In this little article, we will learn how to solve a sitemap error issue on the Google search console which tells you that “Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page. Please use a supported sitemap format instead.”
In the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), your website’s sitemap plays a crucial role in helping search engines understand the structure of your site and index its pages effectively.
However, there are times when webmasters encounter an issue where their sitemap appears to be an HTML page rather than an XML file, causing problems for search engines like Google.
Sometimes, you get this error issue when trying to add a sitemap on your Google search console.
Some other times your sitemap would have been successfully added. Checking it back in days, weeks, or months you may still get this error notice.
You need not be scared when this occurs; it is a minor issue that has to do with your site permalinks.
Understanding the Problem
It’s essential to understand why this problem occurs.
When search engines expect an XML file but encounter an HTML page instead, it disrupts the indexing process and can negatively impact your website’s visibility in search results.
This issue typically arises due to the following reasons:
1. Incorrect File Type
One common reason for sitemap issues is that the file is saved with the wrong file extension.
Sitemaps should be saved as “.xml” files, but sometimes they are mistakenly saved as “.html.”
2. Server Configuration
Server misconfigurations can also lead to this problem.
If the server is not set up to serve XML files correctly, it might treat the sitemap as an HTML page.
3. Coding Errors
Errors in the sitemap’s code can cause it to render as an HTML page.
These errors may include improper XML formatting or missing elements.
How to Solve Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page
Now that we’ve identified the potential causes let’s discuss how to fix the problem of your sitemap appearing as an HTML page.
1. Check File Extension
Ensure that your sitemap file is saved with the correct “.xml” file extension. If it’s saved as an HTML file, rename it to “.xml.”
2. Verify Server Configuration
Contact your hosting provider or server administrator to confirm that the server is configured to serve XML files correctly.
They may need to update server settings to handle XML files appropriately.
3. Review Sitemap Code
Examine the code of your sitemap file thoroughly. Make sure it adheres to the XML formatting standards. Look for any missing or incorrectly structured elements.
4. Test with Search Engines
After making the necessary changes, submit your sitemap to search engines like Google and Bing. Use their webmaster tools to verify that the sitemap is now recognized as an XML file.
5. Monitor Regularly
Regularly monitor your website’s sitemap to ensure that it continues to function correctly. Periodically check for any errors or issues that may arise.
Fix For WordPress Sites: Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page
To solve this problem in the Google Search Console for WordPress users, open your WordPress admin dashboard, Click on Settings select Permalinks scroll down, and click Save Changes.
You are expected to do nothing about the permalinks that will alter the way your URL displays, as it is not the cause of the problem. Just save the permalink settings exactly the way it is.
To make the permalinks update reflect fast, go back to your Google Search Console, delete the old sitemap, and add it again. The error will be gone.
You can also give it some time, before a day or two the permalinks update in Google Webmaster and the error will disappear.
If you use other frameworks which is not WordPress, look for a way to update the permalinks. Hopefully, the problem will be solved.
“Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page. Please use a supported sitemap format instead” which is common mostly with WordPress sites.
This problem mainly occurs after restoring a WordPress backup using one of the WordPress backup/restore plugins.
To avoid the problem completely, you are expected to always update your WordPress Permalinks immediately after restoring a backup.
Aside from restoring a backup, whenever you come across such a problem also update your WordPress permalinks, it has always solved this Google Search Console problem.
A sitemap that appears as an HTML page can hinder your website’s SEO efforts.
However, by following the steps mentioned above, you can resolve this issue and ensure that search engines correctly index your site.
Remember that maintaining a well-structured and error-free sitemap is essential for SEO success.