-----Original Message-----
From: Dale H. Cook [mailto:radiot...@plymouthcolony.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 3:38 PM
To: php-general@lists.php.net
Subject: [PHP] Accessing Files Outside the Web Root

Let me preface my question by noting that I am virtually a PHP novice.
Although I am a long-time webmaster, and have used PHP for some years to
give visitors access to information in my SQL database, this is my first
attempt to use it for another purpose. I have browsed the mailing list
archives and have searched online but have not yet succeeded in teaching
myself how to do what I want to do. This need not provoke a lengthy
discussion or involve extensive hand-holding - if someone can point to an
appropriate code sample or online tutorial that might do the trick.

I am the author of a number of PDF files that serve as genealogical
reference works. My problem is that there are a number of sites which are
posing as search engines and which display my PDF files in their entirety on
their own sites. These pirate sites are not simply opening a window that
displays my files as they appear on my site. They are using Google Docs to
display copies of my files that are cached or stored elsewhere online. The
proof of that is that I can modify one of my files and upload it to my site.
The file, as seen on my site, immediately displays the modification. The
same file, as displayed on the pirate sites, is unmodified and may remain
unmodified for weeks.

It is obvious that my files, which are stored under public_html, are being
spidered and then stored or cached. This displeases me greatly. I want my
files, some of which have cost an enormous amount of work over many years,
to be available only on my site. Legitimate search engines, such as Google,
may display a snippet, but they do not display the entire file - they link
to my site so the visitor can get the file from me.

A little study has indicated to me that if I store those files in a folder
outside the web root and use PHP to provide access they will not be
spidered. Writing a PHP script to provide access to the files in that folder
is what I need help with. I have experimented with a number of code samples
but have not been able to make things work. Could any of you point to code
samples or tutorials that might help me? Remember that, aside from the code
I have written to handle my SQL database I am a PHP novice.

Dale H. Cook, Member, NEHGS and MA Society of Mayflower Descendants;
Plymouth Co. MA Coordinator for the USGenWeb Project Administrator of

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