The Web Authority
Thursday, July 5
  Home Page Corrupted and Showing Chinese??
I have just corrected a very serious problem for a website and I wanted to post about what I found so that others who may have had a problem will find my post and know that they are not losing their minds and how to correct the problem.

I have a site that I just started to webmaster. I do not know the past webmaster history of the site, but it appears to have been problematic, maybe done by volunteers, may be done by someone who left on bad terms, I am not sure. What I do know is that there was no thread of continuity on the site, no one to call and ask a question or get old files from.

This site has had a long term problem with the home page not showing properly. Even Google's page cache had the all important home page showing nothing but Chinese characters. Google Sitemaps couldn't crawl the site, they stopped at the index.html page and could go no further. When you visited the site the page showed Chinese characters and then with refresh sometimes as many as three times, you could see the real home page.

The old webmaster did a work around by trying to create a home page mirror with a different name and linked any references of home to this mirror page. That is if a new visitor could even figure out how to get past the home page to even see the site. A very queer problem.

I worked with the web hosting support team. I was sure that there had been a script embedded or server setting changed to impact how the home page displayed. I even researched to see if the site had been scraped and spammed in the search index. Nothing I did allowed the home page to show properly. I was ready to move the site to a new web host as the host said that every time I uploaded the files were corrupted and it must be a problem on my computer.

I webmaster for many clients nationwide and have never had an issue like this. I am a code purist and had torn the home page code apart looking for problems and validating it. Still the same problem. What was even stranger was when I created a mirror of the index.html page and called it default.html I could view it just fine. When I imported the whole site to my own server on another web host I could see the index.html page fine without corruption.

Now here is the resolution that I would like to share to this incredibly bizarre problem. I use Adobe GoLive. I do not know what HTML editor the other webmaster who had the same problems used, but many editors like to have you set the home page in the site control and navigation. When I set the index.html page as the home page, on upload the files are corrupted and the site shows the Chinese characters. So what I did was create a home page and tag it instead called index-7-4-07.html and not tag the real index.html as the home page. This way the HTML editor was happy, but yet when I loaded the index.html file to the live server, what ever was applied to the file that was unseen that caused the corruption to tell the browser to show the characters that it did not understand in Chinese was gone. Problem solved.

This is one of the most unusual and bizarre problems that I have ever come across and do now know why this is a problem on this web hosts server. So if you have had this problem and think that you are going crazy, now you know that there is a real solution and that it is not a snippet of code or a server setting that you missed, but something unseen that most HTML editors will do that some servers will translate into a file being corrupted.
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