Last updated on June 22, 2022.
In this short guide, I’m showing you how to find the sitemap of any website in 7 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 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 specialist.
SEO Newsletter from #SEOSLY
What does a sitemap look like?
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:
And here is the screenshot of the sitemap index on my website:
Okay, it’s time to finally start the detective work.
#1: Manually check common XML sitemap locations
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_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.
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.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 “_”)
/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 the robots.txt file
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 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
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:
Let’s try to find the XML sitemap of moz.com using these search operators.
site:moz.com filetype:xml or
site:moz.com ext:xml will look for XML files within the moz.com domain.
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.
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
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.
No results returned even though I do have a sitemap.
#4: Check 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.
- If an XML sitemap has been submitted to Google, you will see it under Submitted sitemaps.
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 Bing Webmaster Tools
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:
- Log in to Bing Webmaster Tools.
- On the left panel, choose Sitemaps.
- 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 a 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.
- Hit enter or click Checkup. The results will be available within a few seconds.
- You might also add other URLs (like URLs of competitors) and compare the results.
☝️ 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 CMS of the website
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.
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
If a WordPress website uses one of the plugins that automatically generate a sitemap, then it is available at one of the below addresses:
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
Other URL paths in Wix for different sitemaps are as follows:
/blog-pages-sitemap.xmlfor New Wix Blog
/store-products-sitemap.xmlfor Wix Stores
/booking-services-sitemap.xmlfor Wix Bookings
/forum-pages-sitemap.xmlfor Wix Forum
/event-pages-sitemap.xmlfor Wix Events
/dynamic-pages-sitemap.xmlfor Wix Data &router pages
/other-pages-sitemap.xmlfor 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
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
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
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
- RSS where a website can use an RSS feed as a sitemap. The location of an RSS feed sitemap is usually
- Atom where a website can use an Atom feed as a sitemap . The location of an Atom feed sitemap is usually
- TXT which is simply a text file. The location of a text sitemap is often
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:
- Sitemap basics to learn the basics of how sitemaps work.
- Splitting up large sitemaps if you are dealing with huge websites.
- Video sitemaps if you are analyzing a website that has a lot of videos.
- Image sitemaps if the website has a lot of valuable images.
Didn’t find the 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.
GET ACCESS TO PREMIUM SEO CONTENT
Members of SEOSLY Pro get access to Olga’s SEO audit video guide where she documents her 500+ step SEO audit process, Olga’s mini video SEO audits, SEO audit templates, pro SEO auditing tips, and much more!
Join SEOSLY Pro to become a technical SEO expert in no time.