June 7, 2024

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How do you protect your development site from being indexed?

3 min read
web development

Unintentional indexing of development site, staging sites, production servers, or other terms is one of the most prevalent technical SEO difficulties you may encounter. There may be several causes for this, v7t nobody would ever connect to these locations to technological misconceptions. These website sections are often sensitive and include the SEO optimization engine index risks disclosing organized marketing, corporate information, or private data.

What is a staging or development site?

A development site (also known as a dev site) is a location where developers work. To protect live material, it is separate from the production site. Developers test their code here for the first time. They frequently do this on their local PCs, in this case, there’s no risk of this environment becoming available to others or being indexed by browsers.

A development site is essentially a private replica of a production site.It is frequently used to examine modifications that have been deployed. This is the location where updates are staged, and new features are tested before they are released. New content is placed here so that it may be reviewed to ensure that it appears as intended.

How can you figure out the indexing of your server?

  • If your staging site is indexed, you can view it using a Google search. For example, to find a staging site, you can search Google for site:domain.com and sort the results, or you can use an operator like -inURL. : Delete the URL of www.domain.com. You can also use third-party software to find your own subdomain.
  • In addition to numerous Google search engines, websites tend to restrict certain regions in their robots.txt files, indicating exactly where not to look. What could go wrong with directing people to the location of material you don’t want them to see?

Important points to avoid indexing of staging or development sites

Block the search engines on both staging or development sites:

For staging site:

The simplest and quickest method is to utilize a built-in WordPress feature to disable search engines. Go to Settings » Reading in the test site’s dashboard and tick the box next to “Search Engine Visibility.” This instructs WordPress to include a “no index” tag in the head> section of your website, which requires Google not to index the content. It also changes your site’s robots.txt file to inform bots that they are not welcome.

However, there is one significant drawback: if you ever decide to make the subsidiary site your primary site (as is often the case with creating a web design), you must ensure to un-check that box.  If you forget to do this, you risk unintentionally destroying all of your accurate site’s Google rankings.

For development site:

As a result, it is preferable to password secure the entire website for a development site that might have been transferred in the future. Not only will this prevent Google from ever recognizing the site, but it will also prevent actual people (except those you wish) from viewing it.

It features a settings page where you may establish a password, and once enabled, it displays a nice-looking password entering form.

  1. HTTP verification

Everything you don’t want in the index must have server-side encryption. The recommended way “authentication for access” helps keeping users and search engines away from the web design of your staging or development site.

  1. Allow listing of IP addresses.

Enabling only recognized IP addresses — like those belonging to your system, consumers, and so on — is another crucial step in protecting your website and assuring that only those who need to view the region of the website see it.

  1. VPN (virtual private network) connectivity

You essentially connect your PC to become a member of the corporate network. You may now access the staging environment because you are now a member of the business network. Any person who is not a member of the network is unable to access it. This implies that neither third-party candidates nor browsers will be able to gain access to the staging environment.

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