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I want to replace all my website files for new ones on the server and to test if they work alright but I don't want to be crawled while this is happening or if I am, I don't want the crawler to be able to see what's in the new page.

I just want to change it for like 15min but i tested other stuff once for 5min and google for webmasters told me they had a lot of 404's during that period and I don't want that to happen again.

Besides that I don't want to have to write my whole .htaccess file. I considered redirecting all the urls to my main page and apply the changes but I think this isn't probably a good practice, any good ideas?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Options:

  1. Set up a local site for testing purposes. Something like WAMP should do the trick.

  2. If you're going to do the testing on your live server, temporarily block your site while doing your testing. A 307 HTTP response would be appropriate.

  3. Use basic authentication to keep crawlers and everybody else out while you do your testing. Since your site will be "down" for only 15 minutes there will be no side effects from this.

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i'm already using XAMPP and it's working great but for .htaccess changes and other stuff it behaves good sometimes but to test some of the changes it's just impossible using this kind of method. your other options are probably better on this particular case. thanks –  wxiiir Sep 26 '11 at 20:02
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  1. Don't do testing in a production environment if at all possible. It's a recipe for disaster.

  2. Create a testing subdomain that's isolated from your production site as much as possible. This will allow you to test you changes on the server without, hopefully, endangering your production site. You can use robots.txt to block 'bots from this subdomain so it won't be indexed.

  3. Ideally, you want to have your own development system, a development server, a testing server, a staging server and then production. You can cut out two of the in-between servers if you must but going directly from a desktop web environment to production has resulted in some of the worst messes I've been involved in.

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+1 Because it will likely not be just 15 minutes. Buy a second domain name (your site name .biz or .info) –  MrChrister Sep 26 '11 at 17:00
    
good suggestions but not very practical for me at the moment. –  wxiiir Sep 26 '11 at 20:03
    
@MrChrister that's a good one, i have a list of domains i'm considering buying so that's a good option –  wxiiir Sep 26 '11 at 20:04
    
@wxiiir - subdomains are a good way to go if you can't invest in multiple server environments right now. Unless you have really poor hosting they're quick and easy to create and free. Even using a subfolder is better than potentially wrecking your entire site. –  jfrankcarr Sep 26 '11 at 20:33
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