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I'm curious -- what's your preferred method to verify sites in Webmaster Tools?
Radu C.'s profile photoStephen Hind's profile photoWilliam Vicary's profile photoJen Brannstrom's profile photo
File, followed by email/user add.
The next one that is not already used on that same site for another account ...
+François Bacconnet you can use the same method in parallel for different accounts on the same site, eg multiple meta tags or HTML files. Alternately, just use one main account and add users directly from there.
Analytics 90% nowadays
The file - because it's a physical object that's easily checked for existence with no chance of being overwritten or lost with page changes. Also it's easy to recognise your own file.

DNS TXT entry is also OK but not as fast as the file.
+Jim Munro  I doubt that a file is a physical object ;)
But yes, the persistence of the file during page changes is really a big PLUS for the file solution.
relax, Igor. :) It's a physical object for me, I can feel it in my hands, open it up and look inside it. :)
+marek płatek It's not lazy. It's one of the best options - in one step you connect site with Analytics and GWT and after that you (and Google ;-) ) could have full information about site :-)
+Jim Munro it wasnt meant to be an offense.  I got your point ;) I just had to smile about the way you expressed it.
Thanks for all your feedback so far :)!
Where does the apparent aversion to the meta tag method come from? Is it harder to have people add them to the homepage? or is it awkward to have it visible to other people (SEOs/webmasters)? 
I do not use anaytics, so I preferr the file,
but sometimes it doesn't work, so I have to use the meta-tag :(

meta tag
most of my clients can't do that by themselves, it is simple horrible for them to past a codesnippet in a php file  (they fear it more than the evil  :-)

and I ;)
I  forget this meta tag, but  I "see" the file ;);)
+John Mueller  for me, it's that i don't want add an even small weight to the page, for a thing it's not useful for search engines or for the users.
And it's something that could be deleted from the page from other members of the team. :-)
In my projects I was either to lazy to use them, or it was to difficult to implement, OR, and I guess thats also a big reason: why should I send the meta information with every page, and thus increase the overall bandwith usage when I can just upload a file and utilize that file for authentication?
I don't remember exactly the history the those verification procedures. I still have my historical ( domain verified by <tag>, but maybe DNS was not available at that time. Then I prefer the DNS way, I don't like to have my code in clear in the html code nor have clutter files to mess on the server.
das kann ich besser in Deutsch erklären:
per DNS ist für  mich eine emotionale Angelegenheit: es ist wie eine Hochzeit und ich mag die WMT nutzen, aber Google sicher nicht heiraten. Das geht mir zu weit und jeder logisch vernünftige Grund prallt da derzeit wirklich ab.
Die Erklärung in den Hilfeforum liest sich fast wie eine Fremdübernahme meiner Domain, neuer DNS EIntrag - wie ein Eintrag im Melderegister: sie haben geheiratet... 
+Monika Thon-Soun Ja, ein DNS Eintrag ist tatsächlich wie ein Eintrag im Melderegister.
Allerdings ist das auch nicht mehr. Und mittlerweile gibt es mehrere Punkte in denen TXT-DNS Einträge gemacht werden müssen: Prominentes Beispiel neben Google ist der SPF Record, zum Einschränken von Spam.
Aber auch hier ist wieder das Problem: Beim Aufruf der Seite wird vom Browser der komplette DNS Eintrag für die Domain abgerufen, und da ist auch wieder jedes bisschen Text eine Verzögerung in der Ladezeit.
Radu C.
Option 1: Analytics.
Option 2: Html file (if the site is using omniture or something else)

BTW: I've seen a trend (especially in people that are somehow involved in SEO) to move the tracking from GA to a different solution.  For those who track huge amount of data and Google Analytics Premium is to expensive I can understand the point but for the rest ...
+Eye Paq  for a while ago, we are not allowed to use GA at Germany or Austria because of our data privacy act.  So most of us preferr Piwik.
File but may I ask why the curiosity? Planning on dropping a method?
+John Mueller: I dislike the meta tag as it is not really related to content or basic functionality of a website (or page).  I tend to avoid everything that is not really required, w.s., the less code, the better.  The visitor will not be interested to see the snippet, and the html file will be requested only when required by Google - a much better solution.
I almost always use Google Analytics to verify the sites. 
Radu C.
+Monika Thon-Soun  I also live in Austria - that could be the reason since most of my accounts now are AT or DE based and on those I've seen some migrations. But I was not aware of this act - do you have a link with more info on the subject ?
I prefer "File", because some Web-Agencies prohibit Changes in the Template of  CMS/Shopsystem.
+Stephen Hind: Yeah, I see - but that is specific for Google Sites where you don't have direkt access to the server's file system.  I fully agree in that case.  My reply was taylored to webmasters with the webspace under their control, which also applies to most shared hosts.
Radu C.
+John Mueller  +Monika Thon-Soun  I was not aware of that. Thanks !  @Jonh: is there any public number out there from Google related with DE and AT users as %. Is GA used on a lower scale in  AT and DE ? (vs other countries) 
I wasn't disagreeing with you +Thomas Hey'l: the question was "what's your preferred method", so my preferred method is meta tag as that what Google themselves have configured Google Sites to use and no other option is either available, or easier, to a Google Sites user with a custom domain (Google Sites are automatically verified with the URL but not many people want the indexed in search and <link rel="canonical
" /> is not something supported by Google Sites).
Analytics as we tend to require that for most clients, then meta/file based. By the way requiring Analytics to be in the <head> and the new code is frustrating when you are also an admin in the Analytics account, that should be enough!
DNS 99%. To which I want to clarify: This has been the only stable way to maintain verification with GWT when deploying updates to a site from a repository and when there is no direct access to the server or code.
Yes, you could get a special set-up in the repo that uploads the Google verif. file, but it is far easier to just add a simple TXT file to the DNS (read: less inter-departmental negotiations).
This can then be simply backed-up for security.
It seems to me that most of those stating the upload an HTML file have not had to Webmaster for sites with "Enterprise-level security", where access is strictly limited to committing code to a repository, deploying from the repo to a staging server, and after QA is passed, suggesting a release candidate & deploying to the Live site.
So if this is an informal survey to see if this feature is to be maintained, please do consider my answer. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem.
Analytics-verification is only permitted through the account owner, which again can be near-impossible to get access to.
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