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With every Magento e-commerce website I create for my clients, I create a carbon copy for use as a test environment that is accessible on the web.

There are a number of benefits associated with doing this before making changes on a live environment:

  • The ability to upgrade on the test server as updates become available.
  • Test extensions from Magento Connect.
  • Developing, testing and implementing new features.
  • Get sign off from the client while still in a test environment.

I can then quite easily and efficiently role out these enhancements without fear of complication.

What is vital though is that search engines don’t crawl and index the test environments. This can be done quite easily from within the Magento Dashboard.

Navigate to Configuration -> Design -> HTML Head and set the Default Robots option to ‘NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW’. This should add a ‘NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW’ meta tag to your site.

Comment by @Cyril

I couldn’t remember where the default robots option was! Also, if it helps anyone, I had forgotten to turn on “no index, no follow” on my test site and somehow it got picked up by Google. One way I dealt with it was to implement the following in my htaccess file, at the root of my test site:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*gooo?gle.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*ask.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*yahoo.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*excite.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*altavista.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*msn.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*netscape.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*aol.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*hotbot.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*goto.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*infoseek.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*mamma.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*alltheweb.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*lycos.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*search.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*metacrawler.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*bing.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} .*dogpile.*
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursite.com/$1 [L,R=301]

It will basically redirect all the search engine traffic to your test site to the same URL on your production site. Example: http://test.yourwebsite.com/page.html will be redirected, if accessed from a search engine, to http://www.yoursite.com/page.html.
Hope this will help someone!

Last modified: 20.01.2018

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