How To Find The Sitemap Of A Website (In 8 Ways)

Updated: August 13, 2022.

In this short guide, I’m showing you how to find the sitemap of any website in 8 easy ways. 

Identifying and analyzing the website’s XML sitemap is one of the basic tasks every SEO performs when auditing a website.

In 95% of cases, it is very easy to find the XML sitemap because it is either indicated in the robots.txt file or is in a standard location.

But what if the site you are auditing is in that 5% group and you have trouble finding its XML sitemap? Then this is the guide you’ve been looking for.

how to find xml sitemap

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How To Find The XML Sitemap Of Any Website In 8 Ways 

If you are interested in learning about the theory behind sitemaps, what they are, what they do, go straight to Google Search Central to the section about sitemaps or see the recent updates for sitemap extensions tags.

And before we start, please note that: 

  • The most common and standard location of the sitemap is, of course, the root directory of the domain. 
  • However, this location is neither a requirement nor an official standard. This means that the sitemap may as well be placed in a subdirectory or even on an entirely different domain. Some folks do that to hide their sitemaps from competitors. 
  • The same is true for the filename which does not need to be “sitemap” or have the word “sitemap” in it.

That’s why I’m showing you here all more and less obvious locations of a sitemap of a website. These are all the variations I’ve seen over my 10-year experience as an SEO consultant.

What does a sitemap look like? Does my website have a sitemap?

And one more thing. It’s good to know exactly what you are looking for! Go to Sitemaps.org to learn what an XML sitemap looks like and how it is built if you don’t know this. 

Here is the screenshot from the sample XML sitemap shown on sitemaps.org:

An example sitemap of a website
As you probably see, this example sitemap uses deprecated parameters, such as <changefreq> and <priority> which are ignored by Google.

And here is the screenshot of the sitemap index on my website: 

XML sitemap
The code of the XML sitemap of my website.

Okay, it’s time to finally start the detective work. 

#1: Manually check common locations to find the sitemap of a website

This is the most obvious and the quickest way to find a sitemap of a website. In most cases, this is all you need to do to detect an XML sitemap of a website. 

The most common locations for sitemaps are:

  • /sitemap.xml
  • /sitemap_index.xml (which is the index of the sitemaps) 
  • /sitemap/ (which often redirects to sitemap.xml) 

Of course, anything that goes before “/” is the domain name of your website. 

In the case of my website (which is based on WordPress), the default sitemap location https://seosly.com/sitemap.xml redirects to https://seosly.com/sitemap_index.xml.

XML sitemap of SEOSLY
The XML sitemap generated by Rank Math for my website.

As you can see the sitemap index has the following two sitemaps:

And here are other possible filenames for the sitemap or the sitemap index: 

  • /sitemap.php
  • /sitemap.txt
  • /sitemap.xml.gz (using gzip compression)
  • /sitemap1.xml (if there are multiple sitemaps, this may be the first sitemap in a group)
  • /post-sitemap.xml (sitemap of posts, like the one on my website)
  • /page-sitemap.xml (sitemap of pages, also like the one on my website)
  • /sitemap-index.xml (with “-” instead of “_”)
  • /sitemapindex.xml (without separation)
  • /sitemap_index.xml.gz (using Gzip compression)
  • /sitemap/index.xml (in a subfolder) 

And a website may also use its feed as a sitemap in which case the sitemap can be something like:

  • /rss/ (an RSS feed as a sitemap)
  • /rss.xml (an RSS feed as a sitemap)
  • /atom.xml (an Atom feed as a sitemap) 

Do you see? Lots of possibilities. 

#2: Check if the XML sitemap is indicated in robots.txt

Another obvious and quick way to detect an XML file is to check robots.txt. 

Robots.txt is a special file that contains directives for search engine robots. This is also the place to include the link to the sitemap to make it easier for search engines to detect the sitemap and crawl the website. 

To view the robots.txt file of any website, simply add /robots.txt to the domain. In the case of my website, it’s https://seosly.com/robots.txt

Here is the content of the robots.txt file of my website: 

The robots.txt file of seosly.com

The last line indicates the location of the sitemap. 

☝️ PRO TIP: If the website has a non-standard sitemap location, then the robots.txt file should indicate it. 

If you want to learn more about robots.txt, what it is, what it does, and how it should be used, check the introduction to robots.txt on Google Search Central.

⚡ If you are using WordPress, check my guide on how to access robots.txt in WordPress.

