In today’s article, we will introduce you to the new WordPress 5.5 XML Sitemap details.
Before diving into the WordPress XML let’s take a minute and explain what exactly is the sitemap.
What is a Sitemap?
A Sitemap is a file that holds information about the pages of your website and their relationship between other files. Search engines such as Google’s bots have the ability to ‘read‘ the sitemaps of the websites they crawl and thus point out important and valuable information and thus help Google to know when the page is updated, how often it is changed, the languages versions of the specified page and much other information.
WordPress 5.5 XML Sitemap
WordPress announced more details about their incoming 5.5 update, where the XML sitemap feature will be applied in August 2020. There are many important changes that you should have in mind and the first one is that the default URL address of each WordPress Sitemap will be domain.com/wp-sitemap.xml.
Another great thing that is going to be working very soon is that the sitemaps will be able to hold over 100 million pages. The robots.txt files that are being generated by WordPress will hold the reference to the newly created sitemap and there will not be necessary to update anything manually.
All web hosts will be required to install a new extension called SimpleXML PHP. WordPress’s sitemaps will require this extension to work and they will not function if it is not installed, so this will become mandatory for every hosting provider.
WordPress’s developers said that this extension will be required and if it is not available you will see an error message instead of a sitemap. The error code for this is 501 – “Not implemented“.
Will the Hosting Providers Support the SimpleXML Extension?
Hosting providers will be “forced” to support the SimpleXML extension if they want their WordPress websites to support the sitemap functionality.
Many big hosting providers such as IONOS, GoDaddy, and others already confirmed that the SimpleXML extension is already implemented into their services and it is included in their shared hosting plans.
They strongly recommend their users to go for it and use it.
How To Customize WordPress Sitemaps?
WordPress offers an easy way for third parties to improve the basic behavior of the sitemaps and thus provide even more features. With that being said – the functionality of the sitemap will be easily modified by third-party plugins.
WordPress offers filters that can help you edit and remove parts of the sitemap. There will be a feature that enables you to exclude things such as specified posts, for example.
WordPress 5.5 Sitemap Problems
An easily noticeable gap in the 5.5 sitemaps that WordPress introduces is that they will not generate sitemaps for your images and videos. However, the sitemap for images is really important.
What Are The Benefits From the New WordPress 5.5 XML Sitemaps?
The main benefit of the new XML sitemaps is that it will exclude the need to install third-party plugins to generate your sitemap. It will be built inside your WordPress. This means that the third party plugins will only help you to add some more functionalities to it if you need them of course.
Are The WordPress 5.5 XML Sitemaps а Positive or а Negative?
The easier integration of a sitemap in WordPress 5.5 is a highly positive feature. However, the missing image sitemap function might be considered a serious con by some publishers, who understand the fundamentals of the sitemap.
To our view, the new 5.5 WordPress sitemaps appear to be a highly positive feature, and we will see them in action in August 2020.