The Google XML Sitemap Generator plugin for WordPress was at one point the standard for dynamically generating an XML Sitemap in the WordPress environment. In fact, many people still use it. However, there is a newer, better plugin available, as it seems the older one just can’t handle large sites very well. So, if you agree and want to wash your hands of it and move to something better, follow along with the process below.
How to Switch from Google XML Sitemap Generator to Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
Let’s first delete the old sitemaps and plugin and start fresh with a new version of the generator.
1. In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Plugins >> Installed Plugins.
2. Click the Deactivate text link below the Google XML Sitemap Generator plugin.
3. Click the Delete text link for that plugin, and also the confirmation delete button that follows.
4. Launch your FTP software and navigate to the root of your web site. Now delete the sitemap.xml file and the .gz version as well.
5. Go to Plugins >> Add New and do a search for Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps.
6. Click the Install Now text link below the plugin that’s called: Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps (with sitemapindex, multi-site and Google News sitemap support)
7. Now Activate it. You might have to wait a few minutes for the files to get created on their own.
8. You can now update WordPress Permalinks (by going to Settings >> Permalinks and clicking Save Changes) which is meant to redirect to the new sitemap from the old one if links to it still exist. This could potentially prevent the need to re-submit the sitemap to Webmaster Tools (for Bing and Google, etc) but I suggest deleting the old ones and re-submitting anyways.
Introducing a Sitemap Index File With BWP GXS
No physical sitemap files are actually created using this plugin. They are dynamically generated. However, there is still a path available to the sitemap index file which you will submit to search engines. The path would be /sitemapindex.xml once created (sometimes it takes a few minutes).
This index file provides links to the other sitemaps on the site. This plugin separates the sitemaps into 4 or more separate files. It creates a sitemap for posts, pages, taxonomy (tags and categories), and the site itself. You can also specify certain categories that contain “news” posts so that a separate news sitemap can be created as well.
Only the index file needs to be submitted to search engines. They can determine from there the location of the separate sitemaps on your WordPress site.