Use of _private folder

Can anyone explain exactly what can / cannot and/or should / should not be
placed under the _private path on a site?

I had previously assumed that one could put in any html files which were
not directly accessed by visitors (e.g. html files that visitors might specify
the URL of in an address bar had to be outside _private, but any others (that
were only to be access by other pages in the site) could be placed under _private.)

I have a number of pages that I don’t want to be seen by a site search facility
(front page site search component in fact). I believe putting the pages under
_private should achieve this, however, bitter experience shows that the pages
cannot them be linked to!

Thanks, Batch

Am I right in thinking that you don’t want your users to access ‘internal’ pages of your site from search engine links?

If this is the case, there are javascripts you can use to prevent certain pages from opening unless the link that activates them is contained within the url that you specify. If a search engine picks up one of these pages and lists it, when it is clicked, the javascript will redirect to the page you want your users to see first. Unfortunately, this does rely on the user having javascript enabled :frowning:

There may be other ways around this, and if there are, I’m sure there are many people here who are much better with code than I am who can help you :slight_smile:

Thanks for that.

I was more thinking of hiding the pages from a site search facility that’s integral with the site, but the search engine aspect is also a consideration.

It’s not possible to link to files in _private no, but did you know that any directory who’s name is preceded by an underscore won’t be searched by FP’s search component? So, if you’d like a series of documents that you can link to but can’t be searched create a folder called _name or whatever and you should be ok.


Thanks for that, I’ll give it a try.

But I would still be interested in a clear definition of the usage of _private, if anyone can oblige.

It seems that the only purpose of the _private directory is to store things that you don’t want to show up in searches or tables of contents as I described earlier. But indeed any directory preceded with an underscore accomplishes that purpose.

I suppose it follows the same logic as FrontPage automatically creating an images folder, and even though is has it doesn’t mean you have to store your images in there, it’s merely there as an example or for convenience.

I hope that makes sense :slight_smile:

You can also follow this link for a bit more information:

Oh, and here’s one that explains what all the hidden folders do:


Thanks Ady, most useful

But I found the two links contradictory

The first one says:
When FrontPage creates a new web, it creates one folder called _private. Anything stored in this folder is truly hidden - i.e., web visitors cannot view these files unless there is a link built to the files from an accessible page. If a visitor tries to access a folder or file stored within the _private folder, they receive an “Access Forbidden” message.

The second one says:
_private: This folder is created in each FrontPage-extended web. It is intended to contain user files that are not viewable by a site visitor.

I have certainly found the second one to be the case. I found that links to pages under _private were NOT capable of being viewed, even when linked to from a visitor accessible page.

If that’s the case it’s not the _private folder itself but the permissions set on it. I’ve not got FrontPage installed on this machine so can’t investigate but try right clicking on the folder and looking it’s it’s Properties / Permissions. It’s been a while since I’ve used FP but I think you can set the options in there to allow / disallow the browsing of files and / or the executing of scripts.

If that doesn’t work i’m afraid i’m stumped. I’ve been able to access files stored in _private directories on some websites I’ve found online and also on the ones I’m running on PWS at work. I’m guessing it something to do with the way the server is configured, but you should be able to link to files in the _private directory!


I’ve had a look at the permissions (at the host) and there is just a greyed out box of “Allow scripts or progams to be run”.

Whereas on my local MS Personal Web Server I get three boxes that are all accessible (Allow programs to be run, Allow scripts to be run, Allow files to be browsed).

In both cases, the same options are presented for all folders (not just _private)

I may contact the hosting company, but I suspect it’s down to what they allow.

In any case, I have overcome my immediate problem by putting the files concerned into another folder (e.g. _control) which has had the desired effect of preventing the FP site search component of picking up various html pages which are not for visitors to directly select for viewing.

Thanks again, Batch