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Is there a way to list all the downloadable files on a specific website (even at a specific level say)?

My typical issue is: An author puts a preprint toto.pdf on his website, then the paper gets published and the author removes (or redirects) the link to the file in his index.html, but keeps the file itself in the public folder.

If you are aware that the name was toto.pdf you still can download it, but what if you don't have the link (or if you have forgotten the name for instance)?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Google can help you,if you know the extension, in this case, pdf, use the query


Replace with the site in which you want to search for the pdf.

Example link

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filetype:pdf would provide more accurate results – user1055604 Mar 18 '12 at 10:42
@user1055604 done :) – HackToHell Mar 18 '12 at 11:03
Thanks. I was more or less proceeding like this, but your way is more precise. But this is still not perfect : impossible to detect hidden .pdf files with this method. Moreover the google search surprisingly misses a lot of pdf files on some sites. – Niels Mar 24 '12 at 8:58

It depends on how the HTTP server has been configured, which can be done (under most HTTPd's) on a per-directory level and/or globally.

If the server is configured to allow it, you can browse the contents of a given directory simply by entering it's URL into your address bar. The address of the directory is the same (usually, but let's leave URL rewriting aside) as the file's URL, sans the filename. For example, is located in the directory at If the server is configured to do so it may present a default index page when a directory with no explicit index file is requested. The default index can, literally, be anything but is usually a listing of the directory's contents.

Browsing to a directory URL can yield any one of a number of results. First, you may get an error message, 404 or perhaps 403. In this case the server is configured to deny access to the directory default index if no index is specified for a directory. Other configurations will yield different results and the only way to know what will happen with a given URL is to try it and see.

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thanks for the technical explanation. But it seems that browsing is not allowed by default, very often a .html file is loaded instead of the content of the directory. – Niels Mar 24 '12 at 8:54

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