How Google indexed a file with no external link
'm running a modest Apache 1.3.19 server on Mandrake 7.2, with a 2.4 kernel. No cgi's or PHP support, though I do have server-info and server-status enabled for local reference only.
noticed some hits in the Apache access_log for two files, index.old and index.older, which were backups of index.html left in my docroot directory. It wasn't hard to figure out that Google was directing
people to these files; what I couldn't understand was how Google knew they were there.
Looking a bit deeper, I saw googlebot (and later, some ordinary vistors) using this syntax:
...and if you try this yourself in Internet Explorer, you'll find that Apache is ignoring my index.html and is giving you a formatted directory of the docroot directory as though there were no index page.
The differences between the ?M and the ?S versions are not blatantly obvious, at least not to me.
I'm writing to Bugtraq in frustration because I can't find this documented ANYWHERE, and it could be a nastier surprise to others than it was to me*. What other little surprises like this exist, and can I do something in my Apache config to take control of them?
*Before you tell me about robots.txt, htaccess and so forth, let me note that I know about those; and before I put this site up I realized that anything I leave in my docroot is fair game. I'm only puzzled
because I can't find ANY information about these /?M or /?S thingamabobs. I can't even RTFM, because I don't know what to call them!
P.S. I have since added .old, .older, .oldest to the list of file types to be served as html, and created new versions of all three files that redirect visitors to index.html instead.
Sanitized Apache httpd.conf appended at moderator's request -- standard Apache comments stripped out to reduce the size.
CustomLog /var/log/access_log custom
ServerSignature Off <IfModule mod_alias.c>
Alias /icons/ "/usr/local/apache/icons/" <Directory "/usr/local/apache/icons">
Options Indexes MultiViews
Allow from all </Directory>
ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/usr/local/apache/cgi-bin/" <Directory "/usr/local/apache/cgi-bin">
Allow from all </Directory> </IfModule>
AddEncoding x-compress Z
AddEncoding x-gzip gz tgz
# Bunch of defaults provided by Apache - snipped <IfModule mod_negotiation.c>
LanguagePriority en da nl et fr de el it ja kr no pl pt pt-br ru ltz ca es sv tw </IfModule>
AddType application/x-tar .tgz
# Added by me AFTER seeing hits for these extensions:
AddType text/html .old .older .oldest
# This was NOT enabled:
#AddHandler send-as-is asis </IfModule>