#3: Use Google Search Operators to find the XML sitemap

You can also look for an XML file with the use of Google search operators (click to view the full list of currently working search operators in Google). 

There are at least a few operators you can use to try to find the XML sitemap of a website: 

  • site:
  • filetype: or ext: 
  • inurl: 

Let’s try to find the XML sitemap of moz.com using these search operators. 

The command site:moz.com filetype:xml or site:moz.com ext:xml will look for XML files within the moz.com domain.

Finding the sitemap with the use of Google search operators

 You can also narrow down the search a bit and try something like site:moz.com filetype:xml inurl:sitemap or site:moz.com ext:xml inurl:sitemap which will look for XML files that have the word “sitemap” within the moz.com domain. 

Finding the sitemap with the use of Google search operators

You can also look for sitemaps that are a different file type than XML, such as text files. 

To do that, you can use the command site:moz.com filetype:txt inurl:sitemap or site:moz.com ext:txt inurl:sitemap which will look for the text files containing the word “sitemap” within the moz.com domain

Looking for a txt sitemap using Google search operators

PRO TIP: Note that this method will work only if the XML sitemap is indexable (and is actually indexed by Google). 

PRO TIP 2: Many popular WordPress plugins that automatically generate XML sitemaps (like Rank Math) add a “noindex, follow” tag to sitemaps. 

If this is the case, then you won’t be able to find a sitemap using Google search operators.  This is how the XML sitemap is generated on my website. If I wanted to find it with the help of a search operator, I would not be able to find it.

Looking for a sitemap with site: query

No results returned even though I do have a sitemap. 

#4: Check if the XML sitemap has been submitted in Google Search Console

Another place to look for the sitemap is in Google Search Console. This step will work only if you have access to the GSC account for the website. If you have one, here is what you need to do:

  • Log in to Google Search Console. 
  • Under Index, go to Sitemaps.
xml sitemap in google search console
This is where you can find an XML sitemap in Google Search Console.
  • If an XML sitemap has been submitted to Google, you will see it under Submitted sitemaps. 
submitted xml sitemaps in gsc
These are the submitted XML sitemaps for my website.

If you are new to Google Search Console or the website you are analyzing does not have a GSC account, make sure to check the basic guide to Google Search Console on Google Search Central. 

PRO TIP: Google Search Console is a tool that any website that wants to be visible in Google should use. 

👉 Speaking of GSC, you may want to learn about the new crawl stats report in Google Search Console. Also, check my guide on how to add a new user to GSC if you want someone else to access your GSC data.

#5: Check if the XML sitemap has been submitted to Bing

You may also want to look for an XML sitemap in Bing Webmaster tools just like you did in Google Search Console. 

This step only makes sense if the website has an account in Bing Webmaster Tools. Here is how to check if an XML sitemap has been submitted:

Checking a sitemap in Bing Webmaster Tools
XML sitemaps in Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • If there are any sitemaps submitted, you will see them on the right under Sitemaps. 

☝️ PRO TIP: This is also the place where you can submit an XML sitemap to Bing. 

#6: Use the SEO Site Checkup tool 

Since we are talking about tools, you may also want to use an online tool made especially for checking if a website has an XML sitemap. 

The URL of the tool: https://seositecheckup.com/tools/sitemap-test

Here is how to check if a website has an XML sitemap with the use of the SEO Site Checkup tool: 

  • Enter the URL address of the website you want to check.
Using SEO Site Checkup to find a sitemap
This tool lets you quickly check if a site has an XML sitemap.
  • Hit enter or click Checkup. The results will be available within a few seconds. 
SEO Site Checkup finding a sitemap
This is the result of the XML site checkup of my website.
  • You might also add other URLs (like URLs of competitors) and compare the results. 
SEO Site Checkup competition comparison
This lets you compare the sitemap checks across multiple/different domains.

☝️ PRO TIP: Note that this tool checks possible standard locations of an XML sitemap and sometimes may not detect a sitemap even if a website has one. 

#7: Check the standard XML sitemap location of the CMS

Depending on the CMS of the website, XML sitemaps may be available at different URLs. 

The most popular content management systems have their own default XML sitemap locations that are worth checking as well. 

  • If you know the CMS of the website you are examining, the chances are its XML sitemap is at a default location for this CMS. 
  • If you don’t know the CMS, you may want to check it with a tool like CMS Detect. All you need to do is type the URL and hit Detect CMS
CMS Detect
CMS Detect lets you quickly check the CMS of the site.

Below are the default XML sitemap locations for the most popular content management systems and links to documentation. 

