Managing robots.txt using PHP: Generating Dynamic Syntax
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Managing your robots.txt files can be tricky at the best of times. This article will show you how to use PHP to dynamically handle these files, thus relieving the webmaster of a tedious and time-consuming task.
The classic implementation of robots.txtis very simple. All the webmaster needs to do is to put the syntax in a text file, then name it obots.txt to upload it to the website root directory and its done.
The most popular way to edit robots.txt is manually. However manual editing can be a pain, especially if the webmaster has too many URLs to add on a periodic basis that do not have short cuts like using wild cards or any other valid methods.
Robots.txt is very useful for several reasons, such as duplicate content prevention (useful in SEO), improving bandwidth and restricting bots from crawling sensitive parts of the website.
This tutorial will take a unique approach to managing robots.txt files. It will use PHP to "dynamically" edit or generate robots.txt syntax. With this method fully implemented, the webmaster will not need to worry about manually updating because the PHP script will take care of itself, generating syntax according to what it has been programmed to do.
Approach to robots.txt implementation with PHP
The general concept of this implementation can be visualized in a flow chart, as shown below:
The overall strategy is to write the syntax in a PHP script (you can name it anything you like), and then render it as Content-Type:text/plain so that browsers or user agents will see it as a text file. Finally since this is a PHP file, the extension is .php, so you will need to use .htaccess to rewrite myrobots.txt.php to its standard name, robots.txt