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Sitemaps Error

Does anyone know what is causing this error?

     
4:18 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm pretty new to sitemaps, so this may be a pretty basic question, but I haven't been able to find an answer in the Sitemaps FAQ and was wondering if there is someone on this board that can help me out.

I've created a page called "sitemap.xml.gz" and placed in my root directory.

The Google Sitemaps bot found the page but I'm getting the following error message every day:

"General HTTP error Couldn't parse HTTP response"

This is the code I placed on the sitemap.xml.gz file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
< urlset xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84">
< url>
< loc>http://www.mywebsite.com/</loc>
< lastmod>2006-04-08</lastmod>
< changefreq>always</changefreq>
< priority>1.0</priority>
</url>
< url>
< loc>http://www.mywebsite.com/page1.html</loc>
< lastmod>2006-04-08</lastmod>
< changefreq>weekly</changefreq>
< priority>0.8/priority>
</url>
< url>
< loc>http://www.mywebsite.com/page2.html</loc>
< lastmod>2006-04-08</lastmod>
< changefreq>yearly</changefreq>
< priority>0.4</priority>
</url>
</urlset>

I took this from the Google examples page, so it should be o.k. Does anyone know why I am getting this error message and what I can do to fix it?

Thanks in advance :-)

5:56 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The difference between mine and yours is :

<urlset

 xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84"

 xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84
http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84/sitemap.xsd">

and the spaces between < and the tag names :
< url> is forbidden as it should be <url>
but it shouldn't give a HTTP error

6:43 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks DanA, I didn't even notice the spaces...will try this and see if it works.
1:10 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No luck I'm afraid, still gives me the same error. Anyone else have any other ideas of what it could be?
2:15 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ok, this might be stupid, but did you make sure your sitemap file is in the format of UTF-8 encoding?

If you used a text editor like Notepad to create your sitemap file, it is unacceptable, it saves it in ascii I beleive.

You MUST use a program that can save your Sitemap file in UTF-8.

For example, I used a program that automatically generated my sitemap in the proper format, then I submitted it.

The text file must use UTF-8 encoding!

BTW, have you noticed errors in the date that Google Claims they crawled your sitemap last?

3 days ago it said May 14 was the last day they crawled my sitemap. Then 2 days ago it said May 8 after was the last crawl date! Now it's back to saying it was last crawled on May 14 again!

Google is definitely doing a lot of testing, and turning on and off of filters this week. Also noticed on many searches Google did away with Supplemental Results.

Hope this helps you!

2:22 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use notepad and have had no problems.
2:23 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is your file correctly gzipped or are you just naming an uncompressed file with the .gz extension? (This is the most likely cause of your problem.)

Also, try an online server-header tool or a tool like the Firefox "Live HTTP Headers" extension to see what exactly is the HTTP response that the sitemaps bot can't parse.

Note: the encoding is only an issue of you have non-ASCII characters in the file, otherwise UTF-8 is compatible with US-ASCII.

2:46 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hey RightReading, take a look at the first line of his sitemap file, looks like he is decalring that the sitemap file is in UTF-8.

My sitemap file does not have this command as far as I know, so maybe it's forcing Google to expect it to be in UTF-8 mode, but if an ASCII editor was used instead it could cause a problem.

We'll know for sure when they dig up Jimmy Hoffa's bones.

8:10 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"but if an ASCII editor was used instead it could cause a problem."

... this would only be a problem if the file contains characters values above chr(127) (=Windows 'umlauts' and other 'foreign' characters). If the textual content is pure 7bit ASCII, then the use of a simple ASCII editor is no problem, because the resulting text is UTF-8 compliant then.

Kind regards,
R.

10:17 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all for your feedback. Just to clarify, I've been working using notepad and saving as utf-8. I have not compressed the file though, so this may very well be the problem.

When I view the HTTP Headers error message, it says:

Cannot view XML input using XSL style sheet. Please correct the error and then click the Refresh button, or try again later.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whitespace is not allowed at this location. Error processing resource 'http://www.mywebsite.com/sitemap.xml.gz'. Lin...

< url>
----^

I don't have whitespace in the <> tags as far as I can tell, not sure why it is giving me this response.

11:37 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't see the need to compress your sitemaps file anyway, unless it's maga huge?

I just called mine sitemaps.xml and left it in it's native uncompressed mode. Why invite potential complications.

11:51 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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As per above post just create a normal sitemaps file and save it as sitemap.xml upload and hey presto.

Whats the need for the zipped filename?

11:20 am on May 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Got it to work...did away with the whole zipped file thing, changed the extension to xml, and all is well now. Moral of the story: "keep it simple" :-)

Thanks all.