?
Category SEO

Robots.txt what is this a file named robots.txt contains instructions for bots. Most websites include this file in their source code. Because malicious bots are unlikely to obey the instructions, robots.txt files are generally used to manage the activity of good bots like web crawlers.

A bot is computer software that communicates with websites and apps automated. A web crawler bot is one form of a decent bot. These bots “crawl” web pages and index material for it to appear in search engine results. A robots.txt file helps web crawlers control their actions not to overburden the web server hosting the website or index pages that aren’t intended for public viewing. In this article, you are going to know about what is robots.txt and many more, for example, how should Robots.txt file look like?


What does a robots.txt file do?

A robots.txt file is a text file that does not include any HTML markup code (hence the .txt extension). The robots.txt file, like any other file on the website, is stored on the web server. In truth, any website’s robots.txt file may usually be accessed by inputting the complete URL for the homepage followed by /robots.txt. Users are unlikely to stumble into the file because it isn’t linked to anyplace else on the site, but most web crawler bots will hunt for it first before indexing the rest of the site.

While a robots file can provide bots instructions, it cannot enforce those instructions. Before visiting any other pages on a domain, a decent bot, such as a web crawler or a news feed bot, will try to visit the robots.txt file and follow the instructions. A malicious bot will either ignore or parse the robots.txt file in order to discover the banned URLs.

The most explicit set of instructions in the robots.txt file will be followed by a web crawler bot. If the file contains commands that are contradictory, the bot will use the more granular command.

In a robots.txt file, what protocols are used?

A protocol is a framework for transmitting instructions or orders in networking. There are a few distinct protocols used by robots.txt files. The Robots Exclusion Protocol is the core protocol. This is a method of instructing bots on which websites and resources to avoid. The robots.txt file contains instructions prepared for this protocol.

The Sitemaps protocol is another option for robots.txt files. This may be thought of as a protocol for robot inclusion. A sitemap tells a web crawler which sites it may access. This ensures that a crawler bot does not miss any crucial pages.

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How to disallow all using robots.txt

If you wish to tell all robots to stay away from your site, add the following code in your robots.txt:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

It applies to all robots because of the “User-agent: *” component. It applies to your entire website because of the “Disallow: /” portion.

This effectively tells all robots and web crawlers that they are not permitted to visit or explore your website. Allowing all robots on a live website might cause your site to be blacklisted by search engines, resulting in a loss of visitors and income. Only use this if you’re confident in your abilities.

How to use Robots.txt in SEO?

Robots.txt in SEO is one of the most basic files on a website, but it’s also one of the most easily misconfigured. A single misplaced character may wreak havoc on your SEO and hinder search engines from accessing critical material on your site. This is why, even among seasoned SEO practitioners, robots.txt misconfigurations are quite prevalent.

How to Test a Robots.txt File

You should run the robots.txt file code you prepared through a tester before going live with it to check it’s legitimate. This will assist to avoid any problems that may arise as a result of erroneous directives being included.

The robots.txt testing tool is only accessible in Google Search Console’s older version. You’ll need to connect to Google Search Console first if your website isn’t already connected. Click the “open robots.txt tester” button on the Google Support website. After selecting the property you want to test for, you’ll be led to a page similar to the one below. To test your new robots.txt code, just delete the existing code and replace it with your new code, then click “Test.” If your test returns “allowed,” your code is legitimate, and you may update your actual file with the updated code.

What Can a Robots.txt File Be Used For?

You may wish to tweak your robots.txt file for a variety of reasons, ranging from limiting the crawl budget to stopping areas of a website from being scanned and indexed. Let’s look at some of the benefits of employing a robots.txt file right now.

Disable all crawlers

Blocking all crawlers from your site isn’t something you’d want to do on a live site, but it’s a wonderful choice for a development site. When you block crawlers, your pages will be hidden from search engines, which is useful if your sites aren’t yet ready for viewing.

Make it impossible for some pages to be crawled

Limiting search engine bot access to areas of your website is one of the most popular and valuable uses of your robots.txt file. This might help you get the most out of your crawl budget and keep undesirable pages out of the search results.

