Support » Plugin: s2Member Framework (Member Roles, Capabilities, Membership, PayPal Members) » URGENT — Presumably protected pages showing up on web (Google) searches!

  • Joe Mitchell


    site name is
    I keep some “members’ only” information such as instructions for operation of club facilities, club history, membership roster, etc., in a “members’ only” area. However a member did a search on his own name using Google and a document he produced and I published on the web site (document had his name as part of the text) came up as a result of the search. Upon clicking on the topic the entire document was downloaded to his computer. This is unacceptable. I have two other sites on which I’m using s2Member and the same thing occurred on one of the other sites. Is this a known problem?

    I immediately deleted the document from the web site. The search engine (Google) still finds the document but when one tries to download it now you get the “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?” message with a list of recent posts and most used categories. And wouldn’t you know it–there is another “protected” post in the “Most used categories” list! I click on it, and that entire document comes up.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • KTS915


    It certainly isn’t a known problem. In fact, s2Member is the best membership plugin that I know of at protecting content.

    So the first thing to do is to check for a theme or plugin conflict.

    If you manage to rule that out and still need help here, you will need to explain in detail what you have done to protect your content. Otherwise it will be very difficult to help.

    I had the same issue. I even had a “password protected” page show up with an embedded link to a PDF file wide open to google. on google reveals a lot.

    And what was the cause of your issue? What steps had you taken to protect the PDF?

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to this. I have discovered even more areas where access to what I thought was protected information is available to anyone just by doing a search on Google. These “protected” pages are .pdf files that are in the web sites database. The .pdf files are usually linked to from a page or post that is “protected”. It appears that the bot search engine is going directly to the database and indexing files that are uploaded to the wp-contents/uploads/ directory.

    You shouldn’t be uploading files to that directory. That’s for standard WP media that anyone may access.

    You need to upload your files to a special s2Member directory designed for the purpose.

    See s2Member -> Download Options -> Basic Download Restrictions

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I think I may be gaining an understanding. If you restrict a page or post it is restricted from the public. If you upload a file/picture/etc. to the standard wp upload file area, then link to that file/picture/etc. from a restricted post/page, the file is still accessible from bots looking around in the database which is still not “protected”. Therefore, upload files/pictures/etc. that you want restricted to the special s2Member directory then link your restricted page/post to that file.

    Thanks load–I’ve got a lot of re-uploading to do ! ! ! !

    Exactly! Protecting a post or page does not protect the files linked to on that page.

    The former is dealt with as Restriction Options, the latter as Download Options.

    So putting the files I don’t want the bots to find in the s2Members plugin directory will preclude the bots for finding them?

    I looked around for an answer to the below two questions but couldn’t find an answer.

    Do I have to manually upload files using something like filezilla to the special s2Member files directory?

    And once the files are in the s2Member directory is there an easy way to link to them of is it primarily a manual intensive effort?

    Thanks again. . . . .

    Bots won’t be able to find them if you also activate Alternative View Protection in Restriction Options.

    Yes, you upload the files using an FTP client like FileZilla, or you can use the s2Member Secure File Uploader plugin (by a different developer).

    Linking is explained in the Basic Download Restrictions section.

    The trick with s2Member is never to rush. Just work through every box in the back-end in order, and follow the instructions. It’s not designed to be quick to set up. It is designed to be very powerful.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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