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Sitemaps Error

Does anyone know what is causing this error?



4:18 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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>
< loc>http://www.mywebsite.com/page1.html</loc>
< lastmod>2006-04-08</lastmod>
< changefreq>weekly</changefreq>
< priority>0.8/priority>
< url>
< loc>http://www.mywebsite.com/page2.html</loc>
< lastmod>2006-04-08</lastmod>
< changefreq>yearly</changefreq>
< priority>0.4</priority>

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)

10+ Year Member

The difference between mine and yours is :




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)

10+ Year Member

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)

10+ Year Member

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)

5+ Year Member

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!

Right Reading

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

5+ Year Member

I use notepad and have had no problems.


2:23 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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)

5+ Year Member

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)

10+ Year Member

"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,


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

10+ Year Member

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)

5+ Year Member

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)

10+ Year Member

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)

10+ Year Member

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.


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