Considering upgrade of CMS to latest version- the process may take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

May suggest - we need to work on live server, what we have planned:

  • take exact replica of site and move to a test domain, but on live server

  • Block Google, Bing, Yahoo - User-agent: Google Disallow: /, User-agent: Bing Disallow: /, User-agent: Yahoo Disallow: / in robots.txt

  • Will upgrade CMS and add functionality - will test the entire structure, check URLusing xenu and move on to configure the site on original domain

The process upgradation and new tools may take 2 to 4 weeks....

Concern is that despite blocking Google, Bing & Yahoo through

   User agent disallow 

can still the URLof test site can be crawled by the search engines - if yes - it may hurt the original site as will read on as entire duplicate or is there any alternate way around.


You must make sure that this site is unavailable to search engines. The best way to do this is to put the entire dev site behind a login mechanism. Basic Authentication is the simplest and most effective way to do this. It makes it impossible for search engines to crawl but is easy for developers/users to access as they only need to enter a password once per visit.

  • Thanks, the site going to be upgraded in joomla which in its global configuration has site maintenance / offline mode. Through which site can be accessed only with super admin user name and password only. Will it work as basic authentication – Saahil Sinha Jul 10 '13 at 16:32
  • Sounds like it will. If you can't get to the content without logging in first then it will do what you need. – John Conde Jul 10 '13 at 17:17
  • thanks, the content yes will be accessible only post login. am going ahead with it. many thanks – Saahil Sinha Jul 10 '13 at 17:32

You are describing a staging site. As you suggest, you will replicate the site and its production environment locally and to a staging site for development and testing.

Also, as you have mentioned, you may restrict access to the staging site by filtering by UserAgent and also with robots.txt. I recommend blocking access to this staging site using an Authentication method, such as Basic Auth as mentioned by OP.

You may wish to research a Development -> Staging -> Production workflow. Sounds like what you are trying to achieve.


John is correct about adding authentication. One alternative is to restrict the site to specific IPs (e.g. the IP of your office), and serve a 404 or 403 error to others.

Also, with regards to robots.txt, you should block all bots, which is much simpler:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Even if you only block via robots.txt, there is no downside for SEO. The test site will not be crawled. If any individual page has a link to it from elsewhere that page may be crawled but never the whole site.

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