Default sitemap locations in WordPress 

Since July 2020, there has been a new XML sitemap functionality in WordPress 5.5. This means you don’t need any plugin to generate a sitemap for your WordPress website. 

If the WordPress website uses this functionality, then its sitemap is available at /wp-sitemap.xml

If a WordPress website uses one of the plugins that automatically generate a sitemap, then it is available at one of the below addresses:

  • /sitemap.xml
  • /sitemap_index.xml
  • /post-sitemap.xml
  • /page-sitemap.xml
  • /category-sitemap.xml 
  • /tag-sitemap.xml 

You can also simply check the settings of the plugin to see the exact location of the sitemap.

Most automatically generated sitemaps in WordPress also add the sitemap entry in robots.txt. 

Default sitemap locations in Wix

Wix automatically takes care of the sitemap for you and your only task is to submit it to Google Search Console. The default location for the main sitemap in Wix is also /sitemap.xml

Other URL paths in Wix for different sitemaps are as follows:

  • /pages-sitemap.xml for Pages
  • /blog-pages-sitemap.xml for New Wix Blog
  • /store-products-sitemap.xml for Wix Stores
  • /booking-services-sitemap.xml for Wix Bookings
  • /forum-pages-sitemap.xml for Wix Forum
  • /event-pages-sitemap.xml for Wix Events
  • /member-profile-sitemap.xml for Members
  • /dynamic-pages-sitemap.xml for Wix Data &router pages
  • /other-pages-sitemap.xml for other pages that don’t belong to any of the above categories 

You can learn more about sitemaps in Wix here. 

Default sitemap locations in Squarespace

Squarespace just like Wix takes care of the sitemap. The default sitemap location for Squarespace websites is also /sitemap.xml.

You can learn more about sitemaps in Squarespace here. 

Default sitemap locations in Shopify

In Shopify, the sitemap also has a standard location that is /sitemap.xml

You can learn more about sitemaps in Shopify here. 

Default sitemap locations in Joomla

The extensions available for Joomla will also automatically generate the sitemap of a website. The standard location for a Joomla XML sitemap is simply /sitemap.xml

You can learn more about sitemaps in Joomla here. 

Default sitemap locations in Magento  

And finally a word about sitemaps in Magento. This one also uses the standard sitemap location which is /sitemap.xml but you can modify it if you want. 

You can learn more about sitemaps in Magento here. 

#8: Find Other Types Of Sitemaps 

XML is the most common sitemap format that is used to inform robots about the web pages of a website. However, there are also  other possible sitemaps formats that search engine robots recognize and respect:

  • HTML which is usually for users but it can also help robots discover web pages. The location of an HTML sitemap may be /sitemap/.  
  • RSS where a website can use an RSS feed as a sitemap. The location of an RSS feed sitemap is usually /rss/ or /rss.xml
  • Atom where a website can use an Atom feed as a sitemap . The location of an Atom feed sitemap is usually /atom.xml
  • TXT which is simply a text file. The location of a text sitemap is often /sitemap.txt.  

If you detect any of the above types of sitemaps, don’t panic. They are also OK and Google understands them perfectly. 

The sitemap for Google is simply a list of links to pages of the website that the website owner wants Google to crawl and index.

Found the sitemap of the website? Here’s what to do next. 

There is a lot of awesome reading on sitemaps straight from Google. I really recommend you check the following:

Didn’t find the XML sitemap of the website? Do this.

The chances are that the website simply does not have a sitemap. If that’s the case, your next step should be to create or recommend creating one. You can check the Google guide on building and submitting a sitemap

7 Comments

  1. Meet Shah

    very impressive and engaging blog about different ways of how to find the sitemap. Thank you for sharing.

  2. PJ

    Ok, so I have tried everything to find the sitemap of percentagecal (dot) com, without any luck. Yet I see google has indexed more then 2 million pages of this website.

    Maybe you can help me out in finding its sitemap? Because there must be one no?

    • Hello PJ! No, there does not need to be a sitemap. Google can still index the site’s web pages even if the site does not have a sitemap. I think it may be the case here.

    • Hi PJ! No, there does not have to be a sitemap. It’s totally possible that a site does not have one.

  3. Paul

    Seemingly very helpful! I look forward to trying these methods. Thank you.

  4. shyam

    I just love your articles Olga. If you can write something on SEO report like what things should be covered in SEO report that would really help. Waiting for your reply 🙂 keep writing 🙂

Comments are closed