I have a MediaWiki 1.32.0 RTL site (Hebrew) and I desire to hide some of its URLs from search engines like Google and Bing by robots.txt.

The robots.txt command Disallow: /מדיה_ויקי:* can have two UTF-8 versions for RTL languages (Hebrew in this case); one is decoded and one is encoded;


Disallow: /מדיה_ויקי:*


Disallow: /%D7%9E%D7%93%D7%99%D7%94_%D7%95%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%99:*

Both are same in essence - disabling indexation of everything that starts with מדיה-ויקי:.

Which one should I put in robots.txt?


Google is pushing to standardize robots.txt syntax because it was never standardized in fact; (see their announcement); this is happening right now at the IETF with this draft.

Google help page already references it, so I guess we can safely use it as a formal specification.

The draft includes this relevant grammar (keeping only the parts useful in our case):

rule = *WS ("allow" / "disallow") *WS ":"
       *WS (path-pattern / empty-pattern) EOL

path-pattern = "/" *(UTF8-char-noctl) ; valid URI path pattern

; UTF8 derived from RFC3629, but excluding control characters

UTF8-char-noctl = UTF8-1-noctl / UTF8-2 / UTF8-3 / UTF8-4
UTF8-1-noctl = %x21 / %x22 / %x24-7F ; excluding control, space, '#'
UTF8-2 = %xC2-DF UTF8-tail
UTF8-3 = %xE0 %xA0-BF UTF8-tail / %xE1-EC 2( UTF8-tail ) /
         %xED %x80-9F UTF8-tail / %xEE-EF 2( UTF8-tail )
UTF8-4 = %xF0 %x90-BF 2( UTF8-tail ) / %xF1-F3 3( UTF8-tail ) /
         %xF4 %x80-8F 2( UTF8-tail )

UTF8-tail = %x80-BF

So, in short, while you can use UTF-8, it has to be encoded, per RFC3986.

This is spelled out again later in the document:

Octets in the URI and robots.txt paths outside the range of the US-
ASCII coded character set, and those in the reserved range defined by RFC3986 1, MUST be percent-encoded as defined by RFC3986 1 prior
to comparison.

Hence, I believe that you should use your second form:

Disallow: /%D7%9E%D7%93%D7%99%D7%94_%D7%95%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%99:*

Regarding :*, * should be percent encoded only if you want to specifically match this character, but if you need its "glob" behavior of matching anything, you need to keep it as is.

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