Block access to the entire website

This directive tells all bots not to crawl your site at all, which is very beneficial if you have a development website or test folders. It’s critical to remember to delete this before going live with your site, or you’ll have indexation troubles.

User-agent: *

The * (asterisk) in the example above is a “wildcard” phrase. When we use an asterisk, we’re saying that the following rules should be applied to all user agents.

Robots.txt file symbols

Now let us break down the file’s primary symbols and figure out what they all imply.

After the command, before the name of the file or directory, a slash (/) is inserted (folder, section). If you wish to shut the directory as a whole, add another “/” at the end of its name.

Disallow: /search/

Disallow: /standarts.pdf

The asterisk (*) denotes that the robots.txt file affects all search engine robots that visit the website.

All robots are subject to the rules and conditions if user-agent: * is specified.

All website URLs containing /videos/ will not be crawled if you use the disallow: /*videos/ option.

Robots.txt should be separate for each subdomain.

Crawling activity is solely controlled by Robots.txt on the subdomain where it is hosted. You’ll need a second robots.txt file if you wish to control crawling on a different subdomain. If your main site is located at domain.com and your blog is located at blog.domain.com, you’ll need two robots.txt files. One should go in the main domain’s root directory, while the other should go in the blog’s root directory.

What are the different sorts of search crawlers?

A search crawler is a sort of program that analyses web pages and adds them to the database of a search engine. Google has a number of bots that are in charge of various sorts of material.

  • Googlebot is a web crawler that scans websites for both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Googlebot Image: Site images are shown in the “Images” section by Googlebot.
  • Googlebot Video is a video search engine that searches and shows videos.
  • For the “News” area, Googlebot News finds the most informative and high-quality items.
  • Adsense assigns a score to a website as an ad platform based on ad relevancy.
  • The official Help documentation has a complete list of Google robots (user agents).

Crawlers of analytical resources, such as Ahrefs or Screaming Frog, can crawl the site in addition to search robots. Their software solutions function in the same way as search engines do: they interpret URLs and store them in their own database.

What pages and files are often blocked by the robots.txt file?

1. Personal data-containing pages.

Names and phone numbers provided by visitors upon registration, personal dashboards and profile pages, and credit card information are examples of personal data. Accessibility to such information should also be restricted with a password for security reasons.

2. Auxiliary pages that appear only if a user performs a certain action.

Messages that clients get after accomplishing an order, applicant forms, authorization, and password recovery sites are examples of such activities.

3. System files and the admin dashboard

Website administrators and webmasters interface with internal and service files.

4. Pages for searching and sorting by category.

Pages that appear after a visitor types a query into the site’s search box are often hidden from search engine crawlers. The same may be said about the outcomes of sorting items by price, rating, and other factors. It’s possible that aggregator sites will be an exception.

5. Use a page filter.

The results of a filter (size, color, manufacturer, etc.) are shown on distinct pages and might be considered duplicate material. Except in circumstances where they promote traffic for brand keywords or other desired inquiries, SEO specialists often prevent them from being crawled.

6. Files in a certain format

Photos, movies, and other types of media can be included in this category. JS files, PDF docs You can limit the monitoring of an individual or extension-specific files using robots.txt.

Robots.txt - where should it be located on your server

The document must be located in the website host’s root directory and accessible through FTP. It is suggested that you download the robots.txt file in its original form before making any modifications.


To summarize, here are some key points from this blog article that will help you solidify your understanding of robots.txt files: The robots.txt file serves as a guide for robots, indicating which pages should be crawled and which should not. You can’t block indexing using the robots.txt file, but you can improve the possibilities of a robot crawling or ignoring particular articles or files. What are Robots.txt disallows? The robots.txt disallow line directive saves crawl money by hiding unwanted page material. This applies to both large and small websites. A basic text editor is all that is required to generate a robots.txt file, and Google Search Console is all that is required to do a check. The robots.txt file’s name must be in lowercase characters and the file’s size must not exceed 500 KB.

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