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Issue 0037
Headline: Access denied for robots.txt and sitemap.xml.
Type: Fault
State: Closed
Severity: Major
Found release: 2.9.1
Fixed release: 2.9.2

Access to the site's robots.txt and sitemap.xml resources is forbidden, which means that automated software may be discouraged from crawling and indexing the site.

This may have serious consequences for SEO.

See the Network Working Group article section 3.1 for more information.

This issue may be due to the security hardening that was implemented in release 2.9.1 on 16-Feb-2018.

To reproduce:
  1. Navigate to /robots.txt.
  2. Navigate to /sitemap.xml (or /sitemap.xml.gz).
  3. Observe the responses.
  • Expected: A display of the contents of the resource in each case.
  • Actual: An HTTP error response such as "403 Forbidden".
  • Impact: Crawlers and indexers (e.g. from Google search engine) cannot access the resources. According to recommended behaviour, they may assume the site is totally private.
Resolution & notes:

[2.9.2] Fixed by adding a "FilesMatch" rule to the web server configuration file.

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Posted by: Kevin Machin Date: June 6, 2014 5:01 pm
Categories: Website Tags: None
Comments: 0 – permitted Article: 3002 – public
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