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Google IP requesting site verification file -- in several different variations

   
11:43 am on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I noticed two errors in my logs this morning. Both were from a Google IP, the first one was requesting the site verification file I added to my site, only it had lower case letters vs. the upper case letters Google issued. Then, it asked for the same file again, with noexist_ appended to the beginning of the file.

What the heck is going on? No one but Google would know about the file, so it would seem Google is intentionally requesting file names that don't exist?

I've been having so many problems with Google listings, some of them are my fault, but I don't need Google making things worse. Any ideas?

2:06 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes, Google intentionally does that to verify that your site returns a proper "404 not found" header for files that don't exist.

The uppercase vs lowercase -- maybe that's a check to see if your server returns files in a case-sensitive manner? Maybe Google is trying to determine if filename.html is the same page as FileName.HTML.

2:24 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Update: I went into my logs and took a close look at what Google did. First, it asked for the correct file with upper case letters. Then it asked for the wrong file, in lower case letters followed by the noexist_ request.

I went to my account at Google Sitemaps, and noticed that the verification link had changed to lower case. I'm certain it was originally upper case, as I remember thinking how strange it was that GOOGLE was all caps.

So, at some point Google changed the file name to lower case, and I just caught it this morning. Now my site has both upper and lower case verification files. Should I remove the old upper case one, or leave it?

2:47 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hmmm, that does seem sort of odd. In glancing through some of the sites that I have sitemaps for, most of them are all lowercase, but there's at least one that has GOOGLE in uppercase. I always copy-paste those exactly as G provides them, so I'm certain that's how Google gave them to me.

I'm at a loss. Maybe someone will come along who knows about the uppercase/lowercase thing.

2:56 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes, the GOOGLEgobbledygookblurb.html file _DID_ originally start with GOOGLE in uppercase and it was changed because some server software precludes upper case file names. All official and done ealier this year.

gobbledygookblurb_noexist or whatever is a test of your missing file response - you MUST return a proper 404.

Just to be helpful - if you don't, Google will say: "Unsupported format" and not "Incorrect missing file response".

2:58 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes, I copied and pasted as well, so I'm certain the two file names are exactly as they should be. I'm going to dig a bit deeper and see how long Google has been asking for the lower case file. If it's a recent change, it could have something to do with the many changes I've been making to my site, all in an attempt to escape from Supplementalville.

I'm just speculating, but is it possible Google changes the file name when it sees a lot of changes to a site, just to reverify the site?

3:00 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for the info, Phil.

So was any recommendation made by Google about changing the verification file name? I never saw anything. Should I delete the old upper case one or just leave it?

I've been working so hard to fix this site, I don't want something like this to create another problem. That I don't need, I've already created enough of them myself!

3:18 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Either uppercase or lowercase are fine. As Phil noted, we used to ask for an uppercase filename, but some setups couldn't accomodate this, so in December 2005, we added a check for lowercase as well.
[sitemaps.blogspot.com...]

The check for the non-existent file is to make sure that the server returns a 404 for a file that doesn't exist (if the server returns a 200, then we have no way of knowing if the verification file actually exists or if the server just returns a 200 for everything).

You're seeing this activity now because last month, we started rechecking verification a little more often than before.

3:27 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for clearing this up, Vanessa!
3:46 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks, Vanessa. I guess I'll just leave both, since Google checks for a 404 response anyway.

I appreciate the info - now I don't have to worry about this! :)