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Sunday, 25 December 2011

How To Find Hidden Web Pages - URL Cracking

URL cracking is a useful technique that anyone can apply but is often overlooked by web surfers content to trust the information they see on the page in front of them. URL cracking is a technique in which a searcher pre-empts, alters and guesses URL's that are likely to appear within a site in order to turn up hidden or ostensibly inaccessible pages.

As an example of how this technique can work let's assume you have reached the front page of a site that covers a topic you are interested in but all the page says is:

"Welcome to John's Computer Site.
This site is under construction, please check back soon".

Not very helpful and there are no links on the page.

The 'under construction' part serves as a clue. It means that it is likely that John has already prepared some pages for his site. Maybe he's uploaded them already but hasn't put any links on the front page yet.

With a little URL cracking you may be able to find any pages John has put on his site already.

Here's how:

Let's say John's Computer Site front page has the (fictional) URL:

What if we replaced the index.html part of the URL with another page name, maybe computers.html or pc.html, etc. you can continue doing this until you find something, get bored or are satisfied that there is nothing there. This is not an exact science but can turn up some tasty treats given the right circumstances.

One of the best ways to try URL cracking is where a number appears as part of the name of the name of a Web page, for example if you visit a page called:

It is a relatively safe bet that there are at least 4 other 'gallery' pages (gallery01.html, gallery02.html, gallery03.html and gallery04.html) and possibly more.
URL Cracking, although not well recognised or used can be a useful weapon in the searcher's arsenal and you may just stumble on that hidden gem using this technique. On the down side it can be time consuming and frustrating, the best plan of action is to use URL cracking after other your primary search techniques have failed. It might just turn up what you've been looking for